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Heath Watch: Fever Phobia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Most fevers in children are not dangerous, and parents shouldn't worry so much, according to a new study.

This new report advises against over-treating fevers. They're how the body fights infection, and will usually go away without medication, and won't cause damage.

One-year-old Jada Banks has a fever and a cough.

"At night I'd see maybe like 102 going into 103, and it bothers me," said Kenneth Banks, Jada's father.

A new report in the Journal Pediatrics advises parents to keep their cool when it comes to fevers. Doctors say a rise in body temperature isn't always dangerous.

"A fever can be good for kids. It actually helps fight off infection. Virus and bacteria they don't like to live where it's warm," said Dr. Jessica Sessions, a pediatrician.

Experts say temperatures lower than 100.4 are not considered a fever, and no studies show that untreated fevers lead to seizures or brain damage.

Dr. Jessica Sessions says over-the-counter medicine is fine to bring down a high fever, but parents should pay more attention to how their children are acting.

"Are they drinking? Are they eating? Are they walking around? Are they playful?" said Dr. Sessions.

Parents should call the doctor if the fever lasts more than a few days, if the child is under three months old, if there are changes in behavior, or a rash appears.
Jada's dad is glad he took her in.

"I didn't like what was going on, cold sweats," said Kenneth.

When it comes to medicine, the most important thing is getting the dosage right. It varies among brands. Parents should make sure they measure correctly.

The study also said there's no difference in safety and effectiveness of acetaminophen versus ibuprofen

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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