ELIMINATE THE FEAR, NOT THE FEVER
AUTHOR // Susan Markel, MD
“Doctors do a great disservice to you and your child when they prescribe drugs to reduce fever,” writes Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, pediatrician and author of How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor. “Fever phobia is a disease of pediatricians, not parents, and to the extent that parents are victimized by it, doctors are at fault.” Parents are left to fear that their child’s temperature will keep rising unless measures are taken to control it. Yet, reducing the child’s temperature will do nothing to make the child well, and our bodies have a built-in mechanism that will prevent an infection-induced temperature from reaching dangerous levels. Mendelsohn emphasizes that “only in the case of heatstroke, poisoning, or other externally caused fevers is this body mechanism overwhelmed and inoperative.”
Fever management: Evidence vs current practice
Fever is a very common complaint in children and is the single most common non-trauma-related reason for a visit to the emergency department. Parents are concerned about fever and it’s potential complications. The biological value of fever (i.e., whether it is beneficial or harmful) is disputed and it is being vigorously treated with the belief of preventing complications such as brain injury and febrile seizures. The practice of alternating antipyretics has become widespread at home and on paediatric wards without supporting scientific evidence. There is still a significant contrast between the current concept and practice, and the scientific evidence. Why is that the case in such a common complaint like fever The article will discuss the significant contrast between the current concepts and practice of fever management on one hand, and the scientific evidence against such concepts and practice.
A NEW ATTITUDE TOWARD FEVERS: AN INTERVIEW WITH PHILIP INCAO, MD
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