Parents, don't fear all fevers, pediatricians say
February 28th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Parents, don't fear all fevers, pediatricians say

When parents notice their child has flushed cheeks and is hot to the touch they often anxiously reach for the thermometer to check for a fever and a pain reliever to bring it down. But "fever phobia" may be getting in the way of properly treating children, according to a new study in the medical journal Pediatrics.

“Fever is the body's normal response to an illness, so it doesn't mean it's a bad thing. It's how your body fights the infection," explains study author Dr. Janice Sullivan, professor of pediatric critical care medicine at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

About a third of all visits to the pediatrician are due to fever, usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Most fevers go away fairly quickly, are benign, and may actually protect the child. So pain relievers are primarily recommended to help alleviate some of the discomfort, not necessarily to bring the fever down to a certain level, according to the report.

Sullivan stresses that it's more important to monitor children for symptoms of serious illness and to make sure they don't become dehydrated instead of becoming overly concerned with how high or low a fever may be. There are certain exceptions, however.

"In infants less than 2 – 3 months of age we generally will recommend if they have a fever of 100.4 that those babies should be seen by their pediatrician because they may have a serious infection," says Sullivan.

Some experts also recommend that if children of any age have a fever greater than 103, they should go see their doctor.

As many as half of parents give their sick children the wrong dose of pain relievers, say researchers. Part of the problem may be that many don't know dosing is based on a child's weight, not age or height. Another common mistake is using a kitchen spoon instead of a proper measuring device or the one that comes with the pediatric medicine.

The two most common medicines used for treating fever in young people are acetaminophen and ibuprofen and if used as directed in healthy children are generally considered to be safe. Sometimes doctors recommend alternating between the two drugs during an illness, but this can increase the risk of inaccurate or overdosing without carefully reading instructions.

"When your child is ill, fever is a normal response to this illness. The important thing is first of all make sure your child is comfortable and secondly look for any other signs of symptoms to give you some indication of how ill your child is," explains Sullivan.

And remember, if your gut tells you something is wrong with your child, don't hesitate to call your pediatrician no matter how high or low the fever.

soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. PAPilot

    A former employee cost our company $10,000 in just one year of rushing his various kids to the ER in the middle of the night with low-grade fevers.

    February 28, 2011 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bumble

      Do they not pay for insurance? I think if they pay for their insurance they can do whatever the hell they want with it. Get over it or stop offering your employees insurance.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:14 | Report abuse |
    • nordeen

      not your kid – not your business! You have no idea if this child has underlying health problems. Find yourself a hobby and stay out of other peopeles business.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
    • RationalOne

      And if one of those trips saved the child's life would it have been worth twice that much? What price limit do you put on a child's life to keep your dues from going up a dime?

      February 28, 2011 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      What's your point PAPilot?

      You obviously don't have kids. I spent a good chunk of my daughter's first year of life in the ER for various things. Are you going to start complaining about me now?

      February 28, 2011 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Never disparage how another person parents because odds are they could make equally disparaging comments about your parenting skills. Either that or you're just not a parent. Either way, you should find something else to complain about.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:16 | Report abuse |
    • MNmom

      Every time my son has run a fever, regardless of temperature, he had an ear infection. Twice he also had pneumonia. The only times he has ever run a fever is if he has an infection that required antibiotics. And yes, usually the fevers came on at night time, thus a trip to the ER.
      People pay for health insurance for this reason. If you're implying that your insurance rates increased because of this man, well guess what, opt out. He has kids, you obviously don't. And what kind of busy-body jerk keeps tabs on how much someone spends to keep themselves or their children healthy? "Former employee" ... I really hope he wasn't fired for using his health insurance.
      BTW, if that measly $10,000 bugs you so much, you would be sick knowing how much it costs for my son's autism care. Glad I'm not your employee.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
    • pazke

      PAPilot, is your company self insured? Because otherwise it cost the insurance company $10K, not your company. That being said, parents are way to quick to rush their kids to the emergency room in the middle of the night. Most family med and pediatrician practices have doctors that take turns being on home call. If you're really worried then page your doctor and talk to them about it. Emergency rooms are for emergencies and shouldn't be used as primary care. I am a parent of three, and my husband is a physician who covers the emergency room at night. I'm not bashing anyone's parenting. I'm saying that parents should be educated about such things at well child care visits so they can avoid unnecessary and expensive trips to the ER.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
    • NOVA EMT

      The Emergency Dept is not the place for someone, adult or child, who simply has a low-grade fever. If all a person has is a low-grade fever, then go to they should see their primary care doctor in morning. Otherwise, they are wasting Emergency Dept resources for those patients who are having true emergencies – heart attacks, strokes, traumatic injuries, etc.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
    • Larry Lupus

      The nerve of him!!! Costing your company taking care of his children. I guess you would of preferred his child died if it saved your company money.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • pazke

      MNMom, ear infections do not always require antibiotics. The current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics is to NOT give antibiotics for the first 48 hrs because most infection will clear up on their own. And even those that do require antibiotics can wait until morning for an urgent care visit or for your regular doctor to work you in. Everyone is constantly complaining about the cost of health insurance and yet here you all are saying "that's why he pays for insurance". If you get in a car accident or file a homeowner's claim then your rated go up. If you make unnecessary trips the the ER in the middle of the night then everyone's rates go up. PAPilot has issues if he was actually keeping track of how many times the employee went to the ER, but inappropriate use of the healthcare system is EveryOne's business because it costs all of us money. Again, not blaming parents, blaming the system. Parents need to be more informed.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      My 2.5 year old son had a low grade fever on Tuesday and Wednesday. Actually went to the doctor. Diagnosed as nothing serious. Thursday it subsided. Friday it came back a little in the morning. Saturday he was brain dead. Sunday he was dead. If you're concerned about your child's health, do whatever YOU feel is comfortable.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • AB

      Maybe should have supported a stronger version of the Healtchare bill where the trifecta mafia of Insurance companies, Drug companies and Medical Service providers don't charge $500 per visit to an Emergency just to check fever and give a sip of liquied Tylenol. There is some thing seriously wrong with how Healthcare is approached in this country, sadly some folks still don't see it and are stuck in the 80's version of Communism vs "Freedom Fries"

      February 28, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      I agree – you never know what kinds of underlying health issues someone has. Maybe the kid has a weakened immune system or something. Regardless – it is important for parents to feel that their children are safe. I have educated myself as a parent on virtually all common ailments for kids. But, my child suffered febrile (fever) seizures when he was under 3. No parent deserves to ever see their child convulsing on the ground. He just lay there staring out into space, convulsing for about 20 minutes til the ambulance arrived. They had to inject him with steroids (I think) to get him out of it and it seemed like forever til the convulsions stopped. I thought he was going to die. THAT is why parents freak out over fevers. It could happen to anyone. Before it happened, I brought him to the doc and was told he just has a virus...just give tylenol as recommended and return in a few days if he is not better. Well, that didn't work. Although it was "just a virus," the fever shot up so rapidly, it caused the febrile seizures – despite the fact that I was attempting to control his fever. Yes, in the vast majority of cases, this won't happen. But I am tired of being given advice to NOT bring my kids in unless this or that. If I am worried, I am bringing them in. Plus, telling people their kids "just have a virus" dimishes people's perception of how dangerous they could be. They could be deadly – and I don't agree with all these generic recommendations lately.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      I agree. Not your kid – not your business! You'd pay a hell of a lot more in a lawsuit if a kid died and the parents sued you because they didn't take the kid simply because you told them to stop taking their kids in so often!

      February 28, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • Edwin


      I am very sorry for your loss.

      February 28, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • Justamom

      So what? It's not really your business PAPilot. Life happens, that's why you get health insurance. Yes, some people overuse the ER, but every time I've called my oncall ped, if it can't wait until morning, they tell me to go to the ER. Unless you know every little detail of your employee's personal life, though, you're probably missing something. I've gotten some stupid comments about how I watch my child's health, and she has severe medical issues which aren't obvious to the casual observor.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
    • Justamom

      Oh, and my kid is one of those who doesn't run much of a fever, yet can still be really, really sick. Like the time she had such a bad stomach virus she ended up on an IV–fever never topped 100.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
    • collins61

      @Nordeen; When someone else is paying the freight, it's their business. Underlying issues and all. I bet the visits would be fractional were the paranoid parents responsible for the costs.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Other side of the same kook coin;
      New Age wackos and ill-educated soccer moms are also part of the lunatic fringe who think vaccinations are harmful. No wonder children are at risk and no wonder the medical community is so frustrated with these luddite nitwits.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
    • sockpuppet

      oh my lord, Bryan, your post shook the hell outta me. I am so sorry. What was actually wrong with your child, as I assume your little one didn't die from just a fever?

      February 28, 2011 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      I think what PA is saying is this employee was over reacting. If you don't like what he thinks, well, who cares. I"m not a parent, and one of your repliers just asked, what price do you put on a kids health? Well, if it starts effecting me in a way that I can no longer afford to do anything, or run my buisness, then yes, I can put a price on that child head. What makes that childs life more important than other peoples? How about you parents get over YOURSELVES, you seem to think that your kid is everyones responsibility, and the simple fact is, I don't care about your kid.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Nova EMT...in all fairness, as a physician that has done more than my fair share of rotations at a level I trauma center, if you went only with MI, stroke, trauma, acute abdomen, PE, etc., you would have a whole heck of a lot of resources sitting around doing nothing. Again, even at one of the busiest level I trauma centers in the US, the majority of the night is not spent managing those issues. And, to be honest, from an ER perspective, most MI's can be handled in a matter of minutes. Same with stroke. The majority of the rest of the night... middle aged individual with a belly ache, ankle that has been hurting for three weeks, flank pain that 9.5 out of 10 times is not a stone or pyelo, headache that 99 out of 100 times is not a subarachnoid, the frequent drug seeker, etc. Those are a greater waste of resources and far more timely than some poor kid with a fever. No, there isn't a need to rush a kid to the ER with a low-grade fever. Then again, that is far cheaper and far less labor intensive than the middle aged woman with IBS that is going to get a pap, CT, lipase, GB ultrasound, and abe discharged with some anti-emetics. The 3 year old...1.5 minutes in the room, no extra exams other than a quick look in the eyes/ears/nose/throat, and off with some tylenol and peace of mind for a worried parent. Again, not condoning the frequent trips to the ER for a fever, but the simple fact is that you take out all of the unnecessary trips tot he ED and all the resultant unnecessary tests, kid with a fever is about the most benign there is in terms of tying up resources and, even at that, kids in the ED aren't the ones typically causing 3-4 hour waits in the ED.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • Summer819

      Not saying it was the case here, but my infant has had one low grade fever (below 100) that was the result of an ear infection. A second bout of extreme fussiness for days with NO fever that was also an ear infection. A lot of moms know when something isn't right with their child and a fever (no matter how high or low) isn't necessarily a good indicator.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • speedro

      Do you work for an insurance company?

      February 28, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
    • Power surging thru life

      PAPilot -Thank you for keeping an eye on the costs of Medical use-age/insurance. So many people have the illiterate opinion that it's my coverage and I'll do what I want. Somebody is always paying for your 'free' medical coverage/policy. If we were more educated and used the available services wisely we would not be taking a child to the ER for a runny nose when an Immediate Care facility, clinic or your own doctor's office is available. Working in a Doctor's office, I KNOW people who will wait thru several days of symptoms and on Friday night take their child to the ER room because they 'didn't want to bother the doctor during the week but became a little worried when facing the weekend.' USE your brains people!

      February 28, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • kelly

      no doubt.......you don't pay for insurance to over dose your kids on drugs unnecessarily and waste hospitals time...besides you are more likely to get sick in a hospital than our of one......low grade fevers are not worth a visit to the hospital at all......if people spent more time understanding the body and how it is designed to work, we would have less illness in this country......a fever is the body's job....it is the body's TYLENOL......you want the fever to kill the bug.....lower the fever, allow the bug to live AND mutate.....no wonder we have so many super bugs.....

      February 28, 2011 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
  2. rita

    $10,000? are you kidding? i find that hard to believe- who was he? Jim Dugger?

    February 28, 2011 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      @Rita: Considering that you can't set foot in the average ED for less than $500 and many fairly simple things (e.g. minor fractures) go north of $1,000, I think $10,000 is not the least bit surprising.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
    • Walker

      Yeah hate to break it to you but that is probably 3-4 visits which is common in 1 year if you have more than 1 kid.
      We took my son who was 7 months at the time into the emergency and he had to have surgery (essentially cutting a boil out next to his anus) – $10,000. One visit. Happens quick.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:13 | Report abuse |
    • MrCroup

      Try having an asthma attack during a cold when your normal asthma meds are least effective. Go to the emergency room because you arent getting enough oxygen and your normal albuterol nebulizer isn't enough. To give you an idea of how bad the attack was, after taking my O2 levels the nurse called for oxygen with a slightly panicked look in her eyes. I was immediately rushed back to a room and put on constant DuoNeb (ipratropium bromide and albuterol) for the next hour and given a nice big dose of Prednisone. Total bill, including a prescription for prednisone regimen for me to fill, $1600. $1200 for the emergency room and "supplies/meds", $200 for the emergency room Doc, $200 for the xray of my chest. That was AFTER insurance set the rate and was the amount owed due to my company policy having a high deductable (it was $3000+ prior to insurance negotiated rate kicking in). My choices at 3am? This or death from an asthma attack. Medical prices in the US are out of control.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Justamom

      Oh, I believe it. Just got my EOB for my daughter's recent ER visit. Granted, it included a CAT scan, but that part was only $500. The rest is going pretty far north of that–we haven't got all of it in yet!

      February 28, 2011 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Yeah, prices are out of control in the USA because so many people are sue happy. Guy goes in, if he doesn't get treatment, he dies. But he does get treatment, but the doctor made a mistake that results in an infection or something, the guys life is saved, but he has to deal with this horrible infection, so he sues the doctor. That guy, along with many others, are all losers, costing everone. I can understand some mistakes being sued for, but not for others. Get that under control, and you will probably bring prices wayyyy down.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Another big, big problem with healthcare prices is the lack of insurance for 50 million and underinsurance for another several million. What happens with these folks? They can't afford their meds or visits to their PCP, their easily managed chronic illness causes complications, they go to the ED, get admitted to the wards or ICU, rack up five and six figure medical bills that, of course, will go unpaid. The hospital is forced to eat the lost revenue. A small part gets passed to the taxpayer, but most gets eaten by the hospital. As a result, the hospital must raise the cost of care for everyone which gets passed on to fewer and fewer insured, making insurance even more cost prohibitive. It's a vicious cycle called cost shifting. As long as there are 50 million uninsured you can never curb the rising cost of health care, it's a mathematical impossibility.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse |
    • KC_in_CA

      Just being seen in an ER costs at least $500. That's before any treatments, tests, etc.
      When you consider that the average child under 5 gets about one cold a month, then $10,000 for one panicky family in a year seems reasonable. I know plenty of parents who rush their child to the doctor for every sniffle, demand drugs for every runny nose, and think anything of 100 degrees might kill their child.

      February 28, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
  3. Chastings

    I only medicate if the fever is accompanied by a headache, sore throat, or is over 101 and the kids are too ill to feel like even drinking water. I have never come across a fever lasting long enough to prompt me to take them to the doctor for that sole purpose though, and I have 4 kids. No parent wants to see their child feeling sick, but viruses can't survive in elevated temperatures, and your body knows that...which is the reason for the fever. Its your body doing what needs to be done to kick out the invaders.

    February 28, 2011 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      I agree with this assessment. I recently took my son (Age 7) to the doctor for the first time because of fever, but it was in the 102.5 range for 4 days straight until we finally decided, "Ok, there is definitely something more serious here" and we took him in. The doctors examined him and decided that he needed to be tested for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Luckily, that wasn't it, but RMSF needs to be treated inside of 5 days. So my only caveat to this discussion is, if you get to 3 or 4 days of over 102, take some action. BTW, my 6 year old daughter has yet to go to the doctor due to fever alone.

      February 28, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      I took my daughter in late last year because she has a fever of over 103, was inconsolable, and projectile vomiting every few minutes. All they did was give her pedialyte (which I had already done). It cost us $75 for that 8oz cup of pedialyte. Not to mention that she wasn't even examined. The ER doctor said "It's going around, go home". She still had the fever the next day, so I called her pediatrician and he had me bring her in. He was furious that the ER doctor didn't examine her. She ended up on antibiotics for an infection.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:50 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      To be fair, randomized trials have shown that antibiotics really don't alter the course of an ear infection, yet many PCP's continue to prescribe.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Actually, the fever is a result of the actions of inflammatory cytokines. It's these cytokines and immune system cells that kill the virus, not the fever. It isn't that the virus can't survive in the higher temperature environment, it is that the virus is killed by the cells and factors that are causing the fever. The fever is nothing more than a side effect of an active immune system. Giving anti-pyretics such as Tylenol will not keep your immune system from ridding the virus and knocking down the fever won't delay the natural course of the infection. It will, however, make a fussy child feel better...that is the main thing you will get from knocking down a fever. Don't be afraid to break out the tylenol with a fever.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
  4. Tiffini S.

    The problem isn't parents. It's the doctors who, probably because of malpractice insurance, are afraid to tell us not to come in to be seen, even for the smallest thing. My son gets frequent ear infections. After his first set of tubes, they came back on. Even though I can spot an ear infection a mile away, my doctor refuses to let me have a prescription for him unless he's seen first. The only exception ever to that rule was once when they couldn't get my son in that day, and I said I'd rather take him to a minute clinic than to wait until the next day. THEN the doctor agreed to just call in the scrip and two days later, infection gone. Since then I've realized that this many visits is a scam, just to run up my urgent visit fees (conveniently not covered under insurance). My son needs a second set of tubes now, NOT diagnosed by his doctor, but I finally just called the specialist directly after the doctor poked my kid in the ear and made it bleed while checking them last time. I think we're going to be switching doctors soon.

    February 28, 2011 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jane B.

      Good choice, run don't walk away from this doctor. But, unfortunately most are this way. It has zero to do with malpractice and everything to do with money. It never changes as you get older, retired like I am, the scams from doctors are unbelievable. How about just one of them saying the truth. Some illnesses are endured, not cured, and going to the doc won't do a thing.

      February 28, 2011 at 08:04 | Report abuse |
    • Scott Lincoln

      Exactly. It's science.... so it's best guess. There is not a perfect answer to every illness nor is there a perfect set of symptoms that will always set apart a benign illness from something serious. People are so worried about passing around blame that it scares doctors and contributes to our rising medical costs and overuse of medications. But in reality we know that for us to have a near perfect probability of detection for series illnesses, we would need a debilitating false alarm rate and a near paranoia.

      February 28, 2011 at 08:07 | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      Be careful there. The treatment of frequent ear infections is trickier than just getting an anti-biotic every time. It's very important that your child receive continuity of care–meaning that he's seen by the same doctor or group each time so that there's an accurate record of when he was sick and exactly which medicine was prescribed. Going to multiple places to get medicine can actually create a bigger problem. He can develop drug-resistant strains of infection if he's incorrectly treated. Also, most ear infection, while painful, do resolve without medicine and should not always be treated with an anti-biotic. Anti-biotics are wonderful medicines, but we have to be careful to only use them when absolutely necessary and when a doctor determines that they're appropriate. Taking them too often creates drug-resistant bacterias. Also, some ear infections are caused by a virus. In that case, an anti-biotic won't work any way. It is best to go to the doctor. You don't have to continue seeing this one, but it's unfair to expect a doctor to just call in whatever drug you think you need.

      February 28, 2011 at 08:33 | Report abuse |
    • Jimj

      Rebecca is right, probably antibiotics weren't necessary, especially if it took two days to get better. Would have anyway. Lots of medical evidence most ear infections don't need antibiotics. They don't in Europe.

      As for giving meds without seeing you... Not a scam, but yes, part financial (sick visits help pay the overhead; many pediatricians work 60+ hours a week and lucky to clear $85,000 a year, nothing to complain about but many come out with $250,000 med school loans and spent 7 years training after college, compared to dermatologists, eye, etc that make $400,000 first year out) and definitely part malpractice... Can you imagine a mechanic giving you advice on how to fix the car over the phone? *anything* goes wrong and a lawyer will shred you in this country that sues for anything!

      February 28, 2011 at 08:47 | Report abuse |
    • lauralou

      I totally agree with Jimj. Also, please take in to consideration that doctors are making their living off of seeing patients. If you were seeing an attorney, they would charge you an hourly rate for their work. Why should a doctor be any different? Giving away free medical advice and calling in a script just because a patient thinks they need one doesn't earn them anything.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:05 | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      I am a pediatrician, I love my job, the kids are the best in the world, but some parents are...um...trying. Tt is no scam to require a visit prior to giving meds, it is called good care. The vast majority of all illnesses do not need antibiotics anyway, and parents who try to insist on them over the phone are putting their child in danger. As a nation, it is this drive towards overtreating that will, through the evolution of bacterial resiscance, soon become a massive public health rishk as well.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:06 | Report abuse |
    • CWW

      The problem is not "the doctors." A lot of times patients, especially parents of sick kids, have unrealistic expectations. Of course you don't want to see your kid sick, but "sick" to a parent and "sick" to a physician are two different things. It is especially frustrating when parents with no medical knowledge want to completely direct the plan of care. If you know what your kid needs, and why, then stay home and treat them yourself!

      I work in a busy ER, seeing up to 50 patients in a 12 hour shift. I saw 40 patients last night, and approximately 10 of them actually needed emergency care. 15-20 of the rest were kids with a fever, or a cough for one hour, or those who had already seen/called their doctor and been put on appropriate medicines already. Of those who hadn't been seen by their primary physician, they had not even so much as given a tylenol before bringing their baby out into the snow at 3am to "get checked out."

      It is true that some physicians are better than others– please remember that we specialize for a reason. If your kid has ear tubes twice, and continues to get infections, he needs a specialist each time. BTW, do you smoke? Even "not around the kids" or "only outside?" Did you know that that is the most common denominator in kids getting recurrent ear infections?

      It is nice to lay blanket blame on all of us super-rich physicians who only care about stealing your money and those of us who are quacks for refusing to give percocet for a bruise. Please remember that we are working very hard for a living and it took over 10 years of education and training to learn what we know. If you can do better, go to medical school yourself. Oh, and then don't get paid to do your work.

      nally, if all people had the common sense that you seem to possess on this issue, i might be out of a job. please remember, it does not take any kind of education or training to procreate.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse |
    • JustMe

      It may be aggravating but doctors really cannot call in a prescription for antibiotics every time a parent says they need one. I worked at a doctor's office and there are FAR too many parents that want an antibiotic for every little thing Janey and Johnny come down with. They want an antibiotic when the kid has a 99.1 temp, they want them when they have a simple cold. They even ask for them when the kid has a stomach virus! We already have enough problems with resistant strains, we don't need docs handing out antibiotics on a parent's say-so over the phone.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      Ugh-ear infections. Our son had 8 ear infections in 8 months and we literally had to beg our pediatrician for a referral to an ENT. The audiologist said his hearing tests were similar to those of an almost deaf child. All of this after the pediatrician threw that "they don't even treat them in Europe" line at us. I'm not saying all doctors are like this, but sometimes Mom and Dad just know that something is wrong. It shouldn't take months of being sick, followed by surgery, followed by months of speech therapy to get the point across. It's so amazing to me that doctors still poo-poo Mom's intuition. Having said all this-I agree that not every fever needs to be treated...but it requires give and take between parents and peds.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
    • elle

      When my daughter was 18 months old, she threw up in the late afternoon and started running a fever - which was 101 when I got her to the doctor (who met us at the office at 6:00 p.m.) He wasn't alarmed; examined her, said "rest , fluids and a baby Tylenol. I brought her home and was rocking her to sleep when she went into a full-on febrile seizure. The most terrifying thing I had ever seen. When I saw she wasn't breathing, I gave her mouth-to mouth while calling 911. (My husband was completely paralyzed with fright.) Suddenly she started breathing again and crying; she turned back to pink immediately. When the paramedics got there they said, "she's fine but you had better sit down." I guess I was in a state of shock; it felt like a nightmare. The ambulance took us to the ER, sirens blaring, where they told me her fever was 105.1. They told me that it is the the speed of the fever spiking, rather than the height of the fever itself that triggers those febrile seizures in some babies' brains. They told me it would not hurt her, as scary as it was, and she had an EEG anyway, which was normal. They put her on Phenobarbital, but I didn't like the spacey way that made her behave and took her off it a short time later. (Now, doctors usually recommend against Phenobarbitol.) But I had to be vigilant and get that acetominophen into her the moment I sensed a fever starting. They usually happen until the baby is about four years old. I worried, what if she's at school or visiting a friend? She's 31 years old now, and I still remember that fright like it was yesterday. The same thing happened to my boss's baby daughter uears later. A fever can be serious - when I was a baby I used to run extremely high fevers, no seizures (that we know of) and no harm done.....I always wondered though, what if I had just put my daughter into her crib and left the room before the seizure began? 99% of the time they start breathing again themselves - or they don't ever stop breathing at all. But my daughter was not breathing until I gave her those three quick puffs.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
    • dom625

      The reason that the doctor insists on an office visit first is to ensure that your child has an infection that requires antibiotics. A huge factor behind antibiotic resistance lies with the doctors who would call in meds anytime a parent demanded it. So it's not necessarily about money, it's about examining your child to determine the best method of treatment.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
    • MNmom

      My son also has chronic ear infections and has also had tubes. Yeah, it's a hassle to bring him in every time and pay co-pays, but I would do it any day of the week. Yes, I am his mom and I know when he's sick. I can tell when he has an ear infection. But I am no doctor. I want my son to have the best care possible, and that takes a doctor's help to accomplish. Aside from Tylenol and Motrin, I give my son nothing unless a doctor has recommended it or prescribed it. I would never want to give him anything that he doesn't need. I would not want him to build up immunity to antibiotics. There have been ear infections he has gotten over without medicine. Yeah, it makes for a crappy week with a crabby child, but that's what being a mom is about. Sometimes there is no quick fix. Sometimes we have to just grin and bear it because in the end, it's what's best for our kids.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • GaryMc

      The problem is too many lawers!

      February 28, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • MNmom

      Also, in regards to your child's ear bleeding...It probably had nothing to do with the doctor at all. The instruments they use to look inside the ear cannot actually reach the ear drum. I would bet that your child experienced a ruptured membrane, which is not uncommon in kids with chronic ear infections, especially when enough fluid and pressure build up behind the tympanic membrane. My son also had this happen, though it happened at home. There was blood and fluid draining from his ear for about a week, and he was in a fair amount of pain. It took a while to heal, but on the bright side, it helped to drain all that crud from his ear.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      So since you can recognize an ear infection and demand a prescription, the doctor should trust you without looking in that child's ears. If that child instead has meningitis, I am pretty sure when that doctor says on the stand, "But his mom swore it was an ear infection," wont work. If you want a prescription, you have to come to my office so I can examine the patient. The way it is

      February 28, 2011 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Jane B...sorry, but your ignorance astounds me. We could discuss the efficacy of antibiotics in ear infections, the liability and accreditation issues with just calling in scripts without seeing a patient, the absolutely absurd claim that physician salaries are in any way the driving force behind health care costs (that one was really worth a chuckle!), your misguided and misdirected belief that doctors are "scamming" the public, or the exact scientific, medical reasons why you feel, sight unseen, that this particular physician was inappropriate in their interaction with this patient, but it would be a futile effort on my part. You have a distorted and terribly misguided set of beliefs and biases that are unsubtantiable and, no matter how I try, it would be an exercise in futility trying to educate you. Physician salaries the reason for rising cost of care? Get pregnant, have a baby...10-12k for your hospital, a few thousand for all of your prenatal care, deliver, and postnatal care. Go stay in the a week at about $7K a day and a couple hundred for the visit from the intensivist. Unbelievably naive post.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
  5. Working parent

    Well, the real problem I see with these low grade fevers is that the daycare won't accept a child there with the slightest hint of a fever. First, they call you in the middle of the day, and you have to rush the child out of there- and your boss isn't too happy. Then, you have to keep him home the next day- another day missing work. Problem is, if it's contagious, they already passed it on. If not, it's just wasted sick time, and the daycare still charges you as if they are there. Sometimes I think they call in the fever card so that they don't have to have so many kids around.

    February 28, 2011 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aghast

      TOO TRUE – I have said that as well

      February 28, 2011 at 08:01 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Your kid. Your problem.

      Having kids means having to take days off work to deal with them while sick. It's the way it works.

      February 28, 2011 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      The real problem here is employers. We don't give people enough sick time or time off to care for sick dependents. Because I work part-time I'm not protected by the FMLA. If my child is sick twice in four months, I could lose my job. Now that so many of us can work from home part of the time, there's no excuse in being so strict for this kind of situation.

      February 28, 2011 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      As a former daycare provider and then kindergarten teacher, I can't tell you how many times parents sent their kids to school knowing full well that they were sick. The parents shoved them in the door and then a bit later the kids would say something about having a fever or throwing up that morning. Working people make our country great, but intentionally sending your child out to infect maybe 20 other kids just so you can get in your day of work is very selfish, not to mention how much the sick child would rather be at home in bed.

      February 28, 2011 at 08:52 | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      My question is "Why would you even want to leave your child in someone else's care when they are sick?" Isn't that part of our role as parents to care for our sick children? Daycare centers have a responsibility to minimize the spread of disease/infection as much as possible. The first piece of that puzzle is responsible parenting. If my child is sick with anything more than the common cold, he should be at home recuperating, not continuously infecting the other children. I used to work in a daycare center and there were constantly parents trying to drop off sick kids by covering up the fever/sickness with a dose of Tylenol in the morning. I guess they were trying to buy themselves a few extra hours before they got the afternoon sick call for pick-up. I understand about working/bosses, as I work full-time and also hate to call out for sick kids. But, my children are my first priority.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:03 | Report abuse |
    • Working Mom

      I previously worked in a daycare center and there were constantly people trying to drop off sick kids and babies after giving them Tylenol just so they could go to work. If your kid needs medicine to function at a normal level, they should not be at daycare/school. The typical policy for sending a child home with a fever depends on the age of the child and the severity of the temperature. The temp is usually taken several times over the course of an hour or more to see if it is getting worse/better. Also, if the child requires additional care (more than normal), that is a qualifier for calling the parents. It's a combination of identifiable factors that necessitate a sick call, not just a means of getting rid of a few kids for the afternoon.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
    • michelle

      so true! I believe that daycare is driving this trend and there needs to be a culture shift in child care. I actually toured a day care last week that told me, not only does she need to be out for 24 hrs without a fever but she also needs a drs. note to come back!! I can't remember the last time I took my daughters temp even when she has felt warm. It is the WORST indicator of how ill she is.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • StlMelz

      There is a balance to the daycare issue. Our before and after school care can be a little too sensative about what they perceive as an illness that requires the child to be picked up. I understand they don't want things spread around anymore than absolutely necessary. At the same time they must reallize that by the time symptoms show up the child will have been contagious for 24-48 hours prior to those symptoms. The schools don't send children home unless they have a temp at 100 or more. Daycare facilities should adopt a similar rule.

      Along with that our daughter can be a little bit of a drama queen and learned early in life that she gets more attention when she's sick or injured. So she plays every little thing as life threatening to see if she can get a little more sympathy. She is definitely her grandmother's granddaughter! LOL!

      February 28, 2011 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
    • Shay

      Are all you people that complain about us working mothers 'just trying to squeeze in work time' and being 'selfish' with going to work when our kids are sick have trust funds set up!? I am a single mother trying to make ends meet in this crappy economy and simply cannot AFFORD to take off work when my son has a common cold. If he is running a constant fever, extremely congested and feeling miserable then yes I need to take off work but my employer still requires a doctors excuse so I do not lose my job, therefore I NEED to take my son in to his primary doctor or a walk in clinic. Making sure my baby has food on the table is a tad more important than playing stay at home mommy when he has a cough.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      You are absolutely right. The daycare industry fuels the fever frenzy by refusing to let a child come in even with a low grade temperature. I know my daughters and daughter in law have had to take their kdis to the doctor over colds and minor things when they normally wouldn't have, because it is costing them time from work. They are very compelled to do SOMETHING to get those fevers down ASAP. And if that means unnecessary antibiotics or tylenol or whatever, then so be it.

      February 28, 2011 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      I've never met a "Kate" who wasn't a complete idiot.

      "Your kid, your problem"? That's BS. We don't pay daycare for nothing! Should I just wire you a few hundred bucks so you can NOT babysit while I work?

      February 28, 2011 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Shay, I agree completely! Parents, especially single mothers and fathers, can't be expected to stay home from work for every little sniffle – especially they way things get passed around in daycare! For the love of Heaven, feeding them and keeping a roof over their heads is our first priority, period! Serious illness = stay home. Otherwise, I gotta work! Unless the daycare wants to pay my bills, then sure, I'd love to stay home.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Kate...agreed...daycares tend to be a bit naive and reactionary in their policies. What are you gonna do?

      February 28, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      while i was working in a daycare the rule was fever of 101 the child should go home and had to be fever free for 24hours before returning. As long as your child doesn't looks sick or acting sick we don't care/check, but if your child is upset and miserable, yes will check. if your child is around 99 or 100 we call you so if you want you can make arrangements to get them before they hit 101 and not be allowed back the next day. If they hit 101 we call so you can start making arrangements for the next day since they can't come back for 24 hours. you didn't have to come get them right away. most of the time we would take out their bed and let them lay down in the book center.
      some children if fevers are a common thing(teething, ear infection,etc.) if we have a Dr. note saying we can give them something we do that and see if it goes down. The only time you had to get your child right away was if they hit 104.

      February 28, 2011 at 21:13 | Report abuse |
  6. Aghast

    Tiffini S. speaks true...the whole healthcare system is a scam. we have full healthcare coverage on our kids, but darn it if we ever seem to meet our deductable. We are always paying in and for what? so a "professional" can bill us, just to tell us that "there is nothing they can do...go home and give your (Son/Daughter) some infant / childrens Motrin, or Tylenol?

    February 28, 2011 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rob

      If you believe our medical system is a scam, you are free to drop your insurance and not participate in the scam. That is the beauty of our country; we are free human beings.

      February 28, 2011 at 08:47 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      If the doctor keeps telling you that all your kid needs is rest and maybe a Tylenol... then maybe the doctor is RIGHT. It's quite possible that you're begging for a cure to the common cold every dang time. By the way, it doesn't exist.

      For basic colds, you just need to wait it out. Drink plenty of fluids, stay warm, and believe it or not, do some mild cardio exercise! It actually helps!

      But seriously, what do you expect a doctor to do? Wave a magic wand and make the head-cold go away? Speed up your kid's immune system? Put your child on life support because he has a sniffle? Come on, WHAT? Doctors know the difference between mild colds that will get better on their own (read: MOST of them) and serious illnesses that need intervention. If your doctor is telling you to bring the kid home and give him a Tylenol... then that's probably because you're getting worked up over nothing.

      Here's a checklist:
      Is the fever over 102.5F? Has the fever lasted more than three days? Has the fever been accompanied by severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, respiratory distress (no, not a cough, but serious trouble breathing), disorientation, or a rash? Has the patient been unable to keep water down for more than 12 hours? Has the patient been unable to keep food down for more than 48 hours? Has the patient displayed any acutely troubling symptoms such as difficulty urinating, coughing up blood, difficulty walking, or trouble balancing?

      If you've answered yes to any of those questions, THEN you should go to urgent care or the ER. Anything less than that... drink some orange juice, pop a lozenge, take a Tylenol for your headache, and stop whining.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:32 | Report abuse |
    • MoreAghast

      I am a pediatrician, and I understand a parent's frustration when they take time off from work to bring their child to an appointment, wait in the waiting room and then are told to give fluids, rest, and fever reducers.

      Be thankful though if their illness is "just a virus" that will "run its course". I know parents hate hearing this, but it is preferable to us telling you the 5 days of high fever and rash is Kawasaki's disease or the 1 day of fever and rash is meningococcal menigitis or Rocky Mountan Spotted Fever, or the cough and fever is a severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization and so on.

      I see mostly common colds, stomach viruses, etc in the office, but I cannot diagnose everythng over the phone and I will not prescribe antibiotics over the phone–it is inappropriate and poor practice. I am thankful that I only have to put 1 or 2 children in the hospital in a busy week for more severe illnesses.

      Pediatricians went into to the field because we enjoy caring for children. If we wanted to make a lot of money, we would have chosen another specialty.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Yeah, we're all "free human beings" until the decide to pass a healthcare bill that fines us if we can't afford to pay for insurance.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Amy...here is the problem...if you aren't insured, you are costing your neighbor, your coworker, me, my neighbor, everyone. You get sick, you have a catastrophic illness, you go to the hospital and rack up a six figure medical bill. You chose not to participate in the shared pool of payers known as insured and now you have a bill that will NEVER get paid. Instead, the hospital eats the cost and raises the cost of care for everyone to recover lost revenue. That means my insurance premiums, deductibles, and copays rise so I can even pay more for the next time you get sick. It's not about personal freedoms when it impacts every other individual.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Aghast....I am sorry to be frank, but no, Tiffani is not right nor are you, in any fashion. You and Tiffany possess a bias based on a misperception and a perspective that erroneously leads to your belief, but that doesn't make them true.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
  7. lmom

    The first time my child was ill was at 2 1/2 years. She had a febrile seizure and stopped breathing. She had an ear infection. Now whenever she has a fever, it spikes and she gets nausea. Different kids respond differently to illness. If i feel she needs to see a Dr. to rule out a treatable infection, i will take her.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      Agreed. My son is prone to febrile seizures that leave him exhausted. We treat his 101 fevers like they're 104s. This article has a good point but you have to consider each child differently.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Ditto. I have a child who has seizures due to fevers. Even 99.9 has triggered them on occasion.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • Lovemykids

      Agreed. My child has had several inexplicable seizures. They were not febrile seizures but they were full on convulsive seizures. My pediatrician is now very aggressive in treating any illness for fear that his risk of a febrile seizure is greater given his pre-existing seizure disorder. He does not prescribe antibiotics at every visit...quite the contrary, we've been given antibiotics once in the past 6 or 7 visits and those were ear drops because my son has tubes and they were draining green. However, I will continute to bring him to the dr when I feel a visit is warranted.

      February 28, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
  8. AJP

    Although, I agree with the basic message in this article. I am also a parent of a child who has had and continues to have febrile seizures. These type of seizures can happen with a fever as low as 100.5. So although as parents we do tend over-react to fevers to use what this article says a reasons to just blow off all low-grade fevers as no big deal.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      Your kid is not the norm. Your kid is the exception.

      The large marjoity of kids have never had febrile seizures-and this information applies to them. Not you and your kid.

      February 28, 2011 at 08:33 | Report abuse |
    • AJP

      @Kate....I understand my kid is not the norm, but this article doesn't even address the possibility of febrile seizures. Considering 1 in 25 kids has atleast one febrile seizure, it is not uncommon either.

      Besides how can you say this information only applies to 'normal' children when you have no clue if your kid may or may not have a seizure. There is nothing abnormal about the child until it happens.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Wow, Kate. You're a bitter, horrible person. Nothing but nastiness here.

      I agree that a lot of kids have them. One of mine has them. My father had them. My aunt had them. Several friends from school had them. They're more common than you think, and they can come on even in kids who have never had them before.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Hate to stereotype here, but I get the distinct impression that Kate is an unmarried, childless "old maid" and really bitter about it. She will probably deny it, but based on what I am reading and the tenor of her posts, that is the distinct impression I get and, if I am accurate, unfortunately I can appreciate why she is in that state.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
  9. sarah

    if people didn't run to their lawyers everytime a doctor did something they didn't like, the doctors wouldn't ask you to come in for every little thing. it wastes their time also!

    people forget that doctors are people, who need money to survive. they usually employ an office staff they have to pay also. so yes money is always invovled. but most doctors woun't ask you to come in unless necessary. people take advantage and then yell foul play themselves.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. OhRatts

    Here's another good tip – don't read poorly written internet articles to learn how to care for your child.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MsAledella


      February 28, 2011 at 08:48 | Report abuse |
  11. Jodi Martin

    Dr’s should tell parent keep a log when your child is sick. Write down the time you took the temperature, the temperature and the dose of what and when you give it to your child. After a few days you won’t remember these things and it’s very important when you do take your child to the Dr’s office.

    My son at the age of 12 maintained a temp of 102-104 for 10 days and the doctors still insisted it was viral. They instructed me to give him cool baths and rotate Tylenol and Motrin to keep his fever down in the 102 range. Phenomena followed, than SJS (Stephen Johnsons Syndrome) and a 7 day stay in ICU. Fevers can go airy and the Dr's dismiss the fever too quickly. I wasn't a parent to rush to the Dr's with every sniffle and parent need to be aware fevers can be very dangerous. Over 102 is a sick child and needs to be monitored not passed off as a "just a virus" and over an over acting parent.

    You will always have those who take advantage of health insurance especially State Welfare Insurance.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. gh

    My 8 year old daughter recently had a fever that lasted at least 5 days. By day 4 with it reaching about 103.5, I took her to the doctor. She had no other symptoms, so that's why I held off for a while. I have become pretty good at spotting strep, but this didn't seem to be the case. Turns out, she had an ear infection. She didn't have any pain associated with it. It was also carried over from the previous month when she was diagnosed with one (again with no pain). I didn't treat her with antibiotics since there wasn't any pain and I thought it might clear up on its own. I guess it didn't! She hates to take medicine of any kind (makes her gag and puke), so I try not to medicate her if at all possible. I take my kids in to see the doctor when I feel they need to be seen. Fortunately, my kids are pretty healthy so I don't have to take them in often and when they are sick, it's pretty obvious.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Doctor scam

    For the all the parents who think doctors are scamming them and are the problem there is a simple solution....Don't bring your kid to the doctor. Just keep your kids at home and treat them yourselves since you obviously know more than the doctor.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RationalOne

      Idiot. Stay at home yourself next time.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse |
  14. nally

    Parents should trust their gut feelings. They know their child better than any doctor ever could. If he has a fever, keep him home and keep him comfortable. Keep the liquids flowing to ward off dehydration, and exercise common sense. Obviously, if the fever is high and persists several days, bring him in to rule out anything unusual. I agree that many rush their kids to the doctor for many illnesses that can be successfully treated at home. Over the summer, my 3 year old spiked a crazy high temperature (104) one night. I went to the pharmacy, picked up some tylenol and motrin, and asked the pharmacist about dosing instructions. He freaked out, told me that the child should go to the ER. I didn't take him in, just gave him a cold bath, and the OTC meds brought the fever down and he was fine. Just goes to show that often our body knows what it's doing and fevers don't always need the intervention of a dr.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jeff S

    I personally only take medicine if I cannot sleep or eat. I would rather my body learn to fight off illness on its own as much as possible instead of relaying on meicine.

    February 28, 2011 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. bumble

    A fever could be nothing. Or it could be leukemia.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pazke

      And leukemia will not get diagnosed in the ER in the middle of the night. That's not the ER doc's job. The ER doc's job is to treak emergent situations. If your child has a persistent low grade fever then he needs to be evaluated by his regular physician and possibly referred to a specialist.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Actually, Pazke, acute leukemia WILL be diagnosed in the ER in the middle of the night. It happens all the time at the hospital where I work. Wanna know how? Somebody comes in because what they thought was a cold has led to extreme fatigue and other nebulous symptoms. The ER doc sends in the nurse to draw a blood sample to get a basic CBC (Complete Blood Count). The blood sample gets sent up to the lab. Less than a half-hour later, they have the results of that blood test. Leukemia patients will have an insanely high white blood cell count with abnormal WBC's. They call in a medical technologist and an oncologist, get a bone marrow sample, and within a couple of hours, they've pinpointed the exact type of leukemia. The diagnosis is fast, and treatment begins almost immediately.

      Suggestion: Don't talk about things you know nothing about.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
    • pazke

      Leo, "all" the time? Maybe they should check the water where you live. All of that could could also have been taken care of in the morning with the regular physician at far less cost and inconvenience to the family. That's my point. AND you said these patients had extreme fatigue and other "nebulous symptoms" We are talking about low grade fever. Don't tell me what you think I know and don't know.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Actually, Pazke, it happens more often than you might think. In a child, a leukemia or lymphoma might have a doubling time that is so aggressive that once you start having overt symptoms, you might be passed the point of critical mass in which treatment cannot and must not be delayed even by a matter of hours. In fact, I had a kid with a low grade fever and a little shortness of breath that could have been passed off as a simple viral infections, but there were other issues that clued me in to something potentially more acute and resultant workup showed a huge mass in his mediastinum...T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia. Straight to peds hem/onc for eval and tx. You could almost see this thing growing it's doubling time was so rapid. Another 12-16 hours could have killed this kid. An infiltrative leukemia can cause life-threatening issues suddenly in a child and require emergent therapy. Not "all the time" but more often than we would like to miss. Again, simple low grade fever isn't an ER problem, but the fact of the matter is, there are a whole helluva lot more egregious abuses of the ER than some kid with a fever, believe me.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
  17. raisin mountaineer

    Our 10-day old had a fever, and spent the next two months in the hospital with a staph infection. Fortunately, no long-term effects, and today he is a healthy five-year-old. We were told that what saved him (really) was that the minute we noticed he was hot, we took him to the doctor, and he was in the hospital on antibiotics within two hours of the fever first presenting. So what this article said is right: in a very young child, take action quickly.

    That said, his rare fevers now are soon gone and don't require much in the way of treatment.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pazke

      The article states that children younger than three months should be seen regardless. Anytime a 10-day old has a fever they need to be seen right away. A two year old with a low grade fever can wait until morning.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
  18. RationalOne

    This article is stupid. My friend's 13 year old had a fever and she thought it was nothing. The next day she had to be life flighted and is still in intensive care with liver and kidney failure after a ui got into her bloodstream. Better safe than sorry. I'd like to see whoever decided to post this nonsense explain to parents who have lost a child how it 'seemed to make sense to them at the time'. Stupid irresponsible tripe from CNN. Journalism in America is dead. Long live FOX.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • common sense

      It's highly unlikely that with renal failure, the fever was the only symptom. I think this article is just saying that if your child has a fever, and doesn't exhibit any other abnormal symptoms there may be no need to rush them to a doctor.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:03 | Report abuse |
    • RationalOne

      She wasn't complaining of pain, but was acting delirious so they took her in. By the time they got there she was becoming unresponsive, they tested and found the level of infection and acted immediately. If they had waited to see overnight, I'd be planning to go to a funeral right now.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Oh my God, Fox? You absolutely, positive, unequivocally must be joking, right? As an aside, if this child was septic, a simple fever was almost certainly not her only symptom. You don't develop sepsis to the point of developing prerenal azotemia in a 13 year old without being pretty ill...orthostasis, tachycardia, anoliguria...very, very unlikely that she had a little bit of a fever and maybe some urinary frequency and/or dysuria as her only symptom.

      Fox? Fox? Again, wow.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
  19. Tammy

    There is one cavat here. Sometimes a fever does indicate a serious problem, and ER physicians seem to just write it off as "it's only a fever." My 3 year old went to the ER once (after our peds dr sent us there) and the ER physician chastised my husband and I for taking our child in. Actually, our son had Kawasaki's disease which can cause heart damage quickly if left untreated. Luckily we called our peds office, and they intervened. We do not have a hx of rushing our child to the ER or the dr, but sometimes parents are the best judge of when there is something really wrong.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pazke

      You should be mad at your pediatrician for sending you to the ER. ER docs do not have the kind of training or the time to evaluate for such diseases.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      An ER physician should always have Kawasaki's in his/her differential. The role of the ED is to exclude the life-threatening and Kawasaki's is one of the classics that you get all the way through medical school. Most of my colleagues that are ED docs would have this in their differential and be able to exclude immediately by the lack of the tall-tale signs. An ER doc goes in with the mindset "what is going to kill the patient" and recognizing Kawasaki's is one of those that many, at least in any urban and/or university associated facility would recognize, or at least should.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
  20. guy

    The last sentence says it all....go with your gut...you as a parent know when your weee one's behaviour has changed if they're running a temp. In our house it was: if our weee ones had a temp and we gave them something to reduce it and if it didnt drop, we'd give them a cool bath to help drop the temp...in two days if the fever rose or was still present it was off to the doctors...no fooling around. A child's temp can spike vey quickly. And some time they may have a low-grade temp you wouldn't know it unless you could check the temp.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Ken

    The same thing goes for adults. Instead of reaching for the aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. when you are running an ordinary run of the mill fever you should just let yourself run the fever. It's just your body fighting off the infection. By taking these medications you are just making it harder for your body to do its job and prolonging the illness.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RationalOne

      Please feel free to do this at your earliest convenience Ken. Darwin's Law will see you though.

      February 28, 2011 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
    • common sense

      RationalOne, I do this all the time. And I'm completely healthy and I've never had a hospital stay in my life. That is actually a BETTER indication of Darwin's law. My body is equipped to handle a fever. If it wasn't, I'd be dead. Survival of the fittest; Natural Selection.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • Jaxin

      Actually, he is right. Using drugs to prevent fevers makes you feel better, but it's not helping you fight of the illness, and is in fact preventing the illness from being dealt with effectively...

      Not relying on drugs helps your body far more than running to drugs at the first sign of problems. That said, though, if it is serious/life threatening, you would be an idiot to refuse drugs. But if your life is not in danger, why take the drugs?

      February 28, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Jaxin...no, some tylenol or Ibuprofen are not going to curb the course of recovering from a simple viral infection. All it will do is act as an antipyretic, drop that fever, and make the child feel better. The disease will run its course exactly the same with or without the tylenol. Question is, do you want the child to feel better or not?

      February 28, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
  22. menigitis

    I will never get over the word fever. My daughter is now 27, but it will always be imprinted in my mind when I left my house for the drs. with her having a temp of 102. When I got there it was 105 They wrapped her in towels from a ice cube basin. Thank God my mother rode with me in the pouring rain to a major hosp. who could handle pedi emergencys.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RationalOne

    CNN is fast becoming a joke. Last week in a photo they blurred the faces of egyptians in a crowd behind Lara Logan. Why? Because they were afraid some random middle easterner would feel libeled by having his face associated with the story when the photo was obviously from a different day? Did they think he would find out, with all that's going on in Egypt mind you, and retain counsel? Then they post this crap telling parents not to take their kids to the doctor for a fever. Great job CNN. You are more afraid of random people from the middle east than you are of giving bad advice that could cost children their lives. Keep up the good work. Your time would be better spent thinking of excuses why you had to cancel Piers Morgan. You're gonna need them soon enough.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      The funniest joke of all...Fox. The most biased, least informative, least balanced joke of a media source to be found. My recommendation, if you don't like it here, go check out Fox. That will give you some perspective on a really useless media outlet.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
  24. RationalOne

    And I'm sure CNN will be all over the next story about parents that refused medical treatment for their child with cancer. That's the beauty of not having a soul, you can make money on both ends of a tragedy.

    February 28, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. StlMelz

    Interesting this information is being highlighted today. My husband is one to start shoveling in pain relievers at any little hint of elevated temp in our 6 year old. It never ceases to amaze me that after 4 children he is still such a worry wart! LOL! I am one to wait until it is over 101 before trying to reduce the fever for just the reasons outlined in this article. I have been battling a cold for a week and hubby wanted to pump fever-reducing meds into me over the weekend even though my temp never went over 100.4. Ah well, gotta love him.

    February 28, 2011 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Manolo

    My wife and daughter are ER registered nurses at major metropolitan hospitals. Their nights are spent dealing with countless people –especially mothers with children– who have minor illness that are "cured" with sleep and Motrin, which is what they get "prescribed" most often. Worse, they typically summon an ambulance to get their. Why? Because anything that people perceive as "free" will be abused. The people won't pay for a visit to a local doctor, so they go to the emergency room because they know that the hospitals cannot deny them care. These pointless visits cost about $600 each for the material and labor expended for the treatment, not counting the ambulance rides that cost about $400 per trip. My wife's hospital ER saw 80,000 patients last year, which cost the hospital about $50 million. Less than one percent were genuine emergencies and only 3.2 percent paid their bill. Most often, the federal government (your taxes) pays the tab through HHS grants to the states. Your local or state taxes typically pays the tab for the ambulance rides. Ironically, seeing this abuse of the health care system and the refusal of hospital management to take a stand against it is prompting many, many ER nurses to quit the ER field. The turnover rate is so high that an ER nurse with just 2 years of experience will probably be among the most senior nurses other than the charge nurse!

    February 28, 2011 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. JoeBlow

    Take your kids to the ER if you think they need to go. Deal with the rest afterwards. I'm not going to NOT take my kid because I'm busy playing Dr. Knowitall, and then regret it later.

    February 28, 2011 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Manolo

      I disagree. Take your kids to the ER if they are spurting or vomitting blood, can't breathe, have broken bone, or have a genuine emergency. A fever? No way. Take the child to a primary care physician. Rarely does a child with fever rate an ER visit. They would have to be going into seizures, respiratory failure or severe shock. Many people –especially parents–get upset because they go to the hospital ER, get triaged, and have to wait. Why do they have to wait? Because they don't have an emergency condition and ERs aren't "Health care Quickie Marts"! My wife and daughter are both ER nurses and they both tell me the question they always ask parents who bring their feverish kids in is, "What compelled you to bring your child to the ER at 3 a.m. when you could've gone to a doctor's office at 9 a.m.? What changed?" or "You've had this condition for how many weeks now and you're now coming to the ER at 2 a.m. to get it treated? What changed? Why didn't you go see a primary care physician? Why did you need to come in on an ambulance?" The ER staff are there for life and death emerencies and/or trauma. A child with a fever is rarely a priority.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
  28. Ihavetowashmyhair

    Manolo: I agree with you and the stats are astonishing. However, I would like to know your source for this information. I think educating parents and giving them some sort of way to ask questions would be a great way to reduce these visits to the ER. No one WANTS to be int he ER with a sick child for 7 hours. Especially if they have more than one child.

    February 28, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Manolo

      My wife and daughter are both ER nurses in two different cities. I'm a CPA who does contracted financial auditing at my wife's hospital. I actually see the numbers and do analysis between the financial management system and the performance reporting for the annual financial statement required by law.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • Manolo

      For non-emergencies, the smartest thing to do is call the ER first or, if your insurance company has one, call your health care provider question and answer hotline. They often have an on-duty nurse or doctor on the phone. For example, Blue Cross/Blue Shield has a hotline that you can talk to an RN. Legally, they'll always throw in the caveat to "See a doctor if the conditions persist." That doesn't mean "Go to the ER now at 2 a.m." It means use sound judgement. If it's a bona fide emergency, go to the ER. If it's not, then go to your primary care physician. I always tell people that in instances where there's no respiratory failure, chest pains, spurting blood, unconciousness, etc., then they should ask themselves, "Is it severe enough that I'm willing to pay cash for it?" before they go to the ER. Typically, they'll say, "I'll call the doctor in the morning." Also, the hospital ER is not reached through 911! These are emergency responders. They're trained to react after the panic button has been pushed, which means police, fire or rescue will respond. My wife and daughter both attest that an astounding number of people come to the hospital ER by using the ambulance as a bus service.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
  29. dave

    Starve a cold, fear a fever

    February 28, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. corkpuller

    I notice a lot of comments. Not one by a DOCTOR.

    February 28, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MoreAghast

      There are some from doctors.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • Manolo

      Do you really think a doctor is going to tell someone, "Don't bring your kid to the hospital?" The standard medical practice is to practice "defensive medicine." What they're defending against are litigious patients so their medical mantra is, "Bring in your child in if you think you must." The decision is left to people/patient with the hope that common sense will be exercised. Unfortunately, common sense is not a common virtue. That's why a parent will translate "Bring your child in if you think you must" into the action of taking the child to the hospital ER at 3 a.m., completely ignoring the fact that they could just wait a few more hours and go to an office visit at their primary care physician. The cries of a child with an ear ache do nothing to add rational thought to the translation, either.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • CWW

      please see my earlier post. I am a physician in an ER/trauma center. Last night I saw about 15 kids with fevers. Not one needed to come outside, in the freezing rain and snow, with their fever or cough, to be given ibuprofen or acetaminophen in the ER because their parents "didn't have any at home." Nor did they need to call an ambulance at 3am because the kids were "still coughing even though we gave them the cough syrup prescribed two days ago in the doctor's office." All this while leaving the child in the ER room alone so they could sneak off and smoke or run to McDonald's or whatever other unnecessary thing that costs much more than a $1 bottle of ibuprofen at the store. Manolo's comments are dead on. Again, there is no training necessary to procreate... becoming a parent doesn't automatically beget common sense. Most everyones' comments, like this article, are based on realistic generalizations. However, if more people followed the basic advice in the article as well as basic common sense, we wouldn't have so much drama over health care costs.

      February 28, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • Timme62

      Obviously reading is not your special skill.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • KDW

      My husband and I moved to Canada when my son was 3 months old (he's currently 18 months). They don't have the issue with defensive medicine here. The other thing they do is have a suggested protocol in place that you do before you go to the ER for things that are not obviously emergencies. We call a nurse phone line, tell them the symptoms, they ask a bunch of questions, they tell us how to treat, and then forward the information on to our primary. We've called the number a total of 4 times and the information has always been sound and helped assure us that what we were dealing with is not emergency worthy. Two of the times we have ended up taking my son to the primary doctor, because I was concerned that there was more going on. Once we went the next day because I thought he might have an ear infection and we were to fly to the US in two days (mild redness didn't need antibiotics) and the second time was because his fever had lasted over 3 days, he wasn't eating anything (ended up losing 1.5 pounds) and on the worst day slept for 5 hours straight during the day (usually takes a 1.5 hour nap). All they had us do was start alternating the pain medication every 3 hours and told us to come back if he wasn't showing any improvement by Monday (this was on a Saturday). Of course he started feeling better (obviously still sick though) by the next morning.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      CWW...to be fair, I'll take the 3 year old with the fever and runny nose instead of the 30 year old woman with the belly ache for the third time this month who now is going to get a pap, labbed up, maybe a CT or GBUS, and be in the exam room for friggin' four hours waiting on results while she asks if we can get her some "I don't remember the name, something like 'laudid or daudid". Or the dude with flank pain (1 out of 20 a stone that will pass on its own), the tension headache, the drug seeker...on and on and on. In the grand scheme of things, I can take care of the family of three kids with fevers and be done with it in less than two minutes. And given that most MI's and strokes can be handled by a PA or NP or resident before being passed on the the specialty service, I'm not missing much there either. In the grand scheme, the kid with the fever is inappropriate but all things considered, there are far, far, far, far more egregious, wasteful and annoying presentations that account for about 50% of all ER visits and tie up resources a lot more than kid with fever.

      February 28, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
  31. MoreMedsLessResistance

    My son is nearly 14. In those years, I've struggled to maintain health insurance as a single parent. I've always had him covered from day 1, on insurance out of my pocket for many years. Even during this time, I have never felt the need to take him to a doctor for a fever alone. I'm fortunate with him that he is extremely healthy. But as an adult who spent her fair share of time in doctors' offices as a child, I learned myself the side effects this could have. No , my parents were not afraid of every little bug that came around. Unfortunately, I was severely asthmatic and had severe allergies from an early age (tested and conclusive I may add). I was on antibiotics 4-6 times a year for almost 5 years straight and various times after that until my early teens. Unfortuantely, I became resistant to most of the common prescription mediciations. A few of the OTC drugs available now I took as part of trials many years ago. I also suffered various side affects due to the constant use of these medications. In the years I've dealt with ear infections with my son and bouts of strep, I've never asked the doctor to prescribe medicines over the phone. Even in the office, I've asked that if a prescription is the only option when suggested. I have no issue giving my son the medicines he needs however I do not want him to become resistant to the medicines.
    For the parents who can "smell an ear infection a mile away" or "just know what it is at this point" you should consider becoming psychic and charging for services. Your presuming that because it is the same symptoms this time as it was the last time it is "just the same old thing" . I really hope your right everytime because that one time that the strep does go on too long and becomes worse and affects your childs heart, you'll be wishing that you had taken the time for that doctors visit. Or in the middle of hte night when that "over the phone script" isn't working and you are in the ER with your child for undiagnosed bronchitis or pneumonia, do not blame the doctors. Blame yourself for not letting the doctor do their jobs properly. If I wanted to diagnose my son's ailments everytime I would have gone to medical school. And one final comment: I do work, full time, so taking the time to run to the doctor is not easy or convenient. But it is the right thing to do in the interest of my son's health.

    February 28, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Manolo

      I think the issue is that parents should take their children to their primary care physician first before it gets to the point of having to go to the hospital ER. Probably the most important thing you can do every morning and night as a parent (besides telling your child that you love them) is ask them, "How do you feel?" The problem is that way too many parents aren't judicious (I hesitate to use the broad brush of "most"); they go right to the ER first for illness that can often be diagnosed and treatment prescribed for through a routine office visit. There's a leap in logic that a fever or soreness eguals meningococcal meningitis. When one works close to the medical professional, one gets a very pragmatic viewpoint about illness and disease: We're all 100 percent terminal. How that happens or why is out of our control. This viewpoint is uncommon though as people are emotional, irrational and fear driven. Just look at how people invest their money in the stock market. They make millionaires out of other people every day!

      February 28, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
  32. Peggy

    Things have changed. When my kids were young, my doctor was quite upset when I didn't bring them in at the first sign of an ear infection. Luckily, once they were past preschool age, neither got sick much, but both had a lot of ear infections when they were younger.

    February 28, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Manolo

      I'm guessing they were upset if you didn't take them for an office visit. A midnight trip to a hospital ER for an ear ache is different story. Needless to say, ER doctors and nurses on the lookout for chest pains, respiratory failure, and sucking chest wounds are often peeved to have an ambulance pull up with a mother holder her baby who has a fever.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
  33. ashley

    I'm one of those mothers who goes to the doctor with a fever. My child is 10 months but is a preemie and I had her at 1 lb every other week she runs fevers of 101.9 or higher yet its normal. And when I call the doctor or er I'm always told to come in. Fevers aren't always good or need to go unlooked at fevers can cause seizures as I've seen in the past and it doesn't even have to be very high for that to happen. You should fear fevers even a good doctor will tell you fevers aren't good after millions of test ran on my little girl this article should be thrown out.

    February 28, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Ridiculous

    My child has seizures associated with fevers called Febrile Seizures so we take fevers very serious at my house. I think fevers are all different and need to be addressed per the individual, not the whole group.

    February 28, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Stacy

    I understand what's being said about fever, but I must admit a great concern when it occurs. Our six-month old nephew had fever and his young mother waited.. When she did get to the hospital with the baby, it turned out he had spinal meningiitis. He was in the hospital for six months - that's months whereupon this poor little bitty guy attained so much damage from his illness. Lost his sight, his ability to cry, couldn't take nuitrition orally anymore because he couldn't swallow, had to sleep on a thermal blanket because his body couldn't regulate his body temperature any more. He had endless spinal taps - very painful, but they "claimed" he couldn't feel a thing. I think they just said that to make us feel better. While IN the hospital, he contracted spinal meninigitis yet again. When he finally was allowed to go home, there was nothing left for this poor little baby– his brain scan showed his brain was now just cobwebs. He eneded up passing away due to pneumonia right after his second birthday. So, am I afraid of fever? Scared to death is more like it!!!

    February 28, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Fritz

    Parents should be aware that a significant DROP in temperature can be dangerous, too. (I mention this not as a doctor–I'm not–but as a parent whose child's temperature suddenly dropped to the point that it didn't register on a thermometer.)

    February 28, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. self perpetuating

    funny thing about hospitals -all have there resident bugs -another words -its a comunity place -everyone in town thats sick with something goes there -so if your kid -sprains an ankle you go there 3 days after they will have the bug -flu and fever -so if the resindent bugs dont kill you -it makes you stronger :} . other than that its job security for the medical profession . doctors that survive and nurses are the most heathyest or imune people on earth .in my book . :}

    February 28, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Manolo

      I agree. Since my wife works in a metropolitan hospital ER and I'm in and out of the hospital for my job, we're constantly on alert in my house for two things: C Difficle, and TB. We've keep containers of Clorox wipes everywhere. Besides keeping your hands cleaned, don't forget to wipe down your shoes!

      February 28, 2011 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
    • michelle

      agreed, my SIL is an ER charge nurse and she doesn't even bring her work shoes into her home!

      February 28, 2011 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
  38. Steve C

    This should be addressed to the doctors. A doctor wanted to prescribe something for my two-year-old's fever, and I'm the one who stopped him.

    February 28, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. dom625

    I don't understand how parents can give the wrong dosage of medicines when the dosage instructions are printed on the bottle! The label tells you to dose based on weight–you should be able to follow some simple instructions! In addition, liquid medicines come with a medicine cup to measure out the recommended dose, so there should be no excuse for improper dosing.

    February 28, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stacey

      Actually, bottles of over-the-counter fever reducer do not have dosages for children under 2 – the bottle says to contact your doctor.

      February 28, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • KDW

      The lack of dosing information under 2 is really annoying. We moved to Canada when my son was 3 months old and they do give you dosing information for infants. While visiting family in the US over Christmas my son (who was 15 months) got sick and we ran out of the tylenol we brought with us so bought some more. I couldn't believe there was no dosing info. Luckily we still had the empty bottle and saw that the drug strength was the same. We just gave him what we had been giving him before. I have to wonder if the lack of dosing info is a result of the companies being worried about law suits.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
  40. mindy

    My daughter has epilepsy, she began having seizures at 3 months old. we have to have her on fever reducing medication daily just to keep her from getting a fever. she originally was diagnosed with febrile seizures and we were told she would out grow them by the age of 2. she was having them with and without fevers, so with more tests she was eventually diagnosed properly. in order to protect her we rely on tylenol, the thing is they dont always work and we have to rectally give her diastat (liquid valum) to stop any seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes. Fever reducing medication has saved my child from any further permanant damage to her brain. so i say to each his own with medicating their own child, as for me its something i have no option on

    February 28, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Momto3

    I was thinking about something similar this morning as my child woke me up sick. I am not one to rush my children to the pediatrician for everything. In their combined 7 years of life they have been to the Dr for non-wellness checks 3 times, once because of first time parent ignorance, second for a broken bone and third for tonsil removal. Now that the oldest is in school the district REQUIRES a doctors note for an excused absence, otherwise it's tough luck. I refuse to rush him to the office for a stinkin cold and fever but I can see other parents try to "follow" the rules and take their kids whenever their nose runs just to get a note for school.

    February 28, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. thedbs

    Think i'd rather be safe then sorry.

    February 28, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Thomas

    One thing is clear. Judging from the responses, this topic can't be discussed without emotions.

    February 28, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Brandy

    You cannot be too careful with a fever. My friend's 9 month old baby died because her doctor sent her home with a slight fever saying it was nothing. The child was dead by the next day from a meningitis related illness.

    February 28, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. MJ

    Our 8 month old son wasn't even running a high fever, but was very sluggish, listless. Something told me to take him in to the clinic. Diagnosis was bacterial meningitis. Parents....listen to your gut feelings and don't let anyone tell you differently. Our son is now 29 and suffered no ill affects, but thank the Lord he was treated promptly.

    February 28, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. bperiard

    i dont think the point of the article was to tell parents not to take their childern to the doctor, it was to let them know that fevers are the bodies response to infection that help mobilize antibodies and other defenses against pathogens. if you give reduce a "non-threatening fever" you are reducing the childs abillity to combat pathogens naturally.

    February 28, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. bluelove

    Try telling this to a parent who has watched both of their child endure febrile (fever-induced) seizures, included one who had 12 grand mal seizures in a 15 month period. One of those seizures happened with a fever of 100.5. Don't tell me fevers aren't dangreous. Don't tell me fevers don't deserve a physician's time or an insurance company's resources. If either of my kids run a temp over 100, someone is looking at them and I don't care how much it costs or who gets annoyed about making doctor's appointment.

    February 28, 2011 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KDW

      I have a friend whose child has febrile seizures. She doesn't go see a doctor just because of a seizure. If I remember what she told me correctly she only is supposed to go see the doctor if the seizure lasts over a certain period of time or if he has more than 3 in one day.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
    • sara&walt

      Well said! My son had 3 febrile seizures in the last 12 months and its so scary to see him turning blue and not breathing.
      So I take him to the doctor every time he runs a fever and since usually there is an ear infection I want him to start the antibiotics right away.
      I hope all this ends when he"ll grow up.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
  48. a

    I've always known that a fever is a sign of your body's response to fighting infection. If it's low enough you can still function well. What about the media doing stories about "don't go to school/work sick", "don't spread germs"? How about the fact that schools will send your kids home if they have a fever, even a slight fever? I think it's hypocritical of the "media" doing a story that says "don't worry about that fever" after the "media" has done decades of stories that only fanned the flames of paranoia regarding infections.

    February 28, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KDW

      There is a big difference between saying, you don't need to see a doctor for a fever and saying don't go places where you might infect others when you are obviously ill. A fever may not be something that needs medical attention but it is a sign that you have a communicable illness. Staying away from others when you are sick helps to keep illnesses from spreading.

      February 28, 2011 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
  49. Carl

    Listen to all of these people get angry when told not to abuse the ER for every sneeze, and then they also complain that medical insurance is too expensive. WaaaH, I want the entire hospital to jump on me 6 times every year, and I want it to be free!

    February 28, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Ed

    ER is short for "emergency room". You go there when you have an emergency. A fever is not emergency.

    Overuse of our hospital's ER's is a pretty serious concern. I believe one way to fix this and pump money into our health care system is to impose a fee system – if you or a dependent under your supervision are in the emergency room for a fever, ear infection, or some other non-emergency, you are hit with a fee. How high the fee would be should be subject to analysis, but perhaps a tier system – first "false" ER visit, small fee; subsequent "false" ER visits, higher fee.

    February 28, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lou

      I recall reading an article last year about how this mother who took her daughter to ER for minor ear infection. Guess how much it cost her? 1000 bucks AFTER insurance. Ouch. She probably should have gone to clinic instead of ER. I think there's one close by here called Care Now which is designed exactly for that. Probably cheaper too.

      February 28, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
1 2

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.