In 1980, an American pediatrician named Barton D. Schmitt, he first wrote about fever-phobia. Introduced a new term to refer to to the unjustified fear that some parents presented before the fever and its possible complications, such as brain damage, seizures, blindness, coma and / or death, all of which are unfounded. Already then, the need for adequate health education was warned to avoid the spread of unjustified fear.
However, more than 35 years later, the situation has not improved at all. Fear has been transmitted from generation to generation as the worst infectious disease, and it is not only transmitted from parents to children, but also within hospitals and health centers, with health workers transmitting their fears to their own patients.
There is only one way to eradicate fever-phobia, and it is to continue with the transmission of good information by professionals, who must also be the first to believe our own recommendations. And it is essential to know that:
1. Early treatment of fever does NOT prevent the dreaded febrile seizures, despite the fact that more than 80% of the population continues to believe that this is so. In addition, these types of seizures are usually benign, do not lead to epilepsy, and disappear over time. What should be avoided are sudden changes in body temperature.
2. If the child is well, it is NOT necessary to treat the fever with antipyretics. Three out of four parents confirm having heard the following phrase one or more times at home: 'this child is on fire, give him something ...'. It is essential to convey that fever is a defense mechanism against infections, which limits bacterial growth and viral replication and, ultimately, collaborates in the resolution of infectious processes. Treat only when children feel sick, with chills, to remove the annoying symptoms associated with fever, but our goal is not to make the fever disappear. We should treat our children, not the thermometer.
3. It is NOT advisable to alternate several medications so that the antipyretic effect is more powerful. It does not matter that the antipyretic effect is powerful, what matters is that the unpleasant symptoms associated with fever disappear, not that the child remains afebrile. Furthermore, the alternation of antipyretics favors the appearance of side effects and dosage errors, both potentially serious. Most pediatric scientific societies advise against this practice at present.
4. NO physical measures, such as cold wet cloths or lukewarm baths, should be used to treat fever. The fever decalogue of the Spanish Association of Primary Care Pediatrics (AEPap) clearly advises against the use of physical measures. Fever symptoms do not improve and can lead to sudden changes in temperature that are undesirable.
5. In any child with fever and in good general condition, It is NOT necessary to consult the pediatrician early. 'Parents, when did the child start with the fever?' 'Well, we just got out of the pool right now, and while the boy was having an ice cream, we touched his forehead and we felt hot. We come because the weekend is over and we are afraid it will be something serious. '
Go to an emergency center immediately in the first minutes of the fever, if the child is in good general condition, it only increases the parents' concern, since the physical examination will almost certainly be normal, and complementary tests will not be valuable . Wait a reasonable 24-48 hours to see how the disease progresses, and then consult your pediatrician. There are only two exceptions: under 3 months and alteration of the general state, that is, when the child does not even have the strength to cry.
But be careful, if you have doubts, ask. Do not have unwarranted fears. Do not put your grain of sand to the persistence of the fever-phobia. And if it is a health worker who is scared, reassure him, because you will be helping not only a person, but also a transmitter of information to other patients and you will be avoiding the persistence of a viral spreader of fever-phobia.
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