Should you cover up your kids in blanket to sweat out when they have fever?

Kids, Sick, Blanket, Sweat

Cover Image via: 批踢踢實業坊

It is common for children to fall sick and have a fever or flu. According to traditional Chinese practice: sick children should put on more clothes or be covered with a blanket to encourage the child to sweat. It is said that the flu is cured with sweating. Is this line of thought true? What is the most accurate method of treating your child with a high fever?

What causes fever?

Let us first investigate, why do we have a fever whenever we caught the flu? According to Western doctors, fever is the body’s immune response towards any bacterial infection. By increasing the body temperature, it inhibits and kills the bacteria. Unfortunately, if the temperature is too high, it would bring harm to the body, especially the brain. The author had a neighbor whose child became crippled as a result of brain damage due to the high temperature. As such, high fevers leading to brain damage is a fact.

Sweat is a sign of healing

Following this, why would we sweat whenever we are sick? By sweating, our bodies would be kept cool after the sweat evaporated. During exercise or in a hot weather, our body temperature would increase, and we would naturally sweat. This prevents damage to our internal organs as a result of overheating. As such, fever and sweating are natural mechanical responses, and it is not limited to preventing bacteria. It also occurs when the immune system is subduing bacteria and this is made easier by increasing our body temperature. Only after our immune system defeated the bacteria, sweat will then be dispersed to bring our body temperature back to normal. After understanding the principles behind this occurrence, we would conclude that the practice of wrapping a sick patient in thick blankets is incorrect. This is because blankets are used to keep us warm in normal circumstances, and it is unsuitable for us to be heavily wrapped up when we are sick. Under normal circumstances, we naturally sweat when we feel hot, which is opposed to the situation where our immune system is working to flush out the bacteria and we do not sweat. If we were to wrap ourselves in blankets, our body temperature will continuously rise to the extent it led to brain damage. In addition to that, any heavy clothing or blanket only obstructs our bodily function to dissipate extra heat by sweat.

The correct method to correspond with a fever

Some would now ask: “ What is the correct method to treat a fever?” If the child has a mild fever, you may place a wet cloth or fever sticker on his forehead to help him cool off. At the same time, you could cover his body with a blanket. This increases his body temperature, but keep his head cool at the same time. If your child is having a fever more than 38 degrees, it is considered a stage of high fever. At this moment, the previous technique is unsuitable and might be better to cool of his whole body instead. If the temperature approaches nearly 40 degrees, it is crucial to physically cool off your child’s body with a cold water bath. When our body temperature exceeded 40-degree celsius, it would cause permanent damage to our brain.  To conclude, parents should meticulously measure their kids’ body temperature regularly to ensure that it is always maintained within healthy range,  to avoid risking kids to suffer from brain damage caused by a raging fever.

Translated from: 小孩子发烧,传统上盖被给孩子出汗是正确的吗?

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