TTM Lifestyle Blogs

Managing Fevers In Children

Bimbo Ajinibi

As a Casualty Clinician in the Children Emergency Room, I have seen beautiful promising babies lose their lives because of PARACETAMOL. Yes! Paracetamol has killed so much more babies than you can ever imagined.

A case scenario: This two year old was rushed to the emergency room with gasping respiration. Obviously he was about to die on arrival.

As usual, we launched into action to salvage this young chap.While working to save his life, we were asking questions from the mother to know when the illness started.

“It started with fever last week” was the response.

“Why then did you not bring the child since then?”, we inquired.

“The fever came down after I gave him paracetamol”, the mother answered.

That was how the mother continued to give this baby paracetamol until the child could no longer stand erect. Then the baby became breathless and was rushed to the hospital.

When we examined, it was obvious the child needed blood as an urgent test confirmed the PCV to be 09% and the baby’s heart was already failing (Anaemic Heart Failure). We tried our best but it was too late, we lost the child to the cold hand of death.

I was grieved in my heart. As I watched the mother crying unconsolably; she killed her own baby, though ignorantly.

Now this is the message I want to pass across:

Paracetamol is an analgesic (pain relieving) and an anti-pyretic (Fever ‘relieving’) drug. It does not cure any disease.

Picture from Cleveland Clinic

For the child in the story above, we later found out through a laboratory test that what the child had was malaria. There are so many causes of fever. Fever is not a disease, it is just one of the symptoms of a disease. What paracetamol does is to relieve the symptoms of fever or pain but it does not care for the disease.Malaria was destroying that baby’s blood, but it was also giving a signal (fever was the signal in this case) but the mother ignorantly ignored the signal by giving paracetamol.

To my readers, use this story to educate people around you, especially those who have children. When you have fever, this is what to do:

Have a warm bath. Do not use cold water. Do not run to buy paracetamol.

For younger children, do what we call Tepid Sponging. Tepid means warm. Dip a clean towel into warm (not cold) water and rub the baby’s body. As the water dries from the body there will be cooling.

If after Tepid Sponging for a while the fever did not subside, it is time to see a doctor. Do not prescribe paracetamol for a child. See a doctor and let the cause of the fever be dealt with.

Thank you very much for your time.

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