The severity of thejever does not necessarily indicate the severity of the illness.
Everybody knows what a fever is, but many people don't know what it means. One common error is to assume that the higher the fever, the sicker the child. It is also commonly believed that fever is a child's enemy-that it should be fought and the temperature brought to normal as soon as possible.
The fact is that children past early infancy tend to develop high fevers with little provocation. Relatively harmless illnesses like roseola often cause temperatures as high as 106°F, whereas many serious diseases, such as leukemia and polio, may cause only a slight rise in temperature or none at all. Furthermore, it is not true that high fever causes brain damage.
Remember that the degree of fever does not necessarily indicate the degree of severity of the illness. A child with pneumonia or meningitis who has had a fever of 104°F is still quite ill even when the temperature has been artificially reduced to normal. A child with a strep throat and a fever of 101°F is no less sick than the same child with a strep throat and a temperature of 104°F. Other symptoms (such as exhaustion, confusion, and difficulty in breathing) indicate the severity of the illness, not the degree of fever.?
It makes more sense, in fact, to regard a fever as a child's friend rather than as an enemy. A fever is an early warning signal that a child is ill.
Fever also speeds up the body's metabolic processes (possibly including its resistance mechanisms) and, in some instances, may help the body's defenses overcome an illness. Fever, together with other symptoms, also acts as a barometer to help you judge when an illness is ending. For example, the course of a fever may indicate whether an antibiotic is working effectively. Finally, the pattern of daily fluctuations in fever is characteristic of certain illnesses and may aid the physician in making a correct diagnosis. A high fever does have disadvantages, however. It makes a child feel uncomfortable and. as it develops, may cause chills. If a fever continues for days, it may weaken a child so that it takes longer for the child to recuperate. In susceptible younger children, a fever may lead to convulsions (see Convulsions with fever). For all these reasons, it is sensible to reduce a fever. However, it is important not to confuse treating the fever with treating the illness, not to panic as a fever rises, and not to harm the child in your anxiety to fight the fever. A MATTER OF DEGREE No one can accurately estimate the degree of a fever by touch. If your child feels warm or appears ill, you must use a thermometer to accurately register the temperature, which your doctor needs to know in order to plan treatment. At any given moment, different parts of the body are at different temperatures. Furthermore, normal temperatures vary as much as 3°F over the course of a day even when a child is healthy. A rectal temperature of 99. whooping