Editorials

Rising hospital admissions

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c636 (Published 02 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c636

Doctors and nurses have to stop advising 'to control' the temperature in fever

This is despite decades of medical
literature indicating
that this is not needed and the 2007 NICE guidance on
feverish illness in
children. 1

Health professionals should explain to
parents that in a
normal fever process the body is heating itself up from the
head, thorax down
into the hands and feet. Ask yourself the question, what do
you do when you feel
cold and shivery (and already having a raised temperature)
you wrap up to
support the body to heat itself - into the hands and feet.
As such these are
cold as compared to the upper body when the body has not
achieved his aim yet.
Once the body has managed to heat itself including the hands
and feet, the fever
process settles down - circadian rhythms. It is amazing that
doctors are
subjecting children to draconian measures to prevent the
body to heal itself, it
is amazing that they let these children suffer and shiver
and leave parents in a
state of perpetual worry - as parents of course realise that
you can not
'control' or 'manage' the temperature in a feverish child.
Why do you think that
these children keep crying?

Parents should be advised that they can
put in a complaint
when given this outdated advice of 'temperature control' and
when they have not
been informed on what to expect in a normal fever process
and how to support
this. Of course this outdated 'lower the temperature' advice
is resulting in a
financial burden for the health service because of
admissions due to 'parental
concern'. (BTW parents should be explained that if their
child gets stripped and fanned on
a paediatric ward that they can put in a complaint as
well).

1) Havinga, W. In the interest of the
public. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/337/sep02_2/a1409#202312

 

Competing interests:
e-book
h
ttp://www.everydaymedicin
e.com/fever.htm

Competing interests: Doctors, nurses and NHS Direct are still advising 'to control' or 'to manage' the temperature in a fever.

09 March 2010
Wouter Havinga
Family Doctor
GL6 6JL
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