Fevers, Flu and Tylenol

Fevers, Flu and Tylenol

Many of us still think of fever as an enemy. While a fever can be a warning sign of an illness raging within, the fever is fighting for your child, not against. This was again confirmed in a study in the December 2000 issue of Pharmacotherapy, the official journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.  54 volunteers at the University of Maryland were injected with Influenza A; those whose fevers were treated were more comfortable but were sick longer.

Fever treatment is not likely to be helpful if a child is drinking plenty of fluids, is comfortable, and is able to sleep. Lowering a fever makes sense if the child is dehydrated, vomiting, or having difficulty sleeping. Sleep and hydration are also important parts of healing.

If comfort alone (not sleep or fluids) is the main reason for reducing a fever, treating the fever may still make sense. Even though the illness may last an extra day, being more comfortable throughout the illness may be worth it.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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