Children Under Stress Develop More Fevers
: "Children whose parents and families are under ongoing stress have more fevers with illness than other children. Published this month in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the study also shows the unanticipated conclusion that children's natural killer cell function, part of the body's innate immune system, increases under chronic stress, unlike adults, whose function is decreased.
'These findings are somewhat surprising to me but also exciting because they show us possible new avenues for improving children's health,' said Mary Caserta, M.D., principal investigator of the study and associate professor of Pediatrics in the division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Rochester Medical Center. 'I figured families under stress might think their children were sick more often when they actually weren't, but fevers are not subjective. These kids living with chronic stress in their families really were sick more often.'
While an illness with a fever isn't necessarily any worse than an illness without one, it does point to an objective sign of illness, often an infection, Caserta said. This suggests an association between family stress and susceptibility to infectious diseases."