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Health Happy Round-Up: Feverishly Good

Fevers are a bad thing…right?

The media hype on fevers can make even the most calm parent nervous when a baby feels unusually warm.  However, the fever is the body’s way of fighting disease…and, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

According to an article written by Dr. Peter N. Fysh, DC in Dynamic Chiropractic, May 7, 1993:

Fever is a symptom and not a disease. It is the body’s normal response to infections, a response which stimulates the immune system by releasing and activating white blood cells and interferon.

According to the article (great read, by the way) by Linda B. White and Sunny Mavor in Fever in Children: A Blessing in Disguise:

It may help parents to remember that fever is only one part of the picture of an illness. In fact, for children under eight years of age, and especially for infants, the severity of a fever is an unreliable indicator of the severity of the child’s illness. For example, infants and toddlers can be very sick with a low or even subnormal temperature. Conversely, children three to eight years old can be running about quite cheerfully with a fairly impressive fever. The important thing is how your child is acting, not the thermometer reading.

When should I be concerned about a high temperature?

First and foremost to take a temperature, you need a thermometer.  According to the textbook Chiropractic Care for Pediatric Patients by Peter N. Fysh, D.C., F.I.C.C.P. published by the International Chiropractors Association Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics,

Temperature should be checked and recorded in infants who present with upper respiratory infections, earache symptoms or other signs of infection.

What is a fever?

In most adults, an oral temperature above 100°F (37.78°C) or a rectal or ear temperature above 101°F (38.3°C) is considered a fever. A child has a fever when his or her rectal temperature is 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.

NOTE: “In the first two months of life, any baby with a fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher should be immediately evaluated by an appropriate physician because the immune system has not yet had time to become competent to defend against invading pathogens.”1

  • A rectal or ear (tympanic membrane) temperature reading is 0.5 to 1°F (0.3 to 0.6°C) higher than an oral temperature reading.
  • A temperature taken in the armpit is 0.5 to 1°F (0.3 to 0.6°C) lower than an oral temperature reading.

Home Remedies for Children & Babies with Fever

In many cases, there are things you can do at home to help your child become more comfortable with a fever…and you can even reduce a high-grade fever to a low-grade level where it can still burn off an infection without making your child miserable.  Consider the following:

  • Spend as much time with your child as possible, and help get his mind off of discomfort by reading books and snuggling with him
  • Provide diluted juices or breastfeed more frequently to help your child remain hydrated.  Coconut water or carrot juice are beneficial for feverish children.  Breastmilk will help your baby or toddler increase immunity against the infection.
  • Give your child a sponge bath or sitz bath in tepid water–especially if it’s a high grade fever, or your child is hot and sweaty.  Alternate between warm and cool (tepid) water–cycling every 30 seconds to flush out the fever.  Add tea tree oil or lavender essential oil to the water for external use only.
  • Your child may lose his appetite due to the fever, and only desire to ingest fluids for a couple of days.  Consider the fruit or vegetable juices noted above.  Once your child is over the fever, he’ll need to regain his energy with nutrition-dense foods, void of sugar and processed dairy.  Add grass-fed beef, chicken, eggs, wild-caught fish, hearty vegetables, clear soups, yams, and antioxidant-rich berries to his post-fever meals.
  • Remove extra clothing and bedding to help your child with temperature regulation.  A single layer of a cotton shirt and pants and a thin cotton sheet will help your child regulate and cool down.

When to call your Doctor

  • If your child’s temperature exceeds 104°F (40°C) AND/OR
  • If your child is limp, lifeless, unresponsive, and doesn’t make eye contact AND/OR
  • If your child is irritable–cries non-stop for hours in a monotonous tone, and is inconsolable AND/OR
  • If your child is expressing symptoms of meningitis (such as a high fever, a stiff neck, neck pain, vomiting, convulsions, rash, sensitivity to bright lights.  In a newborn, a bulging cranial suture).

Temperature Reading Options

The most accurate readings on a newborn are rectal readings.  Until a child is at least age 5, you can’t get them to safely an accurately hold a thermometer under the tongue for an accurate oral temperature reading.  Axillary or armpit temperature readings may work secondarily, but they’re not as accurate as oral (for children over 5 years of age) and rectal (from birth to age 5).

Tympanic (inner ear) readings are the least accurate, and they require a new covering for each reading. Oral temperature readings are affected greatly if a very hot or cold drink was ingested just prior to the temperature reading.

A new study in peer-reviewed American Journal of Critical Care found temporal artery thermometers superior since they are comparable to rectal readings…and they can take a reading in less than 2 seconds!

I keep my Exergen Temporal Scanner in my doctor’s bag when I make house calls to check babies and adults…this is a thermometer that travels well that I can use on all age ranges.  It’s simple to use and results are FAST!

Swipe it across the forehead; and in two seconds, you’re done!  The digital read out tells you the accurate temperature reading.

TheExergen thermometer retails from $30 to $50, and it’s available at Toys “R” Us, Walmart, and Amazon.com.


One winner will receive an Exergen temporal thermometer.

To enter, leave a topic-related comment on this post before December 21st at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the contest rules–all generic comments are ineligible.).  U.S. mailing address must be provided, please.

I want to know…what Nancy’s appetizer do you love or want to try?


1. Blog about this contest and Exergen, with a link back to this post.  Leave a comment with a link to your post.

2. Subscribe to Traveling with Baby.

3. Follow me on Twitter and tweet this contest, and leave a link to your tweet.

Subscribe // Twitter me: drdolly

Note 1. Fysh PN. Chiropractic Care for the Pediatric Patient. International Chiropractors Association Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics. Arlington, VA; 2002. p. 63.

*UPDATE* Congratulations #22, Laureen!

22 Responses

  1. Thank you for this!! It’s always nice to be reminded that the body knows what its doing and a low grade fever can be ok and help the body do its job. Along the same lines you quoted above about the fever being unreliable in some serious illnesses – just last week Jacob was in excruciating pain every 10-30 minutes in his stomach- we had him adjusted within hours of this starting. No fever, no relief of pain, no bowel movement. We got him into the doctor just to check for other major illnesses – the pain was still consistent but because he had no fever they wrote us off and said he was constipated. We had him adjusted again after 24 hours – the pain was there after another 24 hours – we took him to the ER at the children’s hospital an hour away – poor baby had an Intussusception. Because he had no fever no one took us seriously even though the pain was excruciating. Thankfully it was fixed by a procedure that did not require surgery. All that to say – the medical field will try to tell you that without a fever you are fine – as a parent you know when something is seriously wrong with your child. Fight for them!!

  2. i love the temporal thermometers! they work so much better than the ear thermometers! great summary on fevers! it’s always best to let the fever run it’s not too high and the child isn’t showing any other problematic signs.

  3. I need a new thermometer- we bought a new one a few weeks ago and I’m not sure it is reading the temps accurately. It would be nice to win this thermometer- thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Wow! These are the best thermometers ever!!! They even use these in my daughter’s pediatrician’s office. The reading is super accurate.

  5. I like the tips on identifying a fever, and what steps should be taken. This thermometre sounds like it will be very handy with my squirmy son.

  6. I would really like to try one of these. I’ve only used traditional digital thermometers on my 3 kids and I never trust them! The kids hate them and they never seem to give accurate readings. This looks like a great improvement.

  7. I’ve been really wanting to try this one. It would be so much easier to take my little guy’s temp.

  8. My Carter has never had a fever so fortunately, I have never had to take his temp. This thermometer seems easy to use, and most importantly, accurate. Thanks for the info. on giving a bath with alternating warm & cool water to help reduce the fever!

  9. The temporal thermometer was a great invention, especilly for squirmy little ones who can’t sit still for the armpit reading and parents who’d rather avoid the rectal. It would be handy to have one in our home.

  10. My daughter is currently fighting a cold, thankfully she doesn’t have a fever anymore. We never took her temp but knew she was feverish because of her rosy cheeks and was hot to the touch. My husband and I realized that we don’t even have a thermometer! My parents always encouraged a fever (“it’s your body’s way of fighting bad stuff!”), and my husband wanted to give our 7 mo old meds. We went back and forth – this article is a great resource, thanks!

  11. I’m a subscriber.

  12. Wow. Such a great, relevant post about fevers. I always feel a little nervous when it comes to crunching the numbers as to when to worry, when to call the doctor, etc, but this is a great reminder of ages and temps. Do you think with the swine this year parents/caretakers are more sensitive to signs (especially fever?)

    So happy to have found you! Just what I needed!!

  13. Subscribed! Thanks!

  14. Follow on twitter and tweeted! (theivytwines)

  15. Our doctor uses these kinds of thermometer. We have a basic ear one that works, but I have really been wanting to get a temporal thermometer. This one seems really simple, fast, and easy to use!

  16. id love to try this kind of thermometer for my new baby which is arriving in march! it seems like it is a really great thermometer and SO easy to use!

  17. im a subscriber

  18. I never can remember what temp is considered a fever and for what age. I also can’t do the feel with your wrist to see if they have a fever. They always feel like they have a fever and I check and no fever. This would be so helpful.

  19. It’s great to read your important information on temperatures and reassurance that they are actually a good sign that the body is doing the work it should/needs to do to fight off infection. It makes me sad to see parents give their young babies/children antipyretics (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.) at the slightest sign of a fever thereby preventing the child’s body to perform its natural functions.

    This thermometer seems like a great tool that would eliminate one of a sick child’s dreaded procedures; taking his/her temperature orally or rectally, or even under the arm which my children do not like. The Exergen would remove one source of anxiety which is more than welcomed!

    Thanks for this great giveaway!

  20. I’m a subscriber. Thanks!

  21. I follow you on Twitter and Tweeted:

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