Childhood fevers are one of the most common causes for emergency room and urgent care clinic visits every day. And understandably so. It can be frightening to think of our little one's fever getting too high and what it might do.
According to a medical study published in the BMC Pediatrics:
Fever is generally considered harmful by physicians and is treated with antipyretics as it may lead to febrile seizures, stupor, dehydration, increased breathing, discomfort, and tachycardia . (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC194752/)
While these are valid concerns, we have to get rid of all the allopathic medical field's fear-mongering techniques on this topic. They consistently warn of the dangers of febrile seizures and brain damage when the problems with treating a fever are much more prevalant. According to an article from The New York Times:
Other studies have looked at attitudes among medical personnel, who can be just as worried about fever as parents ... Some of the phobia 'comes from doctors and nurses.'
The study above adds:
It is a common practice to treat even low-grade fevers of 101–102F with antipyretics. Home use of antipyretics upon the first signs of a fever is also common. These behaviors have lead to the ubiquitous use of aspirin, acetaminophen, nimesulide, and ibuprofen, which control temperature by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis in the hypothalamus.
The evidence that medical doctors are causing unnecessary fever phobia is best summed up by a doctor himself:
“Doctors do a great disservice to you and your child when they prescribe drugs to reduce fever” says Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, pediatrician and author of How To Raise A Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor. “Fever phobia is a disease of pediatricians, not parents, and to the extent that parents are victimized by it, doctors are at fault.” Parents are left to fear that their child’s temperature will keep rising unless measures are taken to control it . “They don’t tell you that reducing his temperature will do nothing to make the patient well or that our bodies have a built-in mechanism, not fully explained, that will prevent an infection-induced temperature from reaching 106 degrees F (41 degrees C) (3)
Like many other illnesses, I would like to cover this topic on my page because much of the information on it out there is grossly distorted by the medical industry. I see too many parents falling into the trap of over-treating illness instead of letting God's design do it's thing. I used to be one of them!
Disclaimer: I will cover this topic with the use of expert advice and formal research in order to avoid simply stating my personal opinions on it. Please consult with your health professional should questions arise.
Fever Is Part of God's Wonderful Design The first thing we have to understand is that fever is just another of many amazing healing responses God designed our bodies to have. It is a natural, internal medicine!
According to Dr. Marcia Schaefer, it takes a temperature of at least 102 degrees Fahrenheit before the white blood cell cascade that fights off bacteria and viruses can begin. When we try and lower a fever, we prevent this healing cascade.
According to an article from Dr. Mercola,
A basic fever, one due to minor bacterial or viral illness, can be an expression of the immune system working at its best. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/12/17/fever-part-one.aspx)
Suppressing a Fever Interrupts the Natural Immune Process
According to the study from BMC Pediatrics listed above,
There is evidence that [acetaminophen] is also an immunosuppressive agent.
So while a fever helps strengthen the body's natural immune system, treating a fever with acetaminophen can actually cause the body's immune system to be suppressed.
Here are a few examples of studies proving the immunosuppressing problems of treating a fever and prolonging illness:
A study of adults with colds found that aspirin and acetaminophen suppressed production of antibodies and increased cold symptoms, with a trend toward longer infectiousness.
In a study of children with chickenpox, acetaminophen prolonged itching and the time to scabbing compared to placebo treatment.
In test-tube studies, therapeutic levels of aspirin suppressed the ability of human white blood cells to destroy bacteria.
Another study found that a host of pain relievers, including aspirin and ibuprofen, inhibited white-cell production of antibodies by up to 50 percent.
Suppressing a Fever Can Actually Cause Febrile Seizures
Parents’ concerns over a high fever are usually related to the fear of febrile seizures. Ironically, febrile seizures are often the result of using acetiminophen to treat a fever. According to health expert Pat Robinson, Tylenol wears off abruptly and can lead to fever spikes. Fever spikes are the main cause of febrile seizures.
Additionally, doctors and nurses prompt parents of children who have already suffered from febrile seizures to dose up on the acetaminophen. Unfortunately, this practice is not supported by medical research. A 2003 study done by doctors at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, Kent, UK, showed the following:
There is no evidence that antipyretics reduce the risk of subsequent febrile convulsions. (http://www.bestbets.org/bets/bet.php?id=647)
Suppressing a Fever Can Increase Risk of Cancer
Evidence is mounting that proves suppressing a fever can increase a person's risk of cancer. Dr. Marcia Schaefer says:
"By taking an antipyretic or NSAID (Tylenol, ibuprofen) you actually prevent the body from creating tumor suppressor gene – the gene that kills cancer cells. So every time you pop a pill for that fever, you are increasing your risk for cancer, because you are not allowing the body to do what it does best – heal."
In Dr. Mercola's article linked above:
Fever increases the amount of interferon (a natural antiviral and anticancer substance) in the blood.
At this point, it should come as no surprise that interfering with God's natural design is a good way to cause additional problems, especially when that interference involves man-made medicine. The more I research, the more I see this to be the case.
That being said, there are occasionally situations that require the analysis of a medical professional.
Dehydration is the most prominent danger in the case of fevers. In order to prevent this from happening and requiring medical treatment, parents can simply be sure to keep a child with fever very well hydrated. Breastmilk is the best thing for babies. Coconut water is a great source of natural electrolytes that does not contain all of the artificial food dyes and sugar found in conventional children’s electrolyte products.
Broth, tea, kombucha/kefir, and water are also great ways to keep a child with a fever hydrated. Frequent small sips are best. Avoid meats and high-protein foods if possible as they may raise the body’s temperature.
In addition to ensuring adequate hydration, there are additional ways you can encourage a child's body to heal without suppressing the fever:
1. Avoid sugar and products with sugar. This includes conventional breakfast cereals, many crackers, desserts, and even energy bars. Sugar will suppress immune function. In fact, studies have proven that a person's immune system will weaken to a level directly corresponding with their level of sugar intake and the effect lasts for up to 5 hours after consumption.
2. Utilize the power of natural vitamins! Vitamin D3 should be supplemented daily and Vitamin C should be used in megadoses for around three days.
Dr. Mercola recommends the following Vitamin D amounts:
Below 5: 35 units per pound per day Age 5 - 10: 2500 units Adults: 5000 units Pregnant Women: 5000 units
Adjust accordingly for children during an illness.
For Vitamin C, doses of 500 mg (1/2 gram) of vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can be used (dissolved in water/smoothies) for children (and 1,000 mg for adults) every hour until symptoms subside. Orthomolecular expert Andrew Saul recommends taking it “to bowel tolerance,” meaning taking as much as can be tolerated without having diarrhea. That is the level where the body and its tissues will achieve “saturation” of vitamin C.
For an in-depth dosage chart and additional information, go here: http://www.doctoryourself.com/klenner_table.html
When To Seek Treatment
Dr. Mercola recommends that a baby under 3 months old with a fever should be taken to see a medical professional. Additionally, a fever that lasts for more than three days or gets higher than 104 degrees should receive a medical analysis as well.
In every other situation, research is proving that allowing God's design to do exactly what He designed it to do is the best treatment.
For more in-depth information on fevers, including febrile seizures during fever, read this article: http://www.whale.to/a/west8.html)