Nat now seems to be recovering, and the phlegmy cough is at least far less scary that the high fever she had yesterday.
While doing research though I stumbled upon an article which may be interesting for any Moms out there experiencing the same thing (new moms – dont worry you will!). I’ve condensed it.
Fever in Children by Len Leshin, MD, FAAP.
Fever is the body’s reaction to infection. Through mechanisms that aren’t known well, some aspect of infection and/or inflammation causes the brain to reset its “thermostat.” There are many theories for why this happens, including the idea that most germs can’t replicate well at higher body temperatures and that some parts of the immune system works better at higher temperatures. When the body has reset its thermostat, any temperature below that is considered by the body to be cold; so if the thermostat has been reset to 104 F, a temperature of 102 F will actually seem cold, and the body starts shivering to increase body heat: that’s why we get “chills.”
While fever is considered a rise in body temperature, not everyone’s body temperature is the same. The common average cited is 98.6 F (37.0 C), but your actual “normal” temperature may vary. Regardless, in infants and small children, fever is regarded as anything 100 F (37.8 C) or higher; in school-aged children and above, 99.3 F (37.4 C) or higher.
Here’s the important point: Fever is NOT dangerous! The amount of temperature required to hurt the human brain is over 107.6 F (42 C). Fever due to infection very rarely goes over 106.2 (41.3 C), and while scary to parents, is not harmful. (Temperatures over 107.6 F are usually due to heatstroke, head trauma, toxic ingestions or anesthesia side effects.) Seizures due to fever can occur in the age range of 4 months to 6 years, but is most often associated with an abrupt rise in temperature, rather than an extremely high fever. And while seizures due to fever are frightening, they are short (less than 5 minutes) and are very rarely harmful to the child’s brain.
Important note: while fever is not dangerous, it is a sign of infection, and there are some infections that are dangerous to children. How high the fever gets may not tell you how dangerous the infection may be. Infants 3 months of age and younger may not show serious signs of infection until it is too late, so these infants should always be seen by a doctor when febrile. For older infants and children, they should be seen by a doctor or other health care provider if you feel the symptoms may indicate that your child may have a serious infection, or if you are unsure if your child’s symptoms are serious or not.
Originally posted on August 23, 2006 @ 10:28 am