Do Children Grow When They Have a Fever?
From generation to generation, grandparents have long held the belief that children grow when they have a fever… as if it were a sign of a growth spurt. Despite the longevity of this theory, is there actually any truth to it? Is it fact or fiction? We’ll tell you all you need to know about this popular belief.
Sleep and growth
Sleeping and proper rest are important elements that we all need, especially when it comes to children. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to alterations in a child’s development and other consequences.
Sleep consists of different phases that make up cycles that repeat throughout the night. Each cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes. The correct completion of these cycles is important for a child’s proper physical and mental development.
What’s more, sleep is directly related to growth. This is because, during sleep, children’s bodies produce a high concentration of the growth hormone.
You may also want to read: Fever Accompanied by Drowsiness in Children
What is the growth hormone?
The growth hormone is released by the hypophysis – also known as the pituitary gland. This is a small part of the brain that’s responsible for the production of different hormones.
Our bodies don’t just produce the growth hormone during childhood but throughout our entire lives. It’s responsible for regulating growth after birth and metabolism. Below are some of its functions:
- Increasing height in children and adolescents
- Increasing bone formation by stimulating calcium retention
- Enhancing the formation of proteins and the destruction of fat
- Stimulating the growth of organs, except the brain
A lack of this hormone in children produces, principally, shorter stature and a delay in sexual maturity.
What occurs when children have a fever? Do they grow?
It appears that there are two reasons behind the popular belief that children experience growth spurts when they have a fever:
- Fever stimulates the production of the growth hormone.
- In periods of fever and convalescence, in general, the number of hours that children sleep is greater. This occurs because our defense cells produce cytokines, which are molecules that, among other things, make us tired.
Both factors cause the body to produce a greater amount of the growth hormone in these stages. But does that mean that children who have fevers more often will become taller than those who hardly get sick? Absolutely not.
A child’s height depends on many factors, such as genetics, nutrition, and the environment… But a child won’t become taller just from sleeping more hours or having a fever more often .
You may also want to read: How to Naturally Check for a Fever in Children
It’s very important for children to get enough rest. The right amount of rest will help our little ones to develop correctly, both intellectually and physically.
At the same time, we’ve come to the conclusion that many times, sayings and popular beliefs do actually have a physiological explanation. But that doesn’t mean they’re always 100% accurate.
Rather than believing everything you hear, look for a true and trustworthy explanation… especially when it comes to your child’s health .It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Lu, M., Flanagan, J. U., Langley, R. J., Hay, M. P., & Perry, J. K. (2019). Targeting growth hormone function: strategies and therapeutic applications. In Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy (Vol. 4, Issue 1). Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41392-019-0036-y
- Guillemin, R., & Gerich, J. E. (1976). Somatostatin: Physiological and Clinical Significance. Annual Review of Medicine, 27(1), 379–388. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.me.27.020176.002115
- ¿Crecen los niños cuando están enfermos? (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2020, from https://www.infosalus.com/salud-investigacion/noticia-crecen-ninos-cuando-estan-enfermos-20180112082033.html
- Fiebre y crecimiento, ¿mito o realidad? – Living Suavinex. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2020, from https://www.suavinex.com/livingsuavinex/fiebre-y-crecimiento/