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Johns Hopkins Health - Fever Phobia

Fall 2008
Issue No. 2

Fever Phobia

Date: September 24, 2008

Young boy with woman's hand on forehead

A Recent Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study found that most parents have misconceptions about their children’s fevers and end up overtreating mild cases. Usually they reach for ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

But parents should be reminded that not all fevers are dangerous, says study author Michael Crocetti, M.D.

“Fever is a sign of the body’s revved-up defenses fighting infection,” he says, “and fever-reducing medications carry their own risks.” Those risks include accidental overdosing of medications with acetaminophen.

The study noted that “fever phobia” was higher among ethnic groups that believe fevers cause death and brain damage, which is a misconception. Researchers say that brain damage only occurs in fevers higher than 107 degrees, which are quite rare. For more, visit