Quicker to treat kid’s fever than pain

Are our priorities mixed up in the in the emergency department? A recent study suggests so. Dvorkin and colleagues compared how quickly pain and fever is treated in kids in the emergency department. Turns out we treat fever with much greater alacrity, perhaps because of standing orders that allow nurses to treat fever by protocol.  Kids in pain are treated much slower. Why, when increasing evidence supports an infection-fighting host defense role of fever?

From the paper:

“Fever is treated more promptly than pain in the pediatric ED. This difference is associated with prevailing and largely unfounded concerns about fever and the undertreatment of pain (oligoanalgesia).” (emphasis added).

Kudos to these researchers for pointing out that concerns about fever’s harm are unfounded. Unfortunately, it is proving to be difficult to dislodge the misconception among parents and practitioners alike.

Is fever treated more promptly than pain in the pediatric emergency department?
Dvorkin R, Bair J, Patel H, Glantz S, Yens DP, Rosalia A Jr, Marguilies J.
J Emerg Med. 2014 Mar;46(3):327-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.08.063. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

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