Your baby’s temperature has risen to 39.8 C and she’s very uncomfortable. What do you do? Rush to hospital? Stick her in a tepid bath? Sponge her down? Give her paracetamol as fast as possible? What if you’ve given her a fever suppository and she poops immediately afterwards? Will the drug still work? Parenthood is not for the faint hearted and in these moments most of us are challenged beyond our means.
We’ve just spent an intense week caring for a sick baby. For 5 long nights and days our son’s temperature kept shooting up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and once it even went over 40. His brother had a febrile convulsion last year, so we were naturally a little traumatized by what a fever can do.
Many parents have genuine real fever phobia. However, a raised temperature isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s the body’s natural way of responding to infection. When you catch a bug chemicals are released into the blood. The brain’s thermostat then whacks up the heat to fight the infection. A fever thus slows the spread of bacteria and viruses and enhances white blood cell production. You could even argue that having a fever is good for your baby because it turns on its developing immune system.
One of the myths of fever is that it can cause permanent brain damage. For this to happen the temperature would have to be extremely high – over 42 Celsius or 109 Fahrenheit – and this is not commonly caused by infection but from being overheated (for example in a locked vehicle). Also fevers from infection generally top out at 40.5 or 41 degrees Celsisus (105 or 106 F) thanks to the brain’s thermostat. A febrile convulsion, as scary as it may be, is not harmful. It usually lasts about 5 minutes and isn’t repeated in the same sickness episode.
Health experts say the focus should not be on the height of the fever but the child’s comfort. The main concern in giving medicine should be because the child is uncomfortable, not because you want to bring down the temperature. Fever medicines can take up to 2 hours to work, and, in some cases, may not even lower the fever. Lukewarm sponging, bathing in alkaline (Epsom) salts, homeopathy and taking off clothes can help bring down a temperature but generally the child needs plenty of rest and extra fluids. Sickness has to run its course. Most infections and viruses last about a week, whether you medicate or not. We just have to have faith in the body – that it can cure itself supported in the right ways.
A recent article in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper claimed that fever medicine is given too readily by parents who aren’t aware of the potential risks of overdosing. Suppressing a fever can also give a false sense of security because the underlying cause may be more serious.
I remember the old days, when being sick was fun. We knew a fever was necessary in order to ‘sweat out’ the germs? My sister and I spent many a childhood week quarantined to our room. We had chicken pox parties where our mother would bring up sliced apple, soup and toast. We watched a bit of TV, read, slept and laughed a lot. It was really cosy. We had time to be sick and were allowed the time needed to recover. And our mother made the time to care for us. But these days no on one has time to be ill anymore. We have jobs to do, errands to run and lives to catch up with. So we drug up our poorly kids and pack them off to nursery to spread the germs.
In the future, when we’re the higher vibration beings we’re supposed to evolve into, we’ll be able to cure our sick children with the simple laying on of hands. Just like Jesus did – with raised consciousness. These miracle energy healings are well documented and taking place around the world today by the more enlightened individuals amongst us. As mothers, until we have the knowledge and awareness to perform such pure acts of love, we can simply hold, carress and sing to our sick ones. Science shows that a mother’s brainwaves synchronize to her baby’s heartbeat, so you genuinely are the best medicine for your baby.