Fever causes and treatments for children

Pediatrician Jay Gordon, MD, shares advice for parents on the most common causes of fevers in children and the best methods for treating your child's fever
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Fever causes and treatments for children

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When children get sick, they very often get a fever. It could be a 101, a 102, could be a 105. One of the immune system’s best responses to an infection is temperature elevation. While blood cells move faster and kill better when the body’s temperature is elevated. Viruses and bacteria like 98.6, so that at a 101 and a 102 you’ve created an inhospitable environment for them. But kids can be miserable. At a 101, or a 102 or a 103, most kids won’t eat, won’t sleep, they won’t drink and it’s very hard to evaluate a 103° child. They all look like they belong in the emergency room. When you give a child a long, lukewarm tub bath and maybe give them Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, the temp comes down and you create about an hour long window where you can look at a fever free child and you can realize as they smile and play a little bit that it may have been a large fever but it’s a small infection. It’s been proven, however, that when you do reduce fever, you can prolong illnesses like influenza by 24 hours or more. So the best thing to do is to try very gentle fever reduction – long baths, perhaps Belladonna, small doses of Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen if you need them. But whenever possible leave a fever alone if you can assess the child. If a fever persists or if a child doesn’t look good when the fever’s down, call your doctor.

Pediatrician Jay Gordon, MD, shares advice for parents on the most common causes of fevers in children and the best methods for treating your child's fever

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Jay Gordon, MD

Pediatrician

Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP, IBCLC - In the middle of his residency training, pediatrician Jay Gordon took an unusual step. Deciding that he needed greater knowledge about nutrition, vitamins, and alternative medicine in order to practice medicine the way he wanted to, Dr. Gordon took a Senior Fellowship in Pediatric Nutrition at Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City. After his residency at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Dr. Gordon joined the teaching attending faculty at UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Intensely interested in infant nutrition and breastfeeding, Dr. Gordon is the first male physician to sit for and pass the International Board of Lactation Certification Exam and has served on the Professional Advisory Board of La Leche League for 24 years.

In addition to treating patients, he participates in the training of medical students and residents, lectures all over the world, writes books, and writes a monthly column for “Fit Pregnancy” magazine. He has contributed to “New York Parent,” “Parenting” magazine and has been quoted in the L.A. Times, New York Times, and The London Times.

Dr. Gordon’s first book, the well-received Good Food Today, Great Kids Tomorrow, offers a life-changing plan for families who want to make dramatic changes in health and fitness through nutrition. Brighter Baby examines the positive effect that attachment parenting, combined with infant massage, has on children’s health and intelligence. Other releases include: Good Night! The Parents’ Guide to the Family Bed and Hug Your Baby, a Gentle Guide through the First Year, which was released summer, 2002. He also authored Listening To Your Baby: A New Approach to Parenting Your Newborn, which still gets great reviews from parents. His most recent book is The ADD and ADHD Cure, the Natural Way to Treat Hyperactivity and Refocus Your Child.

When the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Television and the Media named Dr. Gordon “the most influential doctor in America,” they were referring, tongue-in-cheek, to Dr. Gordon’s role, as the medical script consultant, in eliminating lollipops from the office of “Doctor Weston,” lead character on the sitcom “Empty Nest.”

After two years of consulting on television scripts, sets, and ideas, Dr. Gordon was named CBS TV’s Medical Consultant for Children’s programming. He also worked for five years on ABC Television as the on-air medical correspondent for the “Home Show,” and continues to consult regularly for television and movies. He’s appeared on Fox 11 News, ABC’s 20/20 and most recently on Larry King Live. 

Dr. Gordon contributed and wrote the forward to Smart Medicine for a Healthy Child and The Encyclopedia of Vitamins and Supplements (both published in 1999), is pediatric consultant for “Fit Pregnancy” magazine and a frequent contributor to “Parents,” “Parenting,” and other media outlets.
 Busy as he is, Dr. Gordon finds that his most challenging job is “being a good husband and the best possible parent to my 22 year-old daughter.”

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