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Childhood Fevers

We have grown up with the advice to monitor our child’s fever and use Tylenol or Ibuprofen to tamp down any high fever to prevent febrile seizures.   Many thermometers like the fancy infrared in-ear ones, have been sold to parents who want to be very accurate about their care for their child.  These are easier to get the reading too.

But, to what end?  Lots of Ibuprofen and Tylenol have been administered to millions of children in an effort to avoid a seizure.   This has been the advice of practically everyone in medicine.   Ironically, the research shows doing so doesn’t prevent a seizure.  Yet, the same advice is still being given out.

In the case of childhood fevers, it turns out there is no such time to medicate a fever in an effort to prevent a seizure.   If your child has a febrile seizure, she is not going to have neurological problems.  Future administration of antipyretics does not prevent seizures.   Here’s the National Library of Medicine on the topic: “The pharmacist should educate the family on managing the fever with acetaminophen and not aspirin. However, the family should also be educated that antipyretics do not prevent future febrile seizures.”

I’m not sure why the pharmacist would think “managing” the fever is necessary then, when managing results in no difference in outcome with respect to seizures.


They also go on to say that the parents should be educated on the possibility that whatever infection driving the fever could turn into meningitis and THAT’s an emergency.   It certainly is.  But this emergency situation is made MORE likely because parents are still to be told to give their child Tylenol or Ibuprofen.  And, that is exactly what interferes with the immune system trying to fight the bacteria or virus.  The body uses the fever to fight infection.  We stomp on the baby’s immune system with Tylenol or Ibuprofen and then the doctors will say it is just bad luck that she went on to develop meningitis or pneumonia.  It is the antipyretic that allows the pathogen to make even MORE problems for the child than before.


I’ve observed over my 30 plus years in practice, the more medical a family is, the sicker the kids are.  Unfortunately, this happens not to the uneducated, but the well-educated who believe that more medicine equates to better healthcare.  This unfortunate situation is aided by the fact that the well-educated have the means to access whatever specialists that their socioeconomic status gets, as a reward.  And that’s the beginning of the trouble.

I hate to share this, but it is common with employees and retirees of well compensated insurance plans, such as the legacy large companies here in Minnesota: 3M, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, former Northwest Airlines… etc…

What happens is when people with these benefits need medical care, not always, but more often for this group than others… they tend to seek out the specialists because it is “free” for them.  Which results in more testing and more procedures than the average bear.   Some of those tests are even necessary.  But many times things are being done because they CAN be done and because they are free for the consumer, rather than necessary to intervene in a crisis. 

Some of the sickest people with chronic conditions have been generated by this system. The treatments frequently in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Whether necessary or not isn’t even a concern.  What is a concern is whether it is free or not to the patient.  We’ve all heard people boast about how high their medical bill was “but I only had to pay X”.  The results of the high-priced treatment aren’t even the story anymore.  The medical story takes on a life of its own, repeated at family gatherings over and over, and it’s that high priced care, the reward for their occupation done well, that becomes the success.  The treatment left the patient still sick, frequently sicker but hey, it was free.  Never mind the permanent problems with health.  According to the specialist, they couldn’t be avoided no matter what the patient did.  “These things just happen to some people.”   Yes, they do.  And the more time you spend in medical clinics the higher your risk of these things just happening.


The other end of the spectrum is the very poor.  These people are subjected to all kinds of testing and procedures, again more than the average bear, because the reimbursement for the providers is so low and the documentation to get paid requires many tests and treatments.  Some of them are even necessary.   And the same is true here.  Some suffering so badly from loss of health they can no longer work and end up forever trapped in this system WITH their chronic conditions.

I’ve strayed from the topic because these situations frequently start in childhood because the children in these families get the same treatments.  Children of parents of means tend to be sicker and on more medications than children of lower economic advantage.  Until you get to be homeless… that’s the worst, of course. 


My point is, what passes for health care isn’t health care but disease mongering.   And, if you have easy access, and you have enough encounters, you may be diagnosed and treated for some disease, whether it’s necessary or not. 

Did you know your risk of cardiovascular disease depends on your zip code?  If you live near a hospital that specializes in cardiovascular care, you’re at higher risk.  If you live by a cancer center, same.  That’s how it works.

Back to what to do for your febrile kid.  Mostly nothing.  Make sure she is comfortable.  What needs to be managed is the child’s comfort not the thermometer.  The thermometer serves no purpose other than to make the parents crazy and causes excess medication which keeps the child sick longer.  Get the child adjusted.  Ideally, regularly, but when the body could use some extra help, an adjustment boosts white blood cell activity within minutes.  White blood cells fight infection. 

The idea is to get the body to heal at its best.  Medicated is not at its best.  Well adjusted, well-nourished and well rested is at its best. 

Chiropractic lifestyle doesn’t include these medical measures.  Chiropractic lifestyle is healthy and regards fever as healthy and necessary.  This is what we have been teaching our practice members. 

That’s the chiropractic lifestyle.  We hope you are on your way to adopting as many of the principles as you can as soon as you can.

**For the whole month of November, we are offering a consultation, exam, and x-rays for only $27. We are here to help, all it takes is a call today to schedule your appointment.


Dr. Barrett

Vibrant Life Center

6070 50th St. N.

Oakdale, MN 55128




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