I am writing about this particular topic today because we reached that "time and place" for the first time with Ayden today. Our midwives (both our home birth and back up) gave us the same advice about fevers. 102* is the magic number for individuals 6 months and over. It is okay to let someone's fever get to 102* F. BUT if it rises above 102*, or stays that high for more than 24 hours, then it is time to medicate and get that fever down. Ayden's temperature had fluctuated between 99* and 102* since Thursday night. I was actually away from Ayden for most of the day today (at a St. Jude's fundraising event where we raised almost $600 selling $5 tie dye T-shirts. Woot woot!) and almost skipped it to stay with him. His temp dropped and we thought he was on the mend so I went. David texted me updates throughout the day and Ayden was a trooper. A few hours after I got home, though, his fever spiked to 104* and we decided that he needed a little something extra to help lower his temperature a bit. I gave him a tepid bath while David ran out and got him some infant Motrin. Within 15 minutes, we could tell he was feeling better and within 45 minutes, his fever was back down to 101* and he was almost back to his normal, cheerful self.
Here are the tips we used for getting through our first experience with our child having a high fever:
- Remember that a fever is actually a good thing. Germs thrive at our normal body temperature and a fever is going to work on killing those mean old germs.
- Follow your gut. Some books and websites will tell you that a temperature of 104* is cause enough for a trip to the doctor or emergency room. If your child is still a little active, eating and drinking, and has some of their usual personality, you might not need to rush off to the hospital. If they are lethargic and dehydrated, take them immediately. Ayden fit in the former category and my mama gut told me it was a big enough emergency for Motrin but not quite big enough for the emergency room. Assess every individual situation and use common sense.
- Listen to the advice of others, but only do what feels right and comfortable for you. YOU are the parent and you know best.
- Know when enough is enough. We have the cut and dry rule of that magic 102*. As long as we are under that temp and in the 24 hour time frame, we give him immune boosting and infection fighting supplements, lots of cuddles to help keep him comfortable while his body gets the chance to fight for itself. Once we are passed that criteria, though, enough is enough.
- Get this book:
In the end, we are our children's best advocates. It is important that we educate ourselves not only on what the treatment options out there are, but also any effects they could have. If there is no emergency, why not try something natural before pulling out the big guns? Give their little bodies a chance to do what they do best, take care of themselves.
The Motrin will wear off around 12:45am. We will see if it's the kick his little body needed to shake this thing (we are thinking virus?) or if he will need another dose. As for taking him to the doctor, ours is closed on the weekends. If he becomes lethargic or stops eating and drinking, we'll take him to the emergency room. If he still has a fever on Monday, I'll call and get an appointment just to make sure we are doing what we need to do.
Please remember that we are in no way health care professionals. What works for our family may not work for yours. Follow your gut and do what feels right. This is just what feels right to us.