This is a topic where my worlds are congruent-I am finding similar philosophies from a pediatric chiropractic and anthroposophical medicine view. (Anthroposophy is an extension of western medicine based on the teaching of scientist Rudolf Steiner.) Information I'm including here is from two main sources, an article called Care of a Child with a Fever by Dr. Ester Delhoofen, an MD liscensed in the Netherlands, and A New Attitude toward Fevers with Dr. Philip Incao, MD, featured in Pathways to Family Wellness. Please don't take my information as medical advice, but listen to your intuition, and consult your doctor as needed.
How does our family treat fevers? So far, we haven't, aside from fluids, cold cloths and homeopathics. And usually in panic that we should do something, especially as we have had febrile seizures, but no medical treatment.
Why do we choose not to treat fever? Our family values a natural approach to our health as often as possible. The fever is something the body has created as a defense, so we give it a chance to do its work to clean out what it doesn't need or want. The fever will in turn help to strengthen the immune system and help it to be smarter towards further infections. Plus, there's the huge side effect of some form of learning development when the fever has cleared-new speech, new physical milestone, new growth. My personal belief is that this applies to kids and adults, but perhaps think of that in terms of a mental or spiritual growth for us adults. This growth spurt following a fever is mentioned by both of the above authors.
From an anthroposophical view, warmth is connected to our Ego, or "I". When a child has a fever, ego is more present in the body (or spirit is more in the body) and helps to transition the child more from the spiritual to physical world. (They generally believe that young children live largely in the spiritual world). Hence the spurt in development.
Some facts/tips for you:
- Many viruses can grow in our body at normal temperature, but stop multiplying at 102 degrees F.
- The infection or other underlying condition causing the fever is more of the concern than the actual fever (ie. is this a virus or something more serious?)
- Keep your child warm in the early stages (when they feel chilled) with wool blankets and hot water bottles, and remove them when the body feels warm. Use cloth compresses as child wants.
- Give liquids (teas); easily digested foods (fruits)
- Remedies: Apis belladonna, chamomile cramp relief pellets, infludo in dilution ( sorry, I don't know these all!) & lots of Vitamins (A, C, D, zinc).
- And have you heard of hot socks!? Now is the time if you want to use them to lower a temperature. Soak thin cotton socks in lemon juice and water; wring; put on child; cover with thick wool socks. And wait 15 min and they'll be dry! (In my experience using hot socks for congestion, they take several hours to dry). And repeat.
When to worry: fevers in babies; dehydration; breathing concerns; fevers of more than 3 days; meningeal symptoms; convulsions. (Seizures apparently don't really relate to the temperature but more to the rapid rise of a fever)
And now I understand more why our daughter gets febrile seizures-she's the kid running around with no clothes on, so when she gets a fever she goes from cold cold to hot hot, fast. My advice for me? Bundle her up at the first sign of concern.
"Fever is the healing flame, the great cleanser of the body, and a critical part of developing a child's immune system." (Incao).
Doesn't that make you want a fever?