Fevers are one of the most misunderstood bodily responses. They get a bad rap and cause panic when in reality they are necessary and a positive sign the body’s immune system if functioning properly to protect your body from foreign invaders. Today I felt it was the perfect time to break down the ins and outs of a fever so the next time you encounter one, you know exactly what to do.
As I write this, I am in bed with my youngest as she battles a fever. She’s listless, shivering and completely disinterested in food. I know her body is working hard right now. It’s fighting something that is desperately trying to take hold of her. I am sticking close to her, monitoring her fever every 5 minutes or so but I am grateful her immune system is seriously trying to protect her.
Fevers are so often feared. Among many moms, fevers are something to break immediately with over the counter drugs like Tylenol. Often times suppressing a fever is actually allowing a virus free reign to wreak havoc. Breaking a fever is interfering with our body’s natural defense, making an illness inevitable.
The Purpose of a Fever:
- Stimulate the body’s immune system.
- Kill microbes.
Many infectious agents do not survive in higher temperatures so your body increases the temperature in order to kill the infection.
In addition to killing the microbes through heat, fever serves more purposes, such as:
- Creating more antibodies. Antibodies are cells trained to specifically attack the exact type of invader that your body is presently suffering from — produced more specific to that bug than any pharmaceutical.
- Producing more white blood cells to fight off the invading microbes.
- Producing more interferon which block the spread of viruses to healthy cells.
- Walling off of iron, which bacteria feeds on.
When to Break A Fever:
A fever below 103 is not something I typically worry about. While it will make a person very lethargic and kill the appetite, this is completely normal. The body’s energies are going to fighting a bug. Sleeping allows the body to focus. If the body has to exert energy to digest food, it can not exclusively fight a pending illness. This is were “starving a fever” comes into play.
When my daughter’s fever spikes up and down from 100-104 I tend to closely monitor but not intervene. Spiking is normal fever behavior. Staying at a high fever consistently is when you should take notice.
Instead of working against your body and trying to lower your temp., allow the fever to run it’s course. The only time I worry or seek medical attention is if it rises very high, very fast. This could be a sign that an infection is too serious for the body to handle.
When to Seek Medical Attention:
- Infants less than 1-month-old — Seek care right away for fever greater than 100.4 degrees F in this age group. Breast feed as much as humanly possible while waiting for care. Breast milk will 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.
“In children 5 years and under, fever can also lead to a seizure, known as a febrile seizure. Though this can be frightening, it typically will cause no lasting effects. During a febrile seizure, lay your child on his side or stomach on the ground, loosen any tight clothing and support the child to prevent injury. When the seizure stops, you should seek medical attention right away to be sure the seizure was not caused by something other than the fever, such as meningitis or bacteria in the blood.” –Mercola.com
Ways to Break a Fever
- Drink lots of water
- Room temperature bath
- Luke warm wash cloth on the head
- Peppermint Essential Oil on the feet and forehead
- Eat mild or bland foods, especially broths
- Take probiotics
The Cold & Flu Kit:
Oregano – Nature’s strongest Antibiotic
Melaleuca – Proven to fight, bacteria, virus and fungi
Shield – Spark Naturals proprietary blend created to support healthy immune function. Kills bacteria, mold and and virus.
Combine all 3 essential oils in equal amounts in a roller bottle. At the onset of a cold, apply to the soles of your feet plus the big toe every 2 to 3 hours. Continue to use for at least once a day after your symptoms are gone.
And about that Tylenol…. Read HERE.
I know I’m bombarding you with posts on flu and cold this week. This season has been particularly bad for illnesses and as a mom, I know how scary a sick child can be. I just felt I needed to share my methods of getting through illness. I probably don’t need to say this again, but I am not a doctor. I am simply sharing information that works for my family. You must do what you feel is right for you and your family after arming yourself with knowledge. As I always say, no one is responsible for your health but yourself.
This time, Heidi’s temp spiked so high over and over that I was panicked. I ended up giving her the recommended dosage of Tylenol after peppermint oil and a wash cloth weren’t working. I couldn’t get her to drink enough water nor did I want to force her into a tepid bath. Sometimes a fever reducing medication needs to be used in order to stay in the safe zone. Again, rely on your instincts!