Fever, Colds, Fatigue
A great number of people have completely misunderstood fever, and believe that fever can be dangerous in and of itself—especially when the fever occurs in a child.
It's important to realize that fever is your body's backup defense mechanism when your primary ones—mainly your immune system—fail. Your first line of defense is your macrophages, which gobble up any invading microbes.
As long as your immune system is strong, you may not even realize you've been exposed to a troublesome bug.
If you are still under the impression that having a fever or 100 or 101 degrees Fahrenheit is an indication of a dangerous situation, relax! It's not!
Many infectious agents do not survive in elevated temperatures so your body increases the temperature in an effort to eradicate the infection. It is a healthy response.
Unfortunately, most parents end up giving their child potentially toxic doses of fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen when, in reality, their child's temperature is ideal for accomplishing healing. Worse yet, there are parents who administer aspirin at the first sign of fever, which actually poses a far greater health risk than any fever could, as aspirin may cause Reye's Disease, which can be lethal.
Mixing aspirin and ibuprofen can also be deadly under certain circumstances.
The Many Benefits of Letting Fever Run its Course
In order to put your worries to rest, it's important to understand the functions a fever serves, and why a rise in temperature is beneficial. Naturopathic physician Colleen Huber has done a marvelous job of explaining this in a previous article on my site, which I've summarized here.
First, the two functions of fever are:
1. To stimulate your immune system.
2. To create an inhospitable environment for invading organisms. That is, to turn up the heat high enough that the invading microbes cannot live.
The Best Way to Treat a Fever
Contrary to popular belief, the best course of action is usually little or no action when it comes to fever.
Rather than working against it; trying to lower your temperature, you should work with it and allow it to run its course. 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.
To support your fever, naturopathic physicians recommend either fasting or eating foods such as broths and water because fever slows down peristalsis. Once your fever has broken, you can start eating solid foods again.
Fever is also best supported with plenty of good-old-fashioned rest.
When is Medical Attention Warranted for a Fever?
* Infants less than 1-month-old—Seek care right away for fever greater than 100.4 degrees F in this age group. While waiting for care, breastfeed as often as the baby desires as your breast milk will also create antibodies against pathogens in your baby's mouth.
* 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.
* Children between 3 months and 36 months, with a temperature above 102.2 degrees F, if they appear ill.
* All age groups—temperature over 104.5 degrees F.
• Other suggestions would include: ice packs on the forehead, running cool water over the
wrists, cool baths and drinking certain herb teas, such as feverfew, cinchona bark, and/or
white willow. Others include meadow-sweet, sea buckthorn, European holly, and
mugwort. A poultice can be made from echinacea root to lower fever. Linden tea can
induce sweating to break a fever. Black elder tea is also good.
• Keep in mind that the fever is not the infection; the infection must be solved, as well as
• Vitamin C and lemon juice are especially helpful. Other nutrients include vitamin A, B
complex, B1, D, calcium, potassium, and sodium.
• There is a loss of protein during a fever. Caloric needs are higher, and metabolism is
increased. Greater fluid intake is required. As fluid is lost, sodium and potassium are lost.
Drink plenty of distilled water; also fruit and vegetable juices. It is important that solid
food be avoided until the fever reduces.
• Nutrient-rich juices are especially helpful: beet juice, carrot juice, etc.
• For a feverish child, embed a grape or strawberry in a cube of frozen fruit juice, and let
him suck on it.
• Never give aspirin to children. It can trigger Reye's syndrome, a potentially fatal
• He needs lots of oxygen. Make sure there is a current of air in the room; open the
window. Get smokers out of the house.
• Wet compresses help reduce temperature. Remove them and apply new ones as he heats
the old ones. Apply them to the forehead, wrists, and calves. Keep the rest of the body
• Cool tap water can be sponged on the skin to dissipate excess heat. Wring out a sponge
and wipe one section at a time, keeping the rest of the body covered. Because of rapid
evaporation, you will not need to dry him with a towel.
• Some people shiver when they have a fever. In such cases, immerse them in a tub of
warm water. This will also lower temperature. For babies, give room-temperature baths.
Sandwich them between wet towels, which are changed every 15 minutes.
• If very hot, remove more covers and clothes; if chilly, add them.
• When signs of fever are gone, be sure to prevent chilling.
• Putting too many clothes on a child can actually cause a fever.
More than 300 different viruses can cause colds, so each time you have a cold it is caused by a distinct virus. It's important to realize that there are currently NO drugs available that can kill these cold-producing viruses.
There are, however, a number of ways to ensure you won't end up with a cold. One of the most important is to make sure you optimize your vitamin D levels year-round (there's compelling evidence that seasonal influenza is little more than a symptom of vitamin D deficiency!)
You need to be aware that antibiotics have no effect on viruses, and are therefore useless when you have a cold, even if it's severe. Not only that, but whenever you use an antibiotic, you're increasing your susceptibility to developing infections with resistance to that antibiotic—and you can become the carrier of this resistant bug, and spread it to others.
The only types of infections that respond to antibiotics are bacterial infections, including sinus, ear and lung infections (bronchitis and pneumonia).
The following symptoms are signs you may be suffering from a bacterial infection rather than a cold virus, at which point you may want to contact your doctor:
* Fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius)
* Ear pain
* Pain around your eyes, especially with a green nasal discharge
* Shortness of breath or a persistent uncontrollable cough
* Persistently coughing up green and yellow sputum
Generally speaking, however, if you have a cold then medical care is not necessary.
Fatigue is a symptom pointing to other problems; it is not a disease of itself. Chronic fatigue is generally caused by a high-fat and refined carbohydrate diet, along with emotional stresss. Any of the following only adds to the exhaustion: drugs, caffeine products, smoking, alcohol, poor eating habits.
Try to obtain adequate rest, exercise, and a well-balanced diet. Exercise everyday outdoor. Try to induce some perspiration. Switch to a vegan vegetarian diet. Drink some wheatgrass juice.