THE HEALING POWER OF FEVER- There seems to be a lot of confusion over exactly what a fever is and what it does. For most people, a fever is simply an inconvenient symptom, like a headache or the sniffles, and they take medications to bring it down. Physiologically, this is a bad practice.
Fever is actually the body’s way of killing off invaders. To illustrate this point, imagine thieves invade your house, but little do they know that your house is booby trapped. As soon as the bad guys enter, you seal off the doors and turn the heat up slowly, to the point where the house won’t catch on fire, but the invaders slowly overheat, dehydrate and die.
In addition, you have a second booby trap activated by the first. When the temperature in your house reaches a certain point, it triggers the release of killer robot dogs that are unaffected by the heat. These killer robot dogs attack and kill the already weakened, overheated, smothering, dehydrated thieves that have invaded your house.
YOUR BODY- Your body works the same way – when a bacteria or virus enters, it slowly heats the body up until the invaders start to slowly die off, but not so hot or so fast that it damages the body. If your fever went up really high very quickly, it would kill all of the invaders off at once, but this would also damage the body. So instead, the fever goes up slowly and kills the invaders off over the course of a few days to a week or so. Imagine being stranded in the desert and slowly overheating and dying of thirst.
In addition, once the fever hits 101-102 degrees, the second booby trap is sprung – there is an automatic trigger in the body at this temperature that causes the release of white blood cells and antibodies to attack the invaders. Just like the attack robot dogs, these healing chemicals are immune to the effects of heat, and attack the weakened invaders. Imagine being stranded in the desert for 3 or 4 days and then getting attacked by wolves.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP- The main danger of fever is dehydration. Make sure you stay hydrated, especially if the fever gets to 103 or higher, as the risk of dehydration gets more likely. Additionally, if the person ever seems incoherent or says things that do not make sense, this is a clue that the fever might be too high. Take steps to lower a fever if you or your child is uncomfortable, vomiting, dried out (dehydrated), or not sleeping well. Remember, the goal is to lower, not eliminate, the fever.
With high fever, it is likely that you could have the flu. In that case, letting it run its course is fine, and a good idea, but watch for the development of lung problems. Pneumonia can be a deadly side effect of the flu, especially for very young or very old people.
THE DANGER OF OVER-TREATMENT- Bringing a fever down inhibits the body’s ability to handle the invaders on its own. If that is done often enough, the body ends up with a weak “invader fighting system”. In the end, this means the body’s ability to fight the big fights, like cancer and autoimmune diseases is reduced.
Some of the old time medical doctors used to claim that the people most likely to get cancer were the ones that never let their body fight off colds or the flu, and always brought fevers down right away. They claimed fevers burned off not only the cold or flu virus, but also anything else that may be growing. Additionally, they believed that people who never let their bodies fight off invaders on their own developed weak immune systems that, later in life, couldn’t mount a strong offense against tougher invaders.
For more information on fever, check out the National Institutes of Health web article at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003090.htm
Hope this helps,
Dr Matt and Dr Robin
This week’s bit of Useless Information: Rich people in China often hire body doubles to serve their prison sentences.
This email is courtesy of Matthew Barnes, D.C. and Robin Barnes, D.C. Neither this nor any of our emails are intended to be medical advice and should not be taken as such. They are opinion and are for informational purposes only. None of the nutrients discussed here are meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.