Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fevers and Illness

Are fevers dangerous? Actually, no. A fever is the body's response against foreign invaders that come into the body such as viruses and bacteria. When infection is present, the body manufactures additional white blood cells, known as leukocytes. The job of these cells is to fight infection by destroying bacteria and viruses. When those have been destroyed, the white blood cells remove the dead tissue. The activity level of white blood cells speeds up as they move to the site of infection to remedy the problem. This process, called, leucotaxis, is activated by the release of pyrogens which raise the body temperature above normal. Oxygen consumption and metabolic rate increases, also contributing to the increase in body temperature.

The presence of these functions indicates the healing process is working. Bacteria also need iron to survive. In response to this, the body removes iron from the blood to be stored in the liver. The number of bacteria which can multiply is then reduced.

When the body generates a fever, as a general rule, taking antibiotics or over-the-counter medications for pain or fever reduction is not a good idea. Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, a medical pediatrician agrees, "When the body temperature is elevated due to a cold and influenza it may generate a fever up to 105 degrees, but even at that level it is not a legitimate cause for alarm. More important is determining whether a fever is the result of mild infection like a common cold, or a more serious one such as meningitis, is the overall appearance, behavior, and attitude of the child." In the rare instance that a high fever might cause a seizure or convulsions, these episodes usually last no longer than five minutes and will cease without treatment. When the episode is concluded, the person with the fever will usually go to sleep. Upon waking, permanent damage does not result and the person should be fine.

George Wootan, M.D., who wrote Pediatrics: A Course for Parents, stated that the increase in body temperature has nothing to do with the severity of the illness. Body temperature will regulate itself as needed. If temperature elevates, there is a reason and its presence is necessary to fight off infection. Fevers are a powerful defense against disease and it is well-known in intelligent medical circles that fevers activate the immune system in a positive way.

Allowing the body to sustain a fever, in most cases, is not only helpful to fighting off infection but also provides the body a chance to develop natural immunity to the invader causing the illness. This supplies the body with protection for future exposure to bacteria and viruses. The best regimen to follow when you have a fever is to rest, stay adequately hydrated - drink at least eight ounces an hour, eat healthy foods, and keep warm when chills accompany the illness.

Effective, natural treatments for fevers caused by colds, bacteria, and viruses include chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathic, and naturopathic care. For more information on treating your body naturally when you have a fever, visit Doctor Yourself.

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