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Before Treating, Learn Fever’s Boons

March 8, 2016

“A fever is dangerous when it is suppressed and not recognized,” said Plotnikoff, an integrative physician at Allina Health Care’s Penny George Institute for Health and Healing in Minneapolis. “The best case for using (acetaminophen and ibuprofen) is to enhance comfort, either for the person or for their caregiver,” he said. “For example, a child with a painful ear infection can keep parents up all night.”

When a high body temperature is artificially lowered, it can prolong the illness and make it more difficult for the body to fight against bacteria or a virus. Still, most people overreact to fevers, research suggests, because they are commonly regarded as an illness that must be treated, rather than a sign that the body’s immune response has kicked into gear. Parents suffering from “fever phobia” overmedicate, use cold baths unnecessarily and check a child’s temperatures too frequently, studies show.

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