but the oldest defense mechanism of mankind and the necessary reaction of the body to pathogens.
The increase in temperature accelerates the functions of the immune system in particular – a prerequisite for winning the battle against bacteria and viruses. The optimum temperature for the immune system is 39 to 40 °C. (The optimum fever is the body temperature at which the immune system performs at its highest level.) Often enough, it can be observed how a short time after the administration of a fever-reducing medication, e.g.B. of a fever suppository, the fever rises again to the original value. In this case, fever reduction is a burden on the body, as additional energy must be expended to restore the necessary body temperature.
Can fever also be healthy?
If a child develops a high fever within a short period of time (and recovers just as quickly), it is considered an indication of a healthy, responsive immune system. A slow rise in temperature, for example, over two days and then not exceeding 39 °C, shows that the child is less resistant overall. If you have several children, you can observe how different the children fever. The siblings who have a fast and high fever are usually also quicker to recover.
The question of how high the temperature may rise, can not be answered in a general way. The degree of an illness cannot be read off from measured values. A child who is still playing with his dolls or building blocks at a fever of 40 °C is healthier than a child who is apathetic in bed at 38.5 °C. You can follow the following rule of thumb:
Babies who have a fever, newborns with a temperature above 38 °C and children whose temperature is above 40.5 °C should be presented to the pediatrician. They are thoroughly examined for serious illnesses such as meningitis, pneumonia or kidney inflammation.
At what temperature does fever become dangerous?
Above 42°C, protein structures in the body are destroyed. This is, so to speak, the technical answer to this question.
Fever reducing measures
Skip all chemical fever-reducing drugs; they do not provide a cure, but only delay the course of the illness. There are also children who become completely over-excited due to the artificial temperature reduction and do not give any more rest at all.
From practical experience, however, I know that many mothers themselves sleep better if they give their child a fever suppository in the evening. This often makes you feel good, especially with the first child, when there is not yet so much empirical experience. The mother is then reassured that the fever does not continue to rise. It is also important to know that fever-reducing medications cannot prevent a febrile convulsion. This is a common misconception
If you want to give paracetamol fever suppositories or juice, you must follow the dosage exactly. Children must not be given suppositories for adults. Overdose is harmful to the infant liver.
Risk factor fever reduction
More and more studies indicate that artificially lowering the fever can drastically increase the mortality rate. The fever is a healing reaction of the body, if possible it should not be hindered in fulfilling its task. The following are examples of some publications on this subject:
Between December 2002 and September 2003, a study in Miami, Florida, examined the effects of aggressive fever reduction. In one group of patients, fever was reduced every six hours as soon as the temperature was above 38.5 °C. From 39.5 °C, a cooling blanket was also used. The other group received antipyretic therapy only after the temperature reached 40°C, and only until the temperature dropped below 40°C.
The study had to be stopped for ethical reasons after seven deaths were recorded in the early fever-reduced group, against only one death in the moderate fever-reduced group.
Schulman, Carl I., "The Effect of Antipyretic Therapy upon Outcomes in Critically Ill Patients: A Randomized, Prospective Study", SURGICAL INFECTIONS, Volume 6, Number 4, 2005, DOI: 1089/sur.2005.6.369