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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fevers - When to Leave Them Alone

A question was asked recently, "How do I get a child's fever down fast?"

When asked this, my first answer was not, "Reach for the medicine."

I rarely give my child a fever reducing medicine unless sleep is desperately needed and he is so miserable he can’t rest. Since children are better troopers at being sick than adults are, they fare very well without medicines often times.

I will always try and figure out what is causing the fever. Is it just a virus he’s picked up? Are there other symptoms? How is he acting? All these factors go into a possible diagnosis and treatment plan, if any.

There are a few things to remember about fevers.

Fevers are a natural response of the body to an infection. Viruses and some bacteria do not like heat and the body knows that. Therefore, the body will raise the temperature to help combat them. This is part of the immune system's defense. It is best to not interfere with this process as the quickest way to get well is to work with the body, not against it.

There are a few exceptions, though and they are important, so listen up.

If you have an infant with a fever, call your doctor as fevers in infants can be a sign of something more serious. Do not give any medication to a baby without first consulting with your doctor!

Most children and adults can handle a fever of up to 104° for a short time without much problem. 

The exception to that would be if the person has a stiff neck, headache, problems breathing, confusion or abdominal pain. Then they should be seen by a doctor quickly as these could be signs of an illness much more serious.

You will want to see a doctor if the fever is hanging on for days and not letting up, or is steadily climbing and is not responsive if you do give acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

If any of the above symptoms exist, please seek medical help right away.

Many of us hate to see our kids feeling bad and want to rush to give them something to make them feel better. The best thing we can do for them is work with the body and do a few things to help them feel better.

Give the child a warm, but not hot bath. They can play or just relax. Just take them out before the water turns cool. Do not let them get chilled.

Hydration is extremely important especially if vomiting or diarrhea is coming along for the ride. I can’t stand the drinks in the stores. They are full of sugar, artificial colors, dyes and flavorings.

The body is already working hard to fight off something, it doesn’t need to have to deal with the poisons of these so called hydration drinks. I do have a favorite I will mention later.

I also do not recommend jello, especially red jello.  The body should not have to deal with all the sugar and dyes and it has no nutritional value. It is also a myth that it soothes an upset stomach. It does nothing to help that. Also, if you give red jello and vomiting occurs, it looks a lot like blood, which can be very scary.

There is something to be said for chicken soup and crackers if the person doesn’t have an underlying health condition that prevents them from eating that. Homemade is best if you can, but if you don't have time, then find one that is low in sodium and preferably organic.

Don’t push food. Small nibbles throughout the day while drinking plenty of water and hydrating fluids (I will give my recommendations below) is better.

Immune support. When my child shows any signs of getting sick I jump on it right away. I have him rest, even if it  means some extra TV time. This is when it's perfectly fine to let him indulge in a little extra me time.

I give him my favorite hydration drink, Shaklee Performance as it has the electrolytes he needs for optimum hydration without all the chemicals. 

I let him nibble on crackers or soup if he’s up for it and if he isn’t vomiting.

I give extra Chewable Vitamin C as well as Zinc, Garlic and Optiflora, which is the best probiotic out there. The body needs extra probiotics as 70-80% of the body’s immune system is in the gut. The more good guys he has in there, the bigger and stronger the army is to fight the bad guys.

I also give Shaklee’s Nutriferon, which contains Interferon. Interferon is a critical activator of the immune system.

At the beginning of an illness, I also give Defend & Resist which is wonderful for giving his immune system a boost.

Some people may act shocked that I give all this to my young child. Keep in mind, he gets half doses based on his weight and these are not drugs, they are natural supplements.

You wouldn’t tell your child not to eat fruits and vegetables with these nutrients, and these supplements are just more concentrated forms of food. They have all the nutrients that natural food has with none of the chemicals, pesticides or other nasty stuff some food today has.

I am not overdosing my son on synthetic vitamins either. That is risky and the stories you hear about nasty side effects from vitamins, isn’t from the vitamins in them, it’s from the chemicals the company used to process or bind the ingredients together.

I trust Shaklee because I know they take many extra steps to make sure the ingredients are safe and that they work. It is so nice to not have to worry about giving him something and wonder if it's safe. With Shaklee, I know it's safe.

We are rarely sick. OK, I might have just jinxed myself there! The reason is we try and eat right, get plenty of exercise and know what to take when the occasional illness does come knocking. We also know how to send it packing…fast!

So don’t be afraid of a fever or an illness, just be prepared. For when you know, you can relax and give them the love and tenderness they need.

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