Today I had a wonderful Mom come in who gave me the opportunity to remind her about the
importance of “the fever”. Her little girl has had multiple fevers in the last few months which she had
been treating with children’s tylenol to reduce the fever and bring comfort. The fever would go down,
but within a few days or a few weeks it would be back as strong as ever. My question to her was… “Have
you ever considered not lowering the fever?”. Her automatic response was “no, ofcourse not, why…
In my opinion there are some really good reasons to leave a fever alone and my hope is to explain them
to you here. What’s the purpose of a fever? To stimulate the immune response and to elevate the body
temperature in order to kill off the imposing bacteria of virus. The body will elevate that temperature
until there is no longer a threat and give itself the opportunity to heal.
I will tell you… as a Mom, I totally understand why parents give there child something to lower a fever.
It’s very hard to see a child sick (or as I say… having a health response to a pathogen) and miserable. But
once you understand the “why” behind what the body is doing, it is easier to just cuddle your child and
not interfere with perfection.
How high is too high? Over the years there has been a lot of changing opinions about this. When I was
a child, my mother was concerned if my temperature was elevated above 99 degrees. When I was in
university the advice was to be concerned at 102 degrees. And now many doctors agree that you can
safely leave a fever at 104 degrees. In these situations, it is the child’s demeanor that you watch. You
know your child better than anyone. If your instincts are telling you to get help… get help.
In my opinion, when a child’s nervous system is working at 100%, their body will not allow the fever to
get to a dangerous level. That’s why I am adamant to tell you that one of the first things a parent should
do when they are concerned about a fever is to call their chiropractor. If the upper area of the spine is
misaligned it will affect the overall function of the immune system and it will not properly regulate the
fever response. So when a chiropractor adjusts that area it will remove any stress to the nervous system
which regulates the immune response. Often this alone will bring the fever to an acceptable level and
allow the body to use that fever to its advantage.
What to do if you or your child has a fever?
First and foremost… get adjusted by a chiropractor.
Our next main goal is to support a fever. A fever of 102 to 103 degrees F is considered the optimal
defense against microbes. We therefore want to allow the body to stay in this range while it is fighting
off the invading organism. So to support a fever we try and work with what the body is already trying to
do. For example, one effect of fever is to slow down peristalsis (movement of food through the gut). You
will likely notice that your child is not asking for food during this time. I recommend not forcing them
to eat and either fasting or eating foods such as broths , freshly made vegetable juices, or water till the
fever breaks. You want your child to remain hydrated but not swimming.
Always eliminate sugar, dairy, wheat, and caffeine from your diet when you have a fever. These types
of foods are stressful to the immune system and the imposing organism will thrive in an environment
which is rich in them.
Fever is also best supported with rest. The body is working very hard to carry out all the interrelated
functions required to heal. Exercise and activity will defer energy from these vitally important immune
When Medical Attention may be Warranted
To be 100% honest with you, as a parent of a now 7 year old healthy girl, I have never needed to resort
to medication. We have had a few times where her fever went high and we listened to her body,
adjusted her frequently, made dietary changes, and let her rest. And I truly believe that it is because we
have taken this route with her, that she is as healthy and strong as she is today.
However, if you would like some guidelines of when you should seek some help… here are so things to
be aware of:
· Infants less than 1-month-old with a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees F. Seek care right away
for fever in this age group. While waiting for care, breastfeed as often as the baby desires. The mother’s
milk has antibodies made right at the breast as it encounters pathogens in the baby’s mouth.
· Infants from 1-month to 3-months-old, with a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees F, if they appear
ill. (You know your child better than anyone. Listen to your instincts, and your child’s body), breastfeed
on demand while waiting for care.
· Children between 3 months and 36 months, with a temperature above 102.2 degrees F, if they appear
ill. (You know your child better than anyone. Listen to your instincts, and your child’s body).
· All other children with a temperature over 104.5 degrees F.