Fevers are not something we need to be afraid of. Yes they make us feel rotten, and it's not fun to have one but they are a very big part of a well functioning immune system. When the body comes under attack by viruses or bacteria, many times in order to take care of the problem, the body will turn up the heat. Basically it's pretty simple, if the immune system is struggling to get on top of some tough bug it will tell the body to warm up. Not only will this slow us down and pretty much force us to rest, it will also "burn up" the bug.
So what are we doing when we give our kids Tylenol and then 2 hours later Advil to be sure to keep the fever away? (Aside from taxing their little livers.) Well if you are like me when I was young you thought the fever was the enemy and if the fever was gone the child was better. What I have learned and experienced since then is that all I was doing was prolonging the problem, even though they seemed to feel better when I gave them the medicine the fever would stick around for days and days. I was literally fighting against the bodies immune system, making it take longer and have to work harder to conquer the problem.
When I signed up for The School of Natural Healing Courses and started my studies as a Nutritional Herbologist the book "How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of your Doctor" was part of the required study.
Okay back to what Dr. Mendelsohn, in his book taught me about fevers. I wish I had the book with me so I could just quote him from it but I'm sorry to say that it's in storage right now. But FYI we did sell our house and we are in the process of purchasing a new home. I'm pretty excited it's only 11 minutes from Ryan's work! Sorry off subject. ;)
Basically though the book said that Fevers work just as I mentioned above and that we should let them run their course. He said that unless there has been a head injury the brain has a built in thermostat and will not let the fever ever go higher than 107 degrees. So there is no need to constantly be taking the sick child's temperature hoping that the fever doesn't get "too high" because it won't. He said that convulsions can happen if the fever rises too quickly, that it is also a safety mechanism in the brain that causes the body to shake so then it will sweat so then the fever will break. He said that convulsions although very scarey to Mom are not dangerous and that you just need to be sure they do not fall and hurt themselves or knock something over on them. I personally have never had a child do this.
Dr. Christopher did teach though that a dry fever can do damage and that we should always be sure to keep the fever moist. Meaning drinking plenty of fluids and humidity (so showers, baths, sweating etc.) The more I learned and studied about fevers the less I fear them and in fact I have come to really appreciate the role they play in helping the body combat disease.
The first thing I always do when my children are really sick is ask them if they want their Father give them a Priesthood blessing. It's part of my religion, something I personally believe strongly in. More often than not they want one. Then it's really pretty simple. Mostly lots of rest and liquids. I will make my child warm vegetable broth, red raspberry leaf tea with some peppermint so they will like the taste,100% grape or apple juice and lots and lots of water. If their forehead seems really hot and dry, (I quit using a thermometer and just use my sense of touch, it scares me less and seems to direct me better in the case of high fevers. But that's just me.) I will give them a warm bath with Yarrow in it. And even more to drink. I will give them Kid-E-Well and I have even been known to give them a little cayenne and garlic too depending on age. For my little ones who couldn't take herbs I would do what we affectionately call garlic feet (details soon to come) after their bath then bundle them up in bed with lots of blankets. I try to get them to sweat. Again being sure they have had plenty of liquids going.
Unless they have caught some really nasty bug the fever is usually gone within 24-48 hours and they are all better. Before when I was giving them medicine it seemed their fevers would go for days and days and then within a month they would be sick again. For a really high persistent fever one that is making them miserable and making me a little nervous I have not hesitated to give them a warm (body temperature) catnip tea, enema. Enemas are a excellent way to bring a fever down. A lot of times a child will have a fever just because they are constipated, getting things cleaned out is a great way to help the immune system clear up the problem. I have used the cold sheet treatment when I had a really sick child (luckily that hasn't happened very often) and was glad to know I could be proactive and help the body more quickly work through the problem.
I hope that helps again remember to use common sense and do what you feel best about. Remember when dealing with any illness there is some danger involved. Be sure to be informed and know the signs for things like Menigitis and diseases that have TRULY been known to cause death. It's about being informed yet wise enough to know when you need competent professional help. Dr. Mendelsohn talked about how penicillin is unnecessary in most cases but is for sure a life saver when it comes to Menigitis. So learn the signs and be aware.