As parents, many of us tend to panic when our child has a fever, worrying that our child might not recover or might end up suffering from a seizure. Many of us give our child Tylenol or Advil without realizing that fevers have an important purpose and suppressing them with these medications can actually cause more harm than good. How does the body benefit from having a fever?
It is our immune system that creates fevers. Fevers are created to slow down pathogens. The germ, bacteria or virus causing a fever wants to replicate every few minutes. When we bring a fever down, we are giving free license to the germ, virus or bacteria to proliferate! Fevers slow down the spread and severity of illness. They do this by causing acute inflammation in the body, which in turn detoxifies our bodies and eventually heals us. Drugs cool down fevers in the short term but when the drugs wear off, we usually find that our child’s fever is worse than it was before. In the long run, fever-suppressing drugs weaken our immune system and increase our propensity for allergies, asthma and other chronic inflammation, not to mention the fact that drugs deplete our bodies of vital good bacteria needed to avoid all illness.
“Fever is the healing flame, the great cleanser of the body, and a critical part of developing a child’s immune system. An immune system that is vigorously exercised through fevers in childhood is a much stronger and more able adult immune system than one that has been suppressed…” Dr Philip Incao, MD
Do fevers cause seizures?
A high fever is considered to be between 104 and 105 degrees. 95% of children that have a high fever do not get a seizure and kids who get a febrile seizure often don’t have that high of a temperature. And febrile seizures do NOT cause permanent brain damage. A high fever does make the metabolism run fast and increase the risk of dehydration.
What is the best way to treat fevers?
- Our bodies need to be hot to burn out illness, so dressing our child warmly is recommended. In healing traditions around the world, children are wrapped in blankets when they have a fever
- Clear warm liquids (water, chicken or vegetable broth, diluted fresh fruit juice) are important so the warmth of the fever can circulate throughout the body, hydrate the body and eventually flush out the toxins.
- Coconut water is the ideal drink for replacing electrolytes.
- A true symptom-relieving medicine shares in the work that the symptoms are doing in cleansing the body. This is what homeopathic or herbal medicine can do. The common homeopathic remedy used for fever is Belladonna. Herbs, such as peppermint, help children “sweat it out.”
- Fever depletes the body of Vitamin A and Vitamin A is a main nutrient for helping our immune system, so a spoonful of cod liver oil, when the fever is high, helps replenish those stores.
In my opinion, there is no paradigm that is in more urgent need of revision as our understanding of and approach to childhood illness. Please pass this post onto your friends and help others look at fever in a new way.
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