Would you believe the most over treated health symptom of all is...... A fever? According to Dr. Mercola and many other health officials having a fever is not the big deal people think it is and in fact, allowing a fever to run it's course has health and wellness benefits that are still going unnoticed. 

There is a common misunderstanding that a fever can be hazardous particularly for  children.  However, what you need to know about a fever is when the body's primary defense mechanism - the immune system- fail, a fever becomes the backup defense.  Many infectious agents are not able to survive at elevated temperatures so the body naturally increases it's temperature in order to fight the infection.  This is a healthy response to an infection. The body actually has health and wellness automated responses - it's important that we allow those responses to work before we jump into over the counter medicines.

Parents who are treating their kids for fever will give toxic doses of fever reducing medications in order to get their child's fever under control.  This is so unnecessary because the reality of the situation is that the child's temperature is required in order to heal the infection.  Some parents will give aspirin at the first sign of a fever.  This poses a far greater health risk than any fever and aspirin can cause the lethal Reve's Disease.  A mixture of aspirin and fever reducing medications can also be lethal.

The Benefits

There are two functions of a fever. The first is to stimulate the immune system.  The second is create an unwelcoming environment for the invading organisms - in other words escalate the heat to where the organisms cannot survive.

When your first line of defense is not able to manage the attack of the invading organisms, your macrophages will recruit other immune systems cells (Interleukin One) - these signal the body to raise the temperature. Pretty amazing how the body as a team, utilizing each others strengths to protect itself when it is weak.

The body has an internal thermostat known as the hypothalamus.  When the Interleukin One, endogenous pyrogens and proteins reach the hypothalamus, the heat (your temperature) will begin to readjust itself, in turn, readjusting your temperature.

So the idea that a fever is actually a health and wellness response as opposed to a negative health factor that needs to be gotten rid of the instant it appears, is much better thinking. When the body's heat is raised to 102-103 F, this is the ideal range that gives the most power to kill unwanted microbes. 

And, fever has several other health and wellness benefits as well.

1.  Creates more anti-bodies

2.  Produces more white blood cells to ward off invading microbes

3.  Produces interferon - these stop the spread of viruses to healthy cells.

4.  Wards off iron which bacteria feeds on.

So when is medical attention required?  According to Dr. Mercola:

1.  Infants less than a month old must have care immediately if the fever is greater than 100.4 F.  Because breast milk creates anti-bodies, it is recommended that the infant be breast fed as often as he desires - this is a good thing if you are waiting for an appointment.

2.  Infants from 1-month to 3-months-old, with a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees F, if they appear ill. Again, breastfeed on demand while waiting for care. 

3.   Children between 3 months and 36 months, with a temperature above 102.2 degrees F, if they appear ill. 

4.  All age groups -- temperature over 104.5 degrees F. 

5.  A fever that is not breaking after 3-4 days in adult and child.

And of course, Dr. Mercola shared with me the best way to treat a fever.

Fever Treatment

 Dr. Mercola expresses that instead of working against the body's natural way of protecting itself by trying to cool a fever,  one should consider allowing the fever to take it's course and do it's duty.  The only time you need to worry or seek medical attention is if it rises very high, very fast. This could be a sign of an infection too serious for your body to handle. 

Naturopathic physicians suggest fasting or limiting meals to broths and water.  This is because fever slows down peristalsis. Peristalsis is found in the contraction of smooth muscles to send contents through the digestive tract. Once your fever has broken, you can start eating solid foods again.  Plenty of rest will also be extremely beneficial in  supporting Fever.

So the next time a fever arises, lesson the panic, lesson the meds and allow your body to work it's magic by allowing the fever to take it's course and heal.  Remember to get plenty of rest and eat soups and broths, plenty of water. To help keep your immune system strong consider a health and wellness way of life by eating a wholesome diet on a regular basis.  This is particularly easy to accomplish if you embrace an eating plan that fuels the body with all the good stuff real foods have to offer.

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