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I Have Fever! What Can I Do?

Saturday, 16 November 2013 20:00
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When it turns out that you are expecting a baby, you try to avoid everything which can be harmful either for you or for your baby. As the immune system does not work as efficiently and effectively, a pregnant woman's defences are down, making her a walking target for any viruses. We know it, but it causes a shock when we realize that we caught something terrible. From these the most fearful one can be fever. We have to handle it - we learned it as children. But should we reduce fever in any circumstances? When? Anyway what is fever?

Fever is the result of an immune response by your body to a foreign invader. [1] It is not by itself an illness, it’s usually the symptom of an underlying condition.[2] Behind it there is always another illness. First we have to treat that. As a pregnant lady the most common infections you can get are flu, cold, tonsillitis and/or pharyngitis (especially in winter). “We speak about fever if your body temperature is higher than 100.7 degrees Fahrenheit (38.2 degrees Celsius).” [3] So when we start feeling panic it is just low fever. I know by myself that I would take any medicine to help when my “fever” is just 98.9ºF (37.2ºC). Then I’m standing in the kitchen with the box of the antipyretic and I can’t decide to take it or not, which is better or worse. But it is good to know that “fever can help our body fight against viruses and infections and help it cure itself. Up to a certain extent it can be useful because it creates a so hot environment for the pathogens which is unbearable for them. What’s more in certain countries (e.g. Canada, the Netherlands) it is not advised to ease fever, if it is - just because of your well-being.”[4] But during pregnancy if you have fever, you AWAYS have to regulate it! The fetus is very sensitive for fever, so your temperature can’t be higher than 100.4ºF (38ºC)![5]

If you experience fever, first try to ease it physically. You have to wear loose, thin, breathable cotton clothes. Don’t creep under a thick blanket! Drink (or sup) lukewarm or cold drinks, the best ones are non-fizzy sport drinks or fruit juice and lemonade. If we suffer from nausea (or vomiting) don’t force eating, just drink! If it is also problematic, try sucking ice cubes (can be made from lemonade!). With frequent showers you can cool yourself. Don’t use cold water, as not the temperature of the water will cool your body but the evaporation of the water drops will help you.[6]. A cooling bath is not forbidden but I’m not sure whether I would try it. Unfortunately it is said that cold compresses on your wrists, ankles or forehead use not too much, although they helped me when I was last ill. The most important thing is to relax, as physical activity also raises your temperature, not to mention you can decrease the risk of fainting and hitting your belly.

If nothing helps from the above mentioned methods, you have to take medicine. Don’t be afraid of its leaflet “In most of these leaflets it is written that they are not acceptable during pregnancy. But just only a few of them has real effects on the baby.”[7] As they are not tested on pregnant ladies (Who dares to try unknown medicines during pregnancy?), factories have to write this information. It is a fact that you cannot take anything, but if it’s necessary you can take those which contains paracetamol, acetaminophen (Tylenol)[8], of course you have to check its amount very carefully. If you’re worried about taking Tylenol while pregnant, remember this: if your baby was born today and he had a fever, the doctors and nurses would give him Tylenol.[9] Before taking any medicines always consult with your doctor!!!

If you have controlled your fever, and your well-being is well, you have to “just” deal with your illness.

I’ve collected some home-made treatments which usually help me:

A great amount of Vitamin C, if it is possible in natural form – many liters of lemonade can also cover your need for liquids.

  • for cough: onion tea (made from the outer reddish shells)
  • for cold: steaming with chamomile tea
  • to get rid of the ooze from your throat or tonsils put a slice of lemon into sugar and eat it

The most important of all is if the symptoms are still there or become more serious, visit your doctor forth with!

Sources: 

[1]John P. Cunha ( DO, FACOEP): http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/mobileart.asp?articlekey=361&page=1 2013-11-22

[2]Fever Facts (WebMD) http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/fevers-causes-symptoms-treatments2013-11-22

[3] Emese Szabó: Fever (Lector: Dr. János Kádár s internist-immunologist) http://www.hazipatika.com/betegsegek_a_z/laz/481 2013-10-28

[4]Fever (Wikipedia) http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A1z_(%C3%A9lettan) 2013-10-28

[5]Emese Szabó: Fever (Lector: Dr. János Kádár s internist-immunologist) http://www.hazipatika.com/betegsegek_a_z/laz/481 2013-10-28

[6]How to reduce fever during pregnancy? http://www.wikihow.com/Reduce-Fever-During-Pregnancy2013-11-02

[7]What do pregnant women have to be aware of? http://www.origo.hu/egeszseg/terhesseg/20101213-terhesseg-laz-natha-influenza-a-lazcsillapitas-fontos-de-natha-ellen.html 2013-10-28

[8] same as 5. interview with Dr. Zoltán Gasztonyi, leader of Istenhegyi Géndiagnosztikai, Nőgyógyászati és Családtervezési Centrum („Istenhegyi” Genetic, Gynecologic and Family Planning Centre)

[9] Jennifer L.W Fink:Fever During Pregnancyhttp://m.thebump.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-symptoms/articles/fever-during-pregnancy.aspx2013-11-22

Read 3012 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 18:26

Dear Reader,

First of all, I'm a mother of a 2 and a half-year-old boy and a 9-month-old girl from Hungary (a small state in Central-Europe).

I was born in 1984 and from the time I remember I wanted to be a mother. As a profession, I'm an English teacher, so I work with children between the age of 6-14. I met my husband in 2002. We would like to have three children.

When I expected my son I thought that birth is very simple. I go the hospital, give life than after 3 days I go home with my baby. But for me it was not so simple, I have genetic, uncontrolled pain weakness. So I had both of my children with c-section.

Fortunately, life compensates, I have never had problem with breastfeeding. I breastfed my son for 16 months. He stopped it when I was half-time pregnant with my daughter.

I'd love to help other mothers find the bright side of having children. I'm very thankful for TBS for the opportunity to write, and for "Édes Terhem" Baby Carrying group in my hometown because they taught me a lot of thing about natural child raising which I can share with you.

If you had any questions, just feel free to ask. I'll try to answer.

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