My baby girl has her first real fever. I say real as it’s the first from an infection (throat), not just a vaccination-induced fever. After letting the fever run it’s course for 18hrs, it got to the stage where I had a visibly distressed child and a rising temp. So off to the doctors we go, where I am promptly handed a script for antibiotics and baby nurofen and receive no other practical advice. I think we sometimes forget that our doctors advice is not gospel; after some prodding and questioning it becomes clear that antibiotics are not vital yet. I get some guidelines about how sick is too sick (constant temp over 39, floppy, lethargic, no food intake, or still sick after 3 more days) and leave with a resolve to give my daughters immune system a chance to do it’s thing.
The truth is fever is not an evil enemy that must be stamped out promptly. It’s actually an important component of our immune system, especially for young children who have not yet developed specific immunity. Traditional healing methods, including naturopathy, actually try to enhance the fever! What a novel idea in our western culture, with it’s focus on pharmaceuticals for all pains. Obviously young babies should not be allowed to develop dangerously high temps, but reaching for the baby panadol at the first inkling of fever is also unhelpful.
So what to do? I am using a variety of herbs, homeopathic remedies, common sense and cuddles to help my baby get through.
- I found the ‘pain and fever relief’ liquid from Brauer has been good for bringing the temp down slightly, keeping it below 39.
- Ginger tea helps keep bub sweating; an important aspect to body temperature control.
- Chamomile tea is helping soothe her before naps (and me!).
- Some echinacea tincture is supporting her immune system, allowing it to actively fight the infection and providing an important immune development lesson at the same time. I found the best way to administer this was adding her daily dose to a water bottle and let her sip from it throughout the day.
- Keeping clothing suitable and an occasional cool cloth on her head is helping her comfort levels.
- Keeping my sweet baby in arms is giving her a sense of safety and love. We all know how nice it is when someone takes care of us when we are sick, it is therapy in itself!
The antibiotics are in the fridge, ready to use if we do need them. But for now my natural remedies are doing nicely.
(I have used the baby nurofen twice. Both times she needed sleep, but couldn’t relax due to temps approaching 39 degrees. I felt it was more important for her little body to get some rest at those times. I’m not anti-medicine, I think it has a really important place. I just feel that it should be the last resort, not the first option).