Turns out baby’s fever is not a sign of teething after all. A recent study, published in the journal Pediatrics, reveals that high-grade fevers are not a sign of teething. Rather, it might be a sign of another illness, and parents and doctors shouldn’t just ignore it.
Throughout history, parents, as well as practitioners, have attributed a number of maladies to teething. It was, perhaps, an easy explanation for the ever-changing behavior of an infant and illnesses during children’s vulnerable early years.
For hundreds of years, medical professionals believed that teething caused the deaths of children. When Lucy Jefferson, President Thomas Jefferson’s sixth child, died at age in 1784 at age 2 1/2, a letter from the doctor declared that she ‘fell a Martyr to the Complicated evils of teething, Worms and Hooping Cough.’
On another note, the 1842 Registrar General’s report of England and Wales attributed 12% of all deaths of children younger than 4 to teething. The 1891 ‘In Cyclopedia of the Disease of Children,’ a respected medical text of the time, stated that children that have been strong and healthy up to the period of dentition often droop and die, while the delicate or sickly ones pass through it with apparent impunity.
However, as medical care improved, it became increasingly clear that there were other reasons behind infant mortality, and teething was more annoyance than a sickness.
Now, every modern parent has been once through this. Somewhere between 2 and 12 months, the baby’s teeth make their grand, grumpy entrance.
Some babies are fussier than usual when they are teething. This may be because of soreness and swelling in the gums before a tooth comes through. Also, babies may bite on their fingers or toys to help relieve the pressure in their gums. They may also refuse to eat and drink because their mouths hurt.
Another symptom is fever, as one of the oft-cited symptoms of teething, not always by doctors, more often by parents sharing advice. a new analysis of the actual symptoms of teething shows that fever probably isn’t one of them. In other words: If the kid is teething and has a fever, chances are they’re also sick.
If a child has a really high fever, or is in significant discomfort, or won’t eat or drink anything for days, that’s a red flag for concern.
declared Dr. Paul Casamassimo, director of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Pediatric Oral Health and Research and Policy Center.
However, the analysis didn’t completely dismiss a parent’s intuition. It found the most common symptoms of teething were swollen gums, drooling and crankiness. Symptoms shouldn’t last for more than three to five days, Casamassimo added, but he did acknowledge that it can feel much longer.
Thus, he stated that parents should always monitor their child, closely checking for other symptoms. ‘Symptoms are not a chronic thing. They come and go, and the job of the parent is to comfort the child, and keep their finger on the pulse of their child. Is the child eating? Staying hydrated?‘, the doctor added.
The study showed that teething can lead to a rise in body temperature still below 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Teething is also associated with decreased appetite, sleeping problems, diarrhea, rash and vomiting.
The question that still remains is: How to manage teething? There are a lot of old beliefs and advice here, too.
Dr. Paul Casamassimo strongly believes that a cold piece of cloth and some teething toys can ease child’s discomfort. But if it still didn’t work, parents can use infant pain reliever.
However, Casamassimo stated that parents just need to be careful about using pain reliever as it can cause tooth decay. Moreover, he pointed out that parents should stay away from topical anesthetics that contain benzocaine and lidocaine.
All in all, while it can be a trying time, the process of teething is normal. Of course, every kid is going to have it in slightly different ways, but parents should definitely pay close attention to the symptoms. If things get out of hand, the experts’ advice is to immediately call a doctor.
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