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Take it Down a Notch

March 4, 2011

Did anyone else catch the American Academy of Pediatrics report on parents over-treating fever in kids?  Oh I did, with great great interest.  I happened to post on my personal facebook page my happiness that doctors were doing their part to take down the myth that the second your child feels a bit warm you need to dose with medicine.  I am not a medicator.  In fact, I used to down tylenol like it was candy but when I got pregnant with Cake and learned about all the possible side effects of overuse I have given it up almost completely and have found more natural ways to battle the ‘ache.  Unfortunately several people felt the need to take my opinions and tell me to shove them where the sun don’t shine.  ok maybe not quite like that. But there was some backlash for my comment that you should try hugs instead of tylenol, and I firmly stand behind that idea.


I have the luxury of having a family doctor who isn’t a drug pusher.  He is great with me and always gives me a clear view without bias about what is best for me and my kids.  Several years ago when my little Nay had a horrible case of conjunctivitis that was just NOT going away I went to my doctor tired and fed up of wiping goo off his face, prying open his eyelids, and sterilizing everything he touched.  The doctor sat me down and gave me three options, wait and see was the first.  The second was to use an OTC polysporin, and the third was a prescription medication that had such side effects as PERMANENT hearing loss, vomiting, body aches, etc etc etc.  He said it was up to me, after all Nay is MY son.  In the end, I chose to try the polysporin but damn it was hard to pry open those tiny eyes for drops so I’m not sure how effective I was.  It did take another week or so for it to clear up but it eventually did, and no permanent hearing loss!!  The point of that story is that my doctor is awesome even though his receptionist is just a wee bit scary and made me feel good about not always treating a ‘problem.’


I know though, that this isn’t the case for everyone.  For decades, people have been told by their doctors that a bit of medicine will whisk that fever away and take care of whatever is ailing your child.  But, what I’ve been told and what I believe to be true is that a fever is not the problem, it’s there doing its job fighting whatever actually is attacking the system.  Here’s a great quote from the report:

A fever is the body’s natural response to infection and can actually help a child’s body fight the invading bug. Fevers can slow the growth of viruses and bacteria, and enhance production of important immune-system cells. So while they shouldn’t be encouraged, fevers don’t always need “fighting.”

Buuuuuuuuuut, and there are several there are cases when you should treat a fever.  And I have and feel good about my choice to do so.  In fact, it was only just a few weeks ago that I scrambled to the pharmacy looking for some of the stuff to dole out to Cake.  She had been up ALL night, and when I say all night, I mean ALL NIGHT LONG.  She was tired and super cranky and non communicative.  S. Geek and I took turns holding her and comforting her to the best of our ability, and it was finally around 7am that she managed to say through thick tears and a weak body ‘my ears hurt.’  You can bet your ass I gave her some tylenol and she fell off to much needed sleep in dreamland.  too bad Nay wasn’t up all night because a few minutes later he woke up and was bright and chipper and ready for an awesome day and I maaaay have put Toy Story 2 on right after breakfast for him so I could power nap while he watched his pals on screen.

And this is where I think my well intentioned commentors on facebook got a bit confused as to what I was saying.  There are circumstances, certainly where to not administer some kind of medicinal treatment would be just cruel to both the child and the parent.  But there are certainly times where I have seen parents blindly dose with medicine so they don’t have to deal with their childs sickness.  Lady at my playgroup I’m looking at you. Nobody wants to deal with a sick kid.  They are whiny, and unreasonable, and nothing you do seems to be good enough.  But you know what?  Over using things like tylenol can have a very real consequence.  Take this:

“Acetaminophen is the most common single ingredient implicated in emergency department visits for medication overdoses among children,”  From HERE

Or how about this:

in one experimental mock situation, only 30% of adults correctly calculated the dose of acetaminophen for their child. From HERE

Or how about this even:

According to the Pediatrics case study, an infant developed acute liver failure after administration of acetaminophen for 10 days at a total dose of 720 mg/day (72 mg/kg per day). This resulted in elevated aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels, encephalopathy, and an increased ammonium level. The child’s clinical condition and laboratory test results improved rapidly after intravenous N-acetylcysteine therapy, according to the report.


Now, I have NO idea what that last quote mean other than the first bit about liver failure.  But, its enough to scare me.  Seriously, and I don’t even have infants anymore!

I’m really not saying that people should stop using acetaminophen but what I am saying is that a lot of times it really is better to heal with a hug and not an eye dropper of medicine.  This is not new information, read and form your own opinions after all we are all responsible for our own kids.

And really, next time you feel the need to comment all up in my facebook please actually READ what I’ve posted or you will become blog fodder.

Happy Friday:))))))))




One Comment leave one →
  1. March 4, 2011 12:02 pm

    I agree that there is a time and place for medication. Common colds and fever are not them though! Take heart, there are others like you out there, doing fine without all the meds!

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