Accessibility View Close toolbar

1310 Washington Street

Pella, IA 50219 US


Open mobile navigation

Burning Up With Fever

Ogi Ressel, DC


Your child is hot, flushed, glassy-eyed and obviously not well. Your diagnosis is fever! You are very concerned and even a little panic sets in. After all, you've been trained to think of fever as something that should actually be treated.


Let's look at this fever thing calmly for a moment. We've been taught that normal body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C)- right? Wrong!


Ninety-eight point six degrees only represents an average. Your child's body temperature can hover anywhere between 97 and 100 degrees and still be considered "normal." Fever is simply heat. Normal body heat is the result of your child's body working as it was meant to, under the perfect control of the nervous system.


To help your child recover when he is fighting a flu bug or other infection, two things happen. First, the nervous system commands an increase I head production in order to literally "burn" the invading germ, which can only survive at a "normal" body temperature. Any increase in heat, therefore, kills such germs. This is a good thing!


Second, as a result of orders from the nervous system, many body activities speed up. Respiration increases, the heart rate goes up in order to pump blood faster, breathing quickens, the skin is moist and clammy and the child begins to shiver. (By the way, shivering is needed to cause muscles to work harder and produce extra heat.) This extra work produces extra heat. We call this fever. Simple!


All this activity has a purpose to eliminate an invading germ. This does not necessarily mean your child is "sick." The body is doing exactly what it has been naturally programmed to do. Fever is an expression of health. But as a loving parent, it is at this point that you feel you have to do something.


Not necessarily. The most important things to do are to understand why this increase in body temperature is happening, provide supportive care and allow your child's body to do what it needs to do with no interference.


The height (temperature) of a fever has no bearing on the seriousness of the condition and there is absolutely no clinical evidence to suggest that high fever causes convulsions or brain damage. Logically, why would the nervous system increase temperature to injure itself? It's an old wives' tale.


On its own, a high fever is not critical. But when there are other signs of sickness, it could be an indicator of a developing serious condition.


If you child is less than one year old and has a fever with the presence of any of the following signs, you should seek the advice of your health care provider:

  • Is in severe pain and cannot be comforted;
  • Is anxious and/or lethargic;
  • Whines continuously;
  • Cannot retain fluids and/or has diarrhea;
  • Has difficulty breathing, urinating or swallowing;
  • Has an unexplained rash and a pulse rate of over120 per minute.


So why do you have to take a child's temperature when he is feverish? Good question. You don't. Increasing numbers of physicians now feel that the taking of temperature is an unnecessary ritual. I couldn't agree more.


This idea was borne out of marketing efforts by the pharmaceutical industry, whose aim was to teach the public that fever should be feared and treated so that sales of anti-fever medications would soar. This marketing plan was very effective and is still prevalent today.


It is neither necessary, nor wise to lower body temperature. Fever is not the problem, simply the result of the body attempting to recover. Medications taken to lower the temperature work only temporarily. Once they are excreted from the body, the temperature will again increase. The reason is that these drugs have no effect on the real problem and therefore nothing is really changed by giving them to you child.


There are a number of natural health products you can find in a health food store which may help your child cope with malaise while his body is "doing its thing." Ask. Fever should be viewed as a sign; the nervous system and immune system doing exactly what they are designed to do.


I suggest that the next time your child has a fever, understand the reason. Don't jump the gun and try to lower your child's temperature; you may actually delay recovery. Lastly, have your child checked by a pediatric chiropractor to ensure he has an optimally functioning nervous system that can deal successfully with illness.


Kids First, Ogi Ressel, DC

Sign up now or call us at 641-628-2099 to make your appointment!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule


6:30 am

6:00 pm


8:00 am

5:00 pm


8:00 am



8:00 am

6:00 pm


6:30 am

12:00 pm








Find us on the map


  • "I saw Doc when I was a senior at central college. He really took great care of me and the patients received great treatments. I just graduated chiropractic school 6 months ago and want to thank Doc for the motivation to pursue chiropractic school."
    Joel M. / Pella, IA

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Relationship with Self

    The relationship you have with yourself and the journey to self-understanding is an important part of your overall wellness. ...

    Read More
  • Indoor Activities and Exercises

    Are you preparing for the winter months or looking for exercises to do when you can't make it to the gym? Follow these exercises to maintain a healthy fitness routine. ...

    Read More
  • Holiday Stress - Take a Deep Breath

    Most of us pay little attention, if any, to the daily functioning of our many physiological systems. Our hearts beat, our digestive systems digest, and our various hormones, such as those deriving from the thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and pancreas, do what they do. It's all good... until it's not. ...

    Read More
  • Proper Overindulgence Over the Holidays

    Proper Overindulgence Over The Holidays The term "overindulgence" is probably best assessed as a red flag, especially with respect to consistent overconsumption of high-calorie comfort food and desserts during the holiday season. An overall healthier perspective could be described as "indulgence" regarding ...

    Read More
  • The 5 Senses

    The 5 Senses The five senses, that is, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, provide us with necessary information regarding the world around us.1 These precious capabilities enable us to navigate our environment with seemingly instantaneous feedback with reference to our actions and ...

    Read More
  • The Benefits of Sleep for Adults

    Obtaining sufficient restful sleep is an essential requirement for optimal human productivity. Such a practice is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, regular vigorous exercise, and a positive mental attitude. How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. ...

    Read More
  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More


Sign up for more articles