We all know by now that normal body heat is 98.6 F and is produced by the body’s internal work being performed 24/7. The heart pumps, the blood moves, the muscles contract, the air is expelled, the hormones are produced, and more. So, fever, or excess body heat, is also produced by the internal workings of the body.
Responding to toxicity or infection, the body relies upon special defense mechanisms that help reestablish normality. Included among these are white blood cell increase and their transport to the needed area; antibody production; increased breathing to provide more oxygen; increased heart rate to pump blood, white blood cells, oxygen, and antibodies throughout the body; and formation of new blood vessels in the areas of infection to allow closer and more effective contact of the white blood cells, antibodies, and oxygen with the foreign elements.
All the above are designed for defense, making fever a state of hyper-functional repair. So, fever is then not a problem to be cured, but the result of the problem and an essential part of the cure. Like Hippocrates said, “Give me a fever and I will cure all disease.“ Basically, fever aids in eliminating toxins and helps destroy harmful bacteria.
The bacteria that the fever addresses usually have a narrow optimum temperature range. Being pathogenic, or creating disease in nature, the bacteria live comfortably within a normal range of human temperature and as such can reproduce actively.
As the body’s temperature rises to the upper limits of the bacteria’s range, reproduction time becomes slower and the body’s defenses can then combat them more effectively. At some point in the fever process the body’s defenses will contain and destroy the bacteria faster than they can reproduce. This results in a cure.
All living beings respond to fever in similar ways. They seek a warmer environment. Once a warm, comfortable location has been found they become very inactive and stop eating. Interestingly enough, studies have showed that animals deprived of the ability to move toward warmth or kept active had a slower recovery rate and a higher death rate.
It’s no different in humans. Usually a fever is preceded by a chill, occurring after the temperature begins to rise. It’s an interesting paradox. The chilly sensation usually causes a person to seek warmth in bed, covered with blankets, and wearing socks and even a sweatshirt and sweatpants. The fever also brings with it the desire to rest and reduce all normal activities.
As the fever progresses general weakness and muscular aches encourage this withdrawal and inactivity. Bodily movements become minimal, external stimuli become aggravating, the personality makes one hard to be around, and all concentration is focused on the feverish condition. As the temperature peaks and the sweating begins, the second paradox manifests. In spite of the elevated fever, the aches and chills cease with the onset of sweating and a state of relative comfort takes over.
This withdrawal process is more effective than when medications are used to lower the fever, eliminate the chills and muscular discomfort. Medications usually discourage the desire for warmth, rest, and the abstinence of food. Usually the meds also lengthen the illness duration. The bottom line is to follow the body’s innate intelligence and forgo the meds.
A normal high fever can be anywhere from 104F to 105F, but this does not really indicate the severity. Children, on the other hand, can develop really high fevers in a short period of time due to some fairly harmless bacteria and viruses. With kids especially, a doctor should be consulted for all severe or prolonged fevers.
There are other factors that should be considered as well with fever. How high is the temperature? How long has the temperature lasted? How is the person coping? Is the person sweating?
A normal fever will run anywhere from 1 to 4 days. If longer, it could indicate a weak defense mechanism, or low vitality, and could require a more active approach. Bear in mind that fever and sweating are Siamese twins that should never be separated because the sweating helps expel toxins and keep the temperature regulated. So, if there is a fever and no sweating call a doctor.
In newborns and infants, fevers should never be allowed to get too high and should always be under a doctor’s care. The reason being that their temperature control mechanisms are immature and a high fever could become uncontrollable. Also, fevers in infants climb really quickly and at 106F could pose a serious problem without medical supervision.
Once an investigation is made so that you are sure that the cause of the fever is not serious or life threatening, the following treatments can prove to be beneficial.
The best example of the laws of nature at work is fasting. All animals will fast when ill and infants will refuse food and even breast milk when the have a fever. So, the old saying, “starve a fever and feed a cold” is applicable.
Water is first and foremost; followed by diluted fruit juices, hot water and lemon, juice and/or hot herbal teas to induce sweating. One important thing to remember is to not allow infants to become dehydrated.