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Fever Talk with Dr. Cross

It’s that time of year again and the flu is just starting to spread across South Texas. Most of these infections are viruses and cause high fevers, especially in children.  A fever is our immune system’s attempt to gain an advantage and make a poor environment for the infection to decrease growth and spread. The hypothalamus resides at the base of brain and is the body’s thermostat. When the hypothalamus detects an infection, it tells the body to generate heat by shivering and retain more heat by shunting blood to the body’s core. This creates cold, clammy extremities and hot, sweaty head. Children have an inexperienced immune system/hypothalamus and have less control over fevers and typically can get hot fast. This increase in temperature recruits more immune fighting cells such as neutrophils, b-cells, and T-cells, which are important for fighting viruses. Fever induces fatigues and the need for rest. It also decreases the spread of the virus by decreasing viral shedding.

A common fever myth is that high fevers can cause brain damage. This is untrue and has never been proven. Your body can withstand high temperatures up to 108, which do not occur from infections. Febrile seizures can occur with rapidly changing temperature, and only occur in 3% of children, usually between 6 months to 18 months of age. Febrile seizures general have no long term effects.

If you notice your child with a fever, it is ok to let it run its course. Children don’t need cool baths or medication right away. The best time to treat fevers is to make them more comfortable so they can hydrate and get nutrition for their immune system.

When to go to the emergency room:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe pain
  • Dehydration and unable to keep fluids down
  • Or any other concern

When it comes to pain and illness, the last thing you need to fear is the cost to diagnose it. That’s why at Physicians Premier, we offer free medical screenings to determine if the pain you or a loved one is experiencing is a true emergency that needs further care, so you can have peace of mind.

At Physicians Premier we are committed to helping you and your family feel better. We are open 24/7. To find the location nearest you, please visit  www.mdpremier.com.

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