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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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Fever can be child's friend

Claims new research

When the flu season hits, many parents will be reaching for the cold compresses and paracetamol to cool their feverish child.

But it seems a high temperature could actually help children battle an illness.

An American paediatrician has revealed the high fevers typical of many childhood illnesses can help force a child to slow down, rest and sleep more - all vital in recovering.

High fevers typical of many childhood illnesses can help force a child to slow down, rest and sleep more - all vital in recovering

Hannah Chow-Johnson, assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said she was often asked what to do about children with a high temperature.

She said, “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 realise 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.”

Researchers at Great Ormond Street Hospital have in the past claimed tackling a fever with medicine before it is allowed to run its course, may slow recovery time, because the temperature can help to kill the bacteria causing the illness.

Fever is defined as a temperature over 37.5c, and can be a sign of something serious.

Parents are advised to seek medical help if a child's temperature reaches 40c or above.

If your child is also unusually sleepy, has a rash, cold extremities, a stiff neck or difficulty breathing, it is always best to contact your GP.

But most fevers are caused by a viral infection, and clear up on their own within a few days.

Despite the advice, the official NHS line on children running a high temperature is to keep them hydrated, undress them to their nappy or pants, and to treat discomfort with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

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