Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fever Phobia

My partner went to the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference last Fall and came home with all kinds of new information. Most of it was great. But she also told us about a new product that would be coming to market that is not so great. I personally feel that this new product will be dangerous. Not in the "it will hurt your baby directly" category, but in the "will increase parental anxiety and overtreatment" department.

What's this product?

It's called FeverFrida. It has a sticker that goes under a baby's armpit that measures a baby's temperature every 4 seconds and sends information by bluetooth to the parent so the parent can know all the temperatures. It sends an alert if the temperature is over 99F.

Can you say anxiety inducing???

Fever is our friend, people! It helps fight infection. If we get a virus or bacteria, our body elevates the temperature to kill the infectious agent. I know a lot of people worry when their kids have a fever. I wrote about that in Fever is... because it is a very common fear. But we shouldn't feed that fear. This device will feed the fear with alerts for non-fevers and a reading every 4 seconds. That's 15 readings every minute. That means 21,600 readings in 24 hours. And they encourage you to bring all those readings to your pediatrician. Please don't. I won't even humor you by looking at them. That will encourage the fear. I can't do that.

Pediatricians don't usually consider a temperature a fever until it is at least 100.4F rectally (99F under the arm), so why this gizmo alerts you right at 99F is beyond me. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend treating a temperature under 102F unless there is significant pain. (Note: This does not apply to babies less than 2 months, underimmunized kids, and those with immune problems.) In other words, you treat the pain, not the temperature in most kids. Let the fever do it's job! So what is the benefit of having a temperature taken every 4 seconds?

The FeverFrida is from a company that I have recommended for years because they make a wonderful product called Nosefrida. The Nosefrida can get mucus out of babies and helps them get through upper respiratory infections. I do love this product despite how gross it seems to suck the snot out of baby's nose. (We do a lot of gross things as parents if they help!)

I'm disappointed that the company is trying to play on parental fears with the fever monitor. Save your money and watch your baby for symptoms and treat based on these tips.

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