When my son was small, I feared a fever. My original reaction to this invader of my small child’s body was worry, speaking with my husband in hushed, tense voices. Our concern was surely felt by my son, who picked up that something was “wrong” with him.
Fortunately, I read some alternative health articles, talked with our health practitioner, and I discussed this with other parents. I learned the benefits of a fever and my approach changed.
When a child has a fever, many parents end the discomfort as soon as possible. It is so hard to see our children in pain. The first reaction is to use medication to try to lower the fever and help the child feel better. Attack the enemy and make him go away.
Yet, what if we reframed our thoughts about a fever? You may already know that a fever is good for the body. This is the body’s way of fighting infection and provides an opportunity to strengthen the immune system. The down-time allows parent and child to grow closer. Often after a fever it is common to notice a developmental spurt, perhaps in terms of behavior or cognitive growth.
We began to refer to my son’s fever as Mr. Fever, a friend who had come to visit to help him get better. Then we incorporated the following to aid the fever in doing its job:
- Peaceful rest in a quiet environment
- Keep the whole body warm—distribute the warmth so all body parts are the same temperature
- Natural fibers with 3 layers on top, 2 on the bottom
- Wool socks
- Warm liquids
- Avoid harder to digest foods like protein and fats. We usually do the BRAT diet: banana, rice, apple, toast.
Mr. Fever has truly become our friend. I am less stressed when I welcome a fever. My calm attitude informs my son. He understands that this is his body’s way of being smart.