Friday, September 19, 2014

Fever is Your Friend

In all my years of working with parents and children, I have never understood their fear of fever.  Elevated body temperature is a controlled response to infection.  It results in a modification of the levels of zinc and iron in the bloodstream, which significantly reduces the growth rate of pathogenic bacteria.  Increased temperature also enhances bactericidal activity of white blood cells, and increases their motility.  Increased body temperature shows that the immune system is increasing its efforts to fight infection.  Fever is a good thing.

In years past, parents were led to believe that temperatures above 104 degrees would cause brain damage or seizure disorders.  This is totally false.  Fever is a self-limiting condition.  In other words, the body has an internal mechanism which prevents the temperature from going above 106 degrees.  The only exceptions to this are in the case of poisoning or encephalitis, which disrupt the body's thermal control mechanism.  In these cases, if the fever goes above 106, the fever itself is not going to do any damage, but it is a signal that there is a serious problem which should be further explored.  If the fever is below 106 degrees, the body is simply fighting infection in it's normal manner.  Even when the fever rises, this does NOT mean that the disease is getting worse.  You cannot judge the severity of a disease by the height of the fever.

In some cases, when fever approaches 106 degrees, a few children may experience a febrile seizure.  Studies on febrile seizures show that they cause NO DAMAGE, and are just the brain's way of letting off steam, so to speak.  A child who experiences a febrile seizure is in no way pre-disposed to develop epilepsy, and do not lead to motor defects or death.  (1)(2)(3)

The parents' first instinct is to want to relieve their child's discomfort and reduce the fever.  To this end, they will usually administer fever reducers.  However, these drugs can disrupt the healing process.  Aspirin, acetaminophen and other anti-inflammatory drugs decrease the amount of prostiglandins available to enable the immune system.  The same prostiglandins which enable your immune system to fight infection are the ones that cause you to feel pain and discomfort.  So in the effort to reduce pain, one also inhibits the immune system from fully functioning.

Essential fatty acids are converted into prostiglandins through the use of an enzyme known as d-6-d (delta-6-desaturase).  This enzyme works to convert prostiglandins only when the proper vitamins and minerals are present:  A, B6, C, folic acid, zinc, copper and magnesium.   The essential fatty acids are then turned into prostiglandins which:

Regulate fever
Affect tissue swelling
Affect allergies
Affect shrinking and swelling of nasal mucous membranes
Regulate secretions and their viscosity
Cause pain or stop it
Regulate smooth muscle (such as those in the ear and those that control the eustachian tube)  (4)

Fever reducers such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen prevent these prostiglandins from being manufactured, and therefore reduce the effectiveness of the immune system.
Our diets today are generally deficient in Essential Fatty Acids and full of Trans-fatty Acids.  This is due to the fact that the majority of the American diet is from processed foods.  The fats that are present in uncooked, fruits, vegetables, unprocessed cold-pressed oils, and cold-water fish are the very kinds of oils that help produce prostiglandins.  But our diets are full of partially-hydrogenated oils, margarine, shortening, and other dangerously altered fats.  These fats contribues to illness in a plethora of different ways.

Suffice it to say that the best way to help your child get better is:

A.  Not give fever reducing drugs
B.  Increase the child's intake of foods high in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.  These foods include:

      Salmon, Mackerel, Herring, Sardines, Trout  (I know, but try a supplement if they won't eat it!)
      Flax oil, walnut oil, soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil, pumpkin, eggs, RAW cows milk, RAW unsalted butter, and Mother's milk.

C.  Make sure your child is getting enough A, B6, C, zinc, folic acid, copper, magnesium.
D.  A daily dose of electrically generated colloidal silver should kill any pathogenic microorganisms.

If your child is uncomfortable because of the elevated temperature, help reduce discomfort by:

A.  Bathing the child in tepid water, with a few drops of essential oil of spearmint.
B.  Make sure the child is getting enough fluids.  Push pure, filtered water, cool peppermint or spearmint tea, and fresh juices.  By fresh, I mean freshly juiced within the last 20 minutes and immediately consumed.
C.  A good fresh juice recipe for cleansing the system by invoking an alkaline reaction:
      4 large or 6 medium size grapefruit, juiced
      2 large or 3 medium size lemons, juiced
      Enough oranges juiced, to make two quarts juice altogether.
      Add two quarts of pure water.  This will make a one-gallon juice mixture.  (5)

Let the fever run its course.  Fever is your friend.  No need for medical intervention unless:

Your child seems suddenly to be extremely weak
Your child loses consciousness and cannot be awakened
Your child's voice abruptly changes
Your child complains of neck stiffness
Your child has difficulty breathing (6)

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Copyright 2014  Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living

(1)  Schmitt, B.D. "Fever Phobia," Am J Dis Child.  pp. 176-186, Feb 1980.
(2)  Nelson, K.B. and Ellenberg, J.H.  "Prognosis in Children with Febrile Seizures," Pediatrics May, 1978.
(3)  Mendelsohn, R. S.  How To Have A Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor, Contemporary Books, Inc.,
      Chicago, p. 69, 1984.
(4)  Schmidt, M.A.  Childhood Ear Infections:  What every parent and physician should know about
      prevention, home care, and alternative treatment, North Atlantic Books, Berkley CA, p. 90, 1990.
(5)  Walker, N.W.  Raw Vegetable Juices, Jove Books, New York, p. 120, 1977.

(6) Schmidt, M.A.  Childhood Ear Infections:  What every parent and physician should know about
      prevention, home care, and alternative treatment, North Atlantic Books, Berkley CA, p. 90, 1990. 


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