The following excerpts are taken from Dr. Mercola’s article titled “How to Kill a Cold, Starve a Fever — and When You Absolutely MUST See a Doctor.” My comments are labeled as UCHM below.
“It could be just a little twitch or an irritating itch, but whatever it is, when it’s happening to your body and you don’t know what’s causing it, it can be downright scary. The good news is that lots of scary symptoms are really no big deal.”
“I agree that the symptoms addressed in (their) article are typically harmless and nothing to worry about, but I would add that any time you experience any kind of new or bothersome symptom, know that it’s your body’s way of communicating that something is not quite right, and that you may need to make some changes – especially if it’s a recurring symptom, regardless of how harmless it may be.”
UCHM: Something I am continually learning is how to listen to my body when it’s giving me a certain symptom. Sometimes it may be a deficiency in a certain mineral or vitamin. Other times it may be that I need to double up on my water intake. Other times it was just something I ate that caused my body to make me feel “off.” Or even an unknown food allergy. I’ve learned the importance of listening to your body and trying to find the CAUSE rather than masking the symptom.
“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.”
UCHM: I have another blog post about this for later, but basically, the key to preventing ALL types of diseases is a healthy immune system. If you can build and keep a STRONG immune system, you may very well never face cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, etc. I know that’s a pretty bogus statement, but a healthy, strong immune system really is the key to disease prevention!
“If you are still under the impression that having a fever over 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.”
UCHM: When I sit back and think about it… Wow, it really is AMAZING how perfectly designed God created our bodies. Yes, we live in a fallen world and there is sickness and disease. But our bodies have amazing healing mechanisms in place. One of which is the fever! Our body really heats things up to kill off infection. So when we take fever-reducing drugs we are prohibiting our body from killing off the infection it’s trying to fight.
“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.”
“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.”
UCHM: So neat… Your body turns up the heat to make an inhospitable environment for invading organisms!
“If your macrophages – your first line of defense – are unable to manage the invasion of disease-causing microbes, they recruit other immune system cells and start making Interleukin One (IL-1). IL-1 is one of several endogenous pyrogens – they’re part of a system that signal your body to raise your temperature.”
“Your hypothalamus acts as your internal thermostat, and once the IL-1 along with other endogenous pyrogens and proteins reach your hypothalamus, it starts to readjust your temperature.”
UCHM: Go hypothalamus!
“Your body’s heat-generating mechanisms include:
* The hormone TRH
* Piloerection (when your body hairs stand on end). This suppresses sweating (which is a cooling mechanism).”
“It would be far more helpful to think of a fever as a healing response rather than a symptom of disease. And, raising your body’s temperature to between 102 to 103 degrees F is actually the ideal range of a fever because this is the temperature range in which microbes will be killed.”
UCHM: I know it’s hard, but us Mama’s need to remember the above paragraph next time we have a sick little one. Fever is often a healing response and 102 to 103 is actually ideal!
“In addition to directly killing the microbes through heat, fever has a number of other benefits, including:
* Creating more antibodies — 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
UCHM: One MORE reason to breastfeed! And older babies can REALLY benefit from breastfeeding too, especially during sicknesses. What an awesome boost for their little immune systems!
“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.”
UCHM: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, You make me happy, when skies are gray…”
“(In addition, 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).”
“Again, remember that any time your health suffers a set-back, whether it’s temporary or chronic, it is your body’s way of communicating to your conscious awareness that something has become unbalanced.”
UCHM: Listen to your body and give it what it needs!
“Correcting this unbalance, more often than not, involves making some form of lifestyle intervention or change, as opposed to taking drugs, which will only push your body into an even more unbalanced state.”
UCHM: It can sometimes be hard, but try and find the CAUSE, and not just mask the symptom that your body is giving you.
UCHM: My little list of some things that are sure to help your health…
-Water! Drink plenty, drink often, drink pure!
-Vitamin D- Get outside and get some sun!
-Garlic- Chop a clove up finely and swallow with water- RAW!