My son is 1 year 9 months old, and he got a fever for 1 week. His
temperature some time went as high as 104f, and some time returned to normal. Besides fever, he also has cough and running nose. He has seen the doctor and is now taking medicine according to instruction.
1. Besides fever, he does not have other worrying symptoms such as seizures, skin spots and neck pains. If this is a normal fever, normally how long will it last? And will it indicate more serious disease if it last for longer than such time?
2. During this week, he has very bad appetite, and refused to eat for 2 days, even when we gave him his favors foods. I think he can eat but just refused to eat. Is this normal? Should we do something (such as force him to eat or take him to hospital) if he refuses to eat for too long?
3. After seeing that his temperature did not go down for 1 week, his doctor gave him some antibiotics. We understand that antibiotics do not work for fever caused by viruses. If we finish all the antibiotics according to instructions, and if the fever is caused by viruses, will the antibiotics has other bad effects other than "no use".
4. We read some articles saying that fever may assist us to kill the viruses, and it may not be a good idea to bring down the fever all the time. In his current condition, i.e. temperature can go up to 104f, but most of the time stay at 99f to 102f, should we let his temperature go down itself without giving him any medicine to bring down the temperature? Does the medicine used to bring down the temperature has other functions other than
making him feel more comfortable?
You describe your son with fever up to 104, cough, runny nose, skin spots, neck pain and seizures. I am going to assume that if your doctor prescribed antibiotics for your son, the doctor must feel there is a bacterial infection here. From the symptoms you describe it could very well be a sinus or ear infection that the doctor is treating.
For instance, a sinus/ear infection will cause fever, cough, runny nose and if streptococcus bacteria is present, a rash may occur as well. Fever is present with both viral and bacterial infections and is due to the presence of certain inflammatory/immune cells being produced. It is the "immune cells" and not the "fever" that helps to rid the body of the bacteria/virus. Having your child take a medication such as Tylenol or Advil to reduce fever, will not prolong the illness and will likely make him more comfortabe.
I would have to say that on occasion, parents may worry too much about fever. If the fever is 99-101.5 I tend to be a bit less aggressive about treating the fever. If it gets above 101.5 the child is usually feeling much more ILL and may even have a "febrile seizure". It is important for you to understand that there are no long term "adverse" effects which result from a febrile seizure (seizure caused by fever).
If your son does not get better with the antibiotics, you may consider other options for treatment/evaluation of the problem. Clearly, any child who has persisitent fever will need to have blood tests as well as a chest Xray, urine test and possibly a "lumbar puncture"(fluid from around the spinal cord is taken through a small needle inserted into the back). The lumbar puncture helps to determine if there is evidence of meningitis.
If antibiotics are prescribed when a "viral" illness is present, the main problem to be aware of is the fact that these antibiotics may become less effective if used again in the future when treatment for a bacterial infection is necessary. Using antibiotics will not prolong the course of a viral illness.
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