'Fever phobia' may have more adverse effects than fever
Findings of a new study published in the journal ‘Pediatrics’, last week, stated that parents shouldn't panic when their children have a fever.
The experts warned about "fever phobia" in the study, and urged doctors and caregivers to provide proper guidance to the parents on the relative insignificance of high temperature.
The prospects of the study
Dr. Michael P. Poirier, a specialist in pediatric emergency medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., and one of the scientists involved in the study related to caregivers' response to fever said, "It's been ingrained in people that if you have a fever, you treat it. But you should treat the symptoms, not the fever.”
According to a study, the temperature ranging from 97 to 105 degrees is generally considered by parents and caregivers to be fever, whereas 25% of adults tend to use medication to reduce fever of the child with a temperature less than 100, finds another research.
Dr. Alan Nager, director of emergency and transport medicine at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, assured that fever is just a symptom, and emphasized more on the illness and comfort of the child.
Another professor of pediatric critical care and clinical pharmacology at the University of Louisville, as well as the lead author of the Pediatrics report, Dr. Janice E. Sullivan said, “Fever is an indication that the immune system of our body is working fine to combat intrusive viruses, bacteria and other microbes.”
"Fever decreases the ability of viruses and bacteria to reproduce. It causes white blood cells to increase and fight infection. It may shorten the duration of the illness,” he added.
Doctors’ concern over the use of fever-reducing medications
The report revealed that fever-reducing medications are needed, only to comfort the child.
Nearly 85% of parents provide medication to their feverish children.
But, the new report urged that a child with a temperature of 100 or more, must not given medicines if his other activities are normal, while a lethargic, cranky and achy child can be given Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen, even if the temperature is less than 100.
However, a pediatrician or family doctor should be consulted if other symptoms like coughing, lack of urination or vomiting is detected.
“Fever phobia” should be avoided to reduce the risk of a medication overdose also.
Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are two standard medications used for reducing the fever of children.
But, Dr. Sullivan said, "We know that about 50% of parents underdose or overdose these medications.”