Managing a Fever, Naturally
Two weeks ago, we discussed a few natural approaches to managing cold and flu season. Holiopath Tracy Poizner had a lot to offer on the subject of safely helping your child feel better with a fever, so we gave it its own post!
First, observe the symptoms: if he is lethargic, sleepy, clingy, let him sleep and give lots of attention. It's true that extra fluids are needed, so if you are breastfeeding, nurse on demand. If not, then water (or if necessary, diluted fruit juice) should be offered constantly.
Second: relax! Your child will thank you for your ability to maintain a calm presence in the face of his or her normal immune development. Try to remember that she is building her "immunity muscles" which need to be exercised like all his other muscles in order to grow strong. Nobody likes to feel helpless when our child is sick but you can't do the exercise for her! If she is active and playing normally, just let common sense be your guide.
If the fever goes above 39.5˚C (103˚F), that may be a little bit higher than necessary to do the job, and natural medicines can be both quick and effective in bringing it down. Belladonna 6C is a homoeopathic remedy especially suited to high fevers, particularly if it has come on quickly or is accompanied by bright red cheeks. A couple of pellets can be dissolved in half a cup of water, and a sip or spoonful is given every 15 minutes until the fever is reduced.
IMPORTANT: If your child complains of a headache or other severe aching pains, or is crying miserably, you should contact a health-care provider for advice. The same is true of any fever that lasts for 48 hours or more.
Why is it better to use natural remedies than Tylenol or other pharmaceutical medicines?
Well, apart from the fact that those drugs are known to cause damage to the liver and other organs, it confuses the immune system when we abruptly pull the plug on a fever. It temporarily calls off the production of antibodies and creates a more welcoming temperature for the offending microbes to multiply, delaying the whole complex immune dance going on deep inside, and the illness just takes longer to go away.
In addition, the use of fever-suppressing medications early in life has recently been linked to asthma and may be one of the reasons for the sharp rise in the number of kids with that problem. By contrast, homoeopathic remedies work with the body to help it do its job more efficiently, thereby speeding up a full recovery.
Your practitioner can suggest other remedies on an individual basis for fevers that don't respond to the above suggestions. As always, seek medical attention for very high or long-lasting fevers, or any fever in new babies up to three months of age.