Mastitis Does Not Always Include a Fever

I honestly can’t remember how many times I experienced mastitis as a mother of six. I for sure had more than my share, and for sure have learned that it isn’t something you want to mess around with. I am pretty certain each time I had mastitis I did have a fever. However, I have seen in a few cases from clients that I have worked with that mastitis does not always include fever. It is always recommended to be seen by a specialist if you aren’t sure or your symptoms do not improve within 24 hours.

Recently I visited a new mom that had been given bad advice by her doctor’s office over the phone and was told that as long as she did not have a fever she did not have mastitis. Unfortunately, in this case, that was completely incorrect and her mastitis turned into an abscess. It was a good lesson to be learned by all involved. I was called in a week later when she was frustrated that she wasn’t getting better. When I arrived, I was shocked by what I saw. It was apparent that there was a serious infection and that she needed to be seen by a doctor immediately. That day she was admitted to the hospital and put on IV antibiotics for a week. The sad thing is that this story is it could have and should have been avoided.

Here are some recommendations to avoid getting an abscess:

1. Nurse, nurse, nurse and if your baby is not draining the breast well enough make sure and pump and massage that area to help drain the duct that is clogged.

2. Lightly massage your breast towards the nipple while you nurse. Especially in the spot where it is sore.

3. Rest – this is key to helping your body to heal.

4. Dry or moist heat on site. Use heat only if you are sure you don’t have an abscess.

5. Ice to help with inflammation and pain reduction.

6. If the above suggestions don’t clear up the pain and flu-like symptoms within 24 hours, please see a lactation consultant and/or your doctor immediately.

If you are having reoccurring mastitis, here is a great link for things to look for to decrease chances of mastitis:

http://www.llli.org/faq/repeatmastitis.html

It is clear that bad advice was given to this poor mom over the phone. For some reason, this mom’s infection did not cause her to have a fever. It is crucial that if you are not feeling well and your breast has a red spot that is not getting better that you seek medical help. In this case, this mother was lucky that she did get medical attention when she did. It could have been life threatening had she continued to wait it out. Always listen to your body. If something doesn’t seem right, be seen by a lactation consultant and/or physician.