Saturday Night Fever
I remember when I was little if my fever climbed to 102 or more I was given children's aspirin, now of course it's Tylenol. Unfortunately many parents continue to give their children Acetaminophen at the first sign of a fever. Studies have demonstrated that doing this prolongs the symptoms of colds and the flu. This is no surprise when you consider that fever is a natural defense mechanism of the body to fight off infection. Increased body temperature makes our internal environment less hospitable to the bugs, while increasing the activity of our immune cells and speed of enzymatic reactions. The bottom line is that using Tylenol for infections is suppressive and does not encourage healing.
The good news is there are plenty of non-suppressive treatments for infections. We all want to keep our kids free from pain. The aches, chills, headaches, and fever can be grueling. Providing pain and fever relief needs to be weighed with the detriment of suppression. When a child can't sleep and is in acute pain, a fraction dose of acetaminophen allowing the child to sleep can out weigh the negatives, but I have found this rarely necessary. My first born has received pain reliever maybe twice in her lifetime. The cool thing about kids is that left unhindered, their symptoms are robust and short-lived. For example during this last bout my youngest spiked a fever of 102.4 one evening, we gave her some supportive herbal medicine, a homeopathic remedy, and put her to bed early. The next day she was back to her happy self again. As we get older, our fevers tend to be lower and our symptoms last longer. Once again avoiding suppressive medications is best.
During this time it's also best to avoid other factors that hamper our immune response. Sugar-laden foods, so prevalent in kids diets today, are best avoided. Light meals, plenty of water, and immune enhancing supplementation is ideal. Dilute juice with mineral water can be settling and a number of kid-friendly plant extracts like elderberry and echinacea can encourage a healthy immune response. Extra sleep is imperative and if your child seems to get more then her fair share of colds check in with your holistic pediatrician for an evaluation.