I recently moved in with my boyfriend and his daughter. He and his ex-wife each have 50% custody, so I have in effect become a part-time step-mom. There have definitely been the expected ups and downs for both of her and me during the adjustment period, but aside from the tender hugs and affection that can only come from a child who loves you, the highlight for me has definitely been reading books to her at bedtime. (more…)
Ok, what is a fever and why do we get them? More importantly, what to do? As with many health issues, the answer to the second question revolves around, “It depends.” Of course, there’s the old saw: Feed a cold, starve a fever. Is that advice we can trust?
Let’s start with the “executive summary:”
- Fever is NOT an indicator of illness severity
- Treating with aspirin, or other salicylates, may be life-threatening for children and teens
- High fevers, between 103 F (39.4 C) and 106 F (41.1 C), can be life-threatening and require immediate treatment
What is a fever?
One section of the brain, specifically, the hypothalamus, is the body’s thermostat. It manages its task via a complex mix of neurotransmitters which control metabolic rate, as well as, blood flow to muscles, skin and mucous membranes. Infections cause the release of chemicals which the hypothalamus detects and responds to. Interestingly, the response is not limited to raising temperature; in fact, one indicator for sepsis (a potentially life-threatening condition) is a sub-normal temperature.
Why do we get fevers?
What is the purpose of a fever? Good question, and the answer is not completely understood. Current thinking leans towards fever as a positive evolutionary response, and includes the thought that we might be better off letting a fever run its course. The rationale is that the immune system is kicking-in to “high gear’ and is more effective at higher body temperature. (Any competent chemist will tell you that reactions are often driven, and more efficient at higher temperatures, and virtually all of the body’s system are chemical in nature.) There is also the thought that many pathogens are adapted to fairly narrow temperature ranges, and raising the temperature inhibits their growth and spread. On balance, there are some pathogens that prefer higher temperatures, and themselves release the same temperature regulating chemicals in an attempt to drive the body to supply the conditions more favorable to them…
What should we do for a fever?
Well, if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve probably already come to your own version of “it depends.” Definately, high fevers require treatment, and possible medical intervention. But what about those garden variety fevers? My personal opinion is to let them run their course. I come down on the side of the last million years of physiological evolution, and believing that Mother Nature often knows best. Of course, if you’ve got a cranky, whining child, due in part to some of the other associated symptoms, such as aches and pains, then for the comfort of all involved, consulting with your medical provider and treating may be a rational and appropriate choice.
Feed or Starve?
According to an entry on the Duke Medicine site, John Withals wrote back in 1574, “Fasting is a great remedie of feuer.” I’d suggest letting your own judgement take precedence: If you’re hungry (or your child is hungry), eat! If not, don’t eat. Basically, I believe our body sends appropriate signals in most cases.
NurseBob – Stay Well
- Fever Plays Vital Role in Immune Response Infection Control Today
- Reye’s Syndrome Wikipedia
- Reye Syndrome KidsHealth
- Fever Mayo Clinic
- Neurophysiology of Thermoregulation McMaster University
- Function of Fever Evolution Library-PBS
- Myth of Fact: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever Duke Medicine
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. NurseBob and CrassParenting disclaim any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Image via Wikipedia.
A dear friend and nutritionist blogged today about talking to girls about body image. I wish I read this before this past weekend as I am flummoxed about how to navigate talking to girls about weight. I get my two female cousins a few times a year. Their mom left the family when the girls were babies and they are being raised, incredibly well, by their dad and grandfather. They come to me for girl time. We talk about bras and friendships and boys and nail polish. I love it, and I had them this weekend to go homecoming dress shopping.
The girls are now 16 and 14. The older is tall and very thin, and very athletic. The younger is tall and curvy, and also very athletic. They are both very confident and smart girls, so I was a little surprised to hear them talk about their bodies in such negative ways. (more…)
My son has been in second grade for three week.s He’s been trying all sorts of creative strategies for getting out of homework. He hasn’t grasped the fact that he’ll never win. I was raised by a veteran teacher and I am not falling for any of this shenanigans. However, I have to admire the creativity of his excuses. I have a few favorites. (more…)
You know what I love about the new school year (besides the quiet time)? I was convinced I was out of topics to write about. Then, BANG, school starts and it’s like a buffet of ideas. The PTA wants your soul. The other parents are crazy. Schools have weird rules. I could write all day if I wasn’t busy daydreaming about buying new boots. My latest source of amusement is the preschool. They’re going through a certification and we had to have a serious meeting. It was not what I expected. (more…)
When it gets nice and cold and the snow is covering the ground, I have a surefire way to make my baby sleep. I wrap him up in a few blankets and pop him out on the front porch for a couple of hours. (more…)
Last night, I attended the curriculum night for second grade. It had a markedly different vibe than the first grade curriculum night. Within a year, we’ve transitioned from “Take care of my baby” to “What are you doing to prepare the kids for Yale?” (more…)
My son is heading to second grade this week. My daughter will be starting preschool after Labor Day. This means lots of things. We have to find first day of school outfits, discuss teachers and deal with anxiety. But, there’s another, more substantial project. I like to call it the school supply scavenger hunt. (more…)
My daughter recently acquired a new friend. She is imaginary and her name is Blueberry. They play lots of games and often put on musical productions for my amusement. Blueberry is very compliant and seems to go along with all of my daughter’s ideas. Based on her experiences with Blueberry, I have decided that I want an imaginary friend. (more…)
This post is by an anonymous writer who works as a doula. She has changed names and details for privacy reasons.
It started as a typical hospital labor. Expectant Sandra was sent to the hospital for an induction. The relaxed, silent atmosphere was broken only by heavy breathing through contractions. There was not a whole lot that I needed to do besides offer her water every few contractions, replace the cold face cloth when it became heated on Sandra’s face and apply lip balm when she licked her lips too much. (more…)