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I am not a nurse or a doctor, just a Mom trying to figure out what the right thing to do is.
J has had a fever for a couple of days, and has not had his usual energy level (when he voluntarily lies down on his bed instead of playing, you know something's amiss!). He's still a happy little guy, talkative and smiley, and there's been no vomiting - just coughing and a "sniffy" nose. And the fever.
Last year when this happened (it usually does about once or twice a year for him - Alyssa is not as prone to fevers but Joseph usually gets them), I gave him ice packs to cool him down. This made him shiver, and yet he got hotter! Once I did a bit of research I understood why:
Fever helps the body fight off in infection of course. What I didn't know is that if you ice a fever, you actually cause the body temperature to increase.
We all have an internal thermostat that keeps our body temperature around 98.6F. Unfortunately this is an optimal temp for bad bugs to thrive, so when we get sick the internal thermostat resets to a higher temp, and the body works to maintain that new setting (a. to help kill the bug, and b. to optimize our immune system's performance).
So when you ice a fever, you're fighting against the body's natural immune system response, requiring that even more heat be generated to try and reach that new internal thermostat setting.
Here's a link from a Nursing forum with a conversation specifically about icing kids' fevers: http://allnurses.com/forums/f18/ice-packs-fever-207206.html
Bottom line, I've discovered, is that you're better off leaving the fever alone (assuming it's not too high, of course - then you may want to see your Doc) and focusing on making your child comfy. Lots of fluids, comfy PJ's, favourite show on tv, and naps if they're willing.
There goes my timer again - I have to get A up for school. I'll be back!
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