Thursday, February 21, 2008

Myths about fever

Myths about fever

Myth: All fevers are bad for children.
Fact: Fevers turn on the body's immune system. Fevers are one of the body's protective mechanisms. Most fevers are good for children and help the body fight infection.

Myth: Fevers cause brain damage or fevers above 104°F (40°C) are dangerous.
Fact: Fevers with infections don't cause brain damage. Only body temperatures above 108°F (42.2°C) can cause brain damage. Fevers only go this high with high environmental temperatures (e.g.., confined to a closed car).

Myth: Anyone can have a febrile seizure.
Fact: Only 4 percent of children can have a febrile seizure.

Myth: Febrile seizures are harmful.
Fact: Febrile seizures are scary to watch, but they usually stop within 5 minutes. They cause no permanent harm.

Myth: All fevers need to be treated with fever medicine.
Fact: Fevers only need to be treated if they cause discomfort. Usually fevers don't cause any discomfort until they go above 102° or 103°F (39° or 39.5°C).

Myth: Without treatment, fevers will keep going higher.
Fact: Wrong. Fevers from infection top out at 105° or 106°F (40..6° or 41.1°C), due to a thermostat in the brain.

Myth: With treatment, fevers should come down to normal.
Fact: With treatment, fevers usually come down 2° or 3°F (1° or 1.5°C).

Myth: If the fever doesn't come down (if you can't "break the fever"), the cause is serious.
Fact: Fevers that don't respond to fever medicine can be caused by viruses or bacteria. It doesn't relate to the seriousness of the infection.

Myth: If the fever is high, the cause is serious.
Fact: If your child looks very sick, the cause of the fever is serious.

Myth: The exact number of the temperature is very important.
Fact: How your child looks is what's important.

Myth: Oral temperatures 98.7° to 100°F (37.1° to 37.8°C) are low-grade fevers.
Fact: Oral temperatures 98.7° to 100°F (37.1° to 37.8°C) are normal temperature variations--often peaking in the late afternoon and evening. For rectal temperatures, normal elevations are 99.5° to 100.3°F (37.5° to 37.9°C).

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