Fever Phobia


Let me first just get this out there, I am NOT a doctor. If you are concerned about your child’s fever and/or symptoms call your doctor immediately.

OK, phew. Glad we got that out of the way.

My daugher, Maximara, had her first sick visit (at 18 months, go us!)  with our doctor on Tuesday. I got a phone call from school around 3:45pm that Max had a temperature of 104 in both armpits – 104. 104? I thought to myself. Holy shit that’s like brain damaging. So in a mad rush and mild state of panic I ran out of the house to pick her up, didn’t even look back to see if I left the stove on or candle burning. Oops. On my 3 minute walk, maybe run,  to pick her up I came back to reality (slightly) about her temperature. I thought to myself I won’t panic about the number let’s just see how she is acting and take it from there. As soon as I walked through those doors I knew something was wrong. She was acting like a girl who drank too much tequilla on her 21st birthday – head bobbing trying to stay up so she doesn’t miss a beat but her body really wants to shut down. I don’t even think I got a smirk when she saw me. And the teachers had her wrapped in a blanket because she was shivering, which is what any normal person would do when someone is shivering. <More on this later> As I carried her home in my arms and pushed the stroller with one hand I called the doctor to ask if this warrants an ER visit, doctor visit – what does a worried mom do? Tell me! The nurse on the phone said….first stay calm. OK, I dig it. I’m the first person to tell you that your children sense your fear and then they, too, will also become scared (or more even more scared). So I took a deep breath. She said listen, we don’t really worry about the temperature until it hits 106, 107. So I thought to myself ok, we’re good there. At least for now. Another deep breath. And then she said if she isn’t acting like herself or is unresponsive you may want to bring her in just to get checked out. So checked out we did.
We got to the doctor’s office about 30 minute before close and saw a doctor we had never seen before. He was probably the oldest doctor in the practice (dinosaurs is what they call them, right?) – I immediately felt safe, like I was with one of my super experienced parents who knew everything. As soon as we sat down he basically gave us fevers 101 and it was amazing. A few takeaways I thought were valuable? He informed us you always treat the symptoms, not the number on the thermometer. A temperature of 101 or 102 and your child is acting fine, let their body do it’s job and fight off the nasties on its own. That’s what a fever is, your body fighting. Shivering? That is actually your body working to get your body temperature up to fight even harder. It does not symbolize being cold. (This was definitely an ‘aha’ moment for us). A temperature of 106/107 is when it gets dangerous so don’t freak out when you see a 102. And, if needed, you can always piggyback Tylenol and Motrin to fight a high-grade fever.

So here we are day 3, she is still sleeping so I don’t know where fever stands, but I’m hoping there was some progress over night. I will continue to learn as a mother as Maximara and I continue on this journey called life. But this first ‘sickness’ definitely taught me a few things. Never panic, it doesn’t do anyone good. Fevers. Everyone is fearful of them. 101 – where’s the Tylenol? 102 – call the ER! But it turns out it’s better to look for the symptoms than the number. Our bodies are strong little suckers, let me do their jobs. And when those symptoms start to get weird, call your doctor and break out the drug reserves. That’s what they are there for.

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