Keep in mind that you do not have to treat the fever itself – the body is trying to mount this fever to fight the infection.
When your child has a fever the most important thing is to encourage rest and give plenty of fluids. Fevers may continue for a number of days or go away and come back – especially in the afternoon and evening – for several days. This is usually not a problem if the child is taking plenty of fluids and seems otherwise well.
Hydration is key: Give your child loads of fluids during the fever. Nursing babies should nurse freely. Older babies can be nursed often and given a little bit of water by teaspoon, sippy cup, or even an eye-dropper every 30 minutes. If your child is sleeping a lot, wake him up periodically for for sips of water or tea. If your child is refusing to drink much, then give herbal or natural fruit juice ice pops. While I’m not a fan of giving sugary fruit drinks, getting fluids in is essential – and an average ice-pop has about 4 oz of fluids and kids love them.! Herbal ice pops are also a terrific, tasty and sneaky way to get natural remedies into your kiddo!
Let your child rest and sleep as much as she needs to. Create a quiet, comfortable, restful environment and keep your child home from day care or school during a fever.
It’s normal for kids to have very little appetite when feverish. Keep foods light – soups, broths, toast, small amounts of fruit, steamed vegetables – and don’t force them to eat. But do push fluids!
Herbs can be used to help ease the symptoms associated with a fever – aches, headache, tummy discomforts, and chills. High fevers can be lowered a bit with these herbs. Here are some classic herbs for feverish kids that I use. These are also safe for babies.
Tea is usually given in a dose of 1-2 eye dropper full to 1/4 cup to children under 1, 1/4-1 cup every few hours to toddlers and older children. For children over 1, teas can be sweetened with honey or maple syrup. Honey is excellent for treating coughs, too! (Do NOT give honey to babies under 1 year old — it can cause infant botulism.)
Chamomile, Catnip, and Lemon balm tea: To prepare, mix equal parts of the dried herbs and prepare according to the tea instructions below. This is very pleasant tasting and very gentle even for little babies. It soothes a tummy upset, aches, and eases fever symptoms.
Fresh ginger root tea can quiet indigestion. Grate 1 tsp of fresh ginger root and prepare as with other teas. Ginger tea can help fight upper respiratory infection and helps sweat out a fever.
Spearmint Leaf and Elder blossom tea: This is a slightly stronger tea. Steep 4 TBS. of each herb together in a covered quart jar of boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain and sweeten lightly. It’s especially helpful for bring the fever down a little bit by causing a sweat, which you can do if you’re feeling nervous, but remember, causing a child to sweat actually leads to more loss of fluids and risk of dehydration, so bump up the liquids.
When to See the Doctor
All babies under 1 month old with fever should be seen by a doctor immediately. This can be a medical emergency!
Babies under 3 months old with a high fever (see above) should be seen by a doctor.
Any kids who are not taking fluids, not urinating a normal amount compared to usual, or are just not “acting right” should be seen by the doctor.
Any kids with fever along with stiff neck or neck, persistent vomiting, or severe headache should be seen by the doctor.
If your child has severe ear pain or severe belly pain.
If your child is lethargic – that is, he just isn’t really waking up fully, seems weak, or just seems sort of limp, is just lying there, and doesn’t really make eye contact.
Fevers that stay high for more than 3-5 days.
If you feel worried that your child has a serious illness, take your child to the doctor: Remember, trust your momma intuition! (and better safe than sorry).
Remember, though, most times a fever is just a helpful way your body has to fight a viral infection. Supportive care with fluids, rest, and light foods, and the comfort of herbal teas and extracts, is generally all that’s needed to help your children recover safely and naturally.
I am actually passing this blog along from a natural MD that I know and trust…sometimes it helps to hear the same message from someone different 🙂
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