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The ADHD Fever Effect

As my daughter’s temperature went up, her ADHD symptoms subsided — the fever effect made the attention deficit disorder go away. For a few days.

Have you ever noticed that having a fever reduces your child’s ADHD symptoms?

Natalie crawled into bed with me at 5:30 Thursday morning. “I think I have a fever,” she said. Sure enough, she was broiling. On Friday, the fever persisted, and in addition, Nat complained of a sore throat. A trip to the pediatrician’s office resulted in a positive strep test. My poor baby.

While I’d never wish a fever on my child or anyone else’s, I’m always amazed by the improvement in Natalie’s ADHD symptoms when she has a fever.

She and I looked through dog books from her school library for over an hour. We watched TV. Nat usually can’t hold still long enough to read or watch TV for very long. No impulsive behaviors. No messes. No fits. Lots of snuggles.

When I gave Natalie Advil, and it took the fever away, my usual girl with ADHD reappeared, and there was no keeping her quiet. We ended up playing outside for a couple of hours, despite her sickness. As the Advil wore off and her fever came back, she calmed down again.

I may be wrong, but I could swear that the changes I see in Natalie when she has a fever are more than just the illness slowing her down. I wish there was something researchers could learn from this fever phenomenon.

Thanks to a few doses of Amoxicillin, Natalie is much better. She’s ready to return to school, and I’m ready to return to work. I’m glad, of course, but at the same time, wouldn’t it be nice if the fever-effect (minus the fever) was available by prescription for the treatment of ADHD?

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