Whether you’re a new parent or a seasoned vet, it can always be scary when your child gets a fever.
What caused it? Are they sick? Is this an infection? Are they dehydrated?
All these questions and more may run through your panic-stricken brain. Have no fear. Most of the worries we have as parents have little to do with anything but our own need for our children to always be perfect.
Dr. Hannah Chow-Johnson, a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, says parents need to just relax.
“My most frequent calls are from worried parents who want to know how high is too high of a fever. What many parents don’t realize is that often, fevers are their child’s friend.
. . . . Fevers can actually help your child recover more quickly, especially if he or she is battling a viral illness . . . I often wish thermometers had a gauge that read either ‘fever’ or ‘no fever.’ That would definitely help parents who worry if their child has a fever that’s too high.”
So why is a fever actually good for your little one? Chow-Johnson explains:
“Fevers are safe. A fever is the body’s way of controlling its immune response. Your child’s body is controlling the temperature and it’s going to fluctuate no matter what you do. Don’t awaken a child from a deep sleep to give medications for the fever. Sleep is more important.”
Now that some of your fears may have subsided, here’s some advice on natural ways to help relieve a fever and make your child – and yourself – more comfortable:
Give Them Calcium
According to Dr. Bernard Jensen, one of the main functions of a fever “is to pull ionizable calcium out of the bones and draw it into the blood where it is useful for fighting infections.” That achy feeling you get might make a little more sense now. Some health experts believe calcium works with the fever to make it more effective which should shorten the overall duration. Calcium intake is best done through food, but supplements such as calcium citrate or Vitamin D (which assists with calcium absorption) can also be taken.
Chicken Soup Is Good For More Than The Soul
It looks like grandma was right, chicken soup when you have a fever/sick isn’t just a myth. Studies have suggested that bone broth (like in chicken soup) contains a number of things with beneficial medicinal purposes.
In the book, Nourishing Broth, Dr. Kaayla Daniel and Sally Fallon Morell write about research that suggests cartilage supports healthy immune function by “stimulating just about every time of white blood cell the body needs to mount a strong defense against unwanted microbes.”
Gelatin Is Fun To Eat And Good For You
Aside from the amount of sugar – and you can get just about any flavor sugar-free now – gelatin is actually good for the body for several reasons. It can make your skin look younger, support digestion, improve sleep, and support immune function. In Nourishing Broth, the authors dive into the contradictory beliefs about gelatin, but one study the women highlight is that gelatin “stimulates phagocytosis, the process by which a cell surrounds, engulfs, and eats microorganisms and cellular debris.” Also? It tastes good and is easy to consume, which is perfect for a child not quite feeling up to eating.
Certain herbs are thought to beneficial for immune function, such as elderflower and yarrow. There are numerous sites where you can find recipes on how to infuse herbs into a beverage or smoothie to add a little boost.
Apple Cider Vinegar
What happens when we feel the time has come to help bring the fever down? Your grandmother may know this one already (and she was already right about the chicken soup), but apple cider vinegar helps draw out the fever. Soak a couple of washcloths in one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water, then place them on the forehead and tummy, or add a cup to a warm bath.