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Understanding the science behind your child's fever

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Understanding the science behind your child's fever
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If your child has a fever, it may be a cause for concern. However, a fever actually serves a purpose.

"It's an immune response. The brain recognizes that there is an infection and raises the body set point to burn it off," said Dr. Manny Cirenza, a pediatrician.

Fevers can be alarming, but there is a point when it becomes a cause for serious concern.

"Probably damage to the brain can occur somewhere around 107 degrees or higher than that," said Cirenza.

Fevers can last hours to days, and it's important to keep track.

"Simple guidelines, any fever that lasts probably six days or more is cause for a concern or investigation before that look at other symptoms how sick or ill is a child appearing," said Cirenza.

The body loses fluid as it sweats to fight the fever, so more fluid is necessary to prevent dehydration.

"I say feed everything. The body wants calories, nutrition and energy to fight off any infection and so what ever you can get in is important," said Cirenza.

When it comes to accuracy, rectal thermometers are best. However, external thermometers also get the job done.

"Some parents think they're supposed to add or take away a degree, it is not true. Anytime you get a number that is off you should be checking it with an oral or rectal temperature," said Cirenza.

When it comes to treating a fever, some medications are better than others.

"I recommend use one or the other, I find that acetaminophen acetaminophen less upsetting to the stomach if I can make the acetaminophen work, I reach for that first," said Cirenza.

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