Very confident, holistic-minded, mamas often reveal to me that fevers are the one thing that frighten them the most, and I can relate. I will never forget the first time my son had a fever. He was about two years old at the time and went to bed feeling slightly warm. I nursed him to sleep, but was concerned about him and didn’t sleep much myself. At around 3am (of course!) he woke up crying and clearly uncomfortable. My husband got the thermometer and his temperature read over 105. In my exhausted/semi-delirious state I had a moment of panic, and my husband, who saw it all over my face, freaked out. He wanted to run to the drugstore for tylenol and he was questioning if we should call 911. His hysteria snapped me back to reality. I know intellectually that fevers themselves are not dangerous and I also had the tools to help my little guy. I got to work and, by the next day he was much better.
The truth is, fevers are an immune response (symptom) not an illness. Most people don’t think twice about giving an over the counter fever suppressant. It is a horrible feeling to see your child in pain or uncomfortable and our instinct is to want to help them. Unfortunately, all medications come with risks and, while they may help your child feel better in the moment, they don’t help the body heal or recover from the underlying cause of the fever. The good news is that there is plenty we can do to support our children while they have fever.
As a side note, something that my clients often fear is febrile seizure. I always recommend that my moms speak to their pediatrician about your family history and risks. My research and experience leads me to believe that a seizure has more to do with temperature fluctuation and spikes, rather than the specific number.
Here is what I DO when one of my children has a fever:
1) Look at the whole child. How is their disposition? Are they weak and listless or a sick version of himself? A weak, listless child with a low grade temperature is more concerning to me than a child with a higher fever who is playful. In our family we don’t worry about the number on the thermometer, in fact, we rarely take a temperature anymore.
2) Hydration is key. When the body temperature rises, one of the risks is dehydration. If the fever accompanies a stomach virus, the risk increases. We offer clear broth soup, room temperature water, warm herbal teas, and ice pops every few minutes to make sure that the child is well hydrated.
3) I increase my immune boosting essential oils, supplements and herbal remedies. Fever means that the body is fighting something. Offering specific remedies like garlic, miso, oregano essential oil, and vitamin D help support the overall immune system.
4) Snuggle time. Whenever possible, I crawl into bed with my little one and give some extra cuddle time. Snuggles and physical affection lowers stress and lower stress means better functioning immune system. If possible, skin-to-skin contact helps regulate body temperature.
5) Keep comfortable. One of the best things I have found to keep my feverish child more comfortable is a single drop of peppermint essential oil on the soles of their feet. It helps cool them down just enough to rest.
In addition to all of these things, we keep in contact with our pediatrician. If fever lasts more than a few days with no explanation, we’d want to get to the bottom of it. For more information, check out this article from our pediatrician.
The information shared is based on personal experience and intended solely for general information. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any health problem or to take the place of professional medical care. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.