The Healing Power of Fever
people find it surprising that fever can be considered a friend and
ally rather than something that should be thwarted.
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|As a general rule
fever is considered something bad that needs to be fought. In reality
it is the result of the effort made by the body to defend itself
against an infection or a poison.
Fever is the expression of this protective work. The intensified functioning of the various organ systems involved in the defense response heats up the body, hence the rise in temperature. Striving to eliminate a fever amounts to opposing the body’s natural defense mechanisms; in other words, countering the healing efforts that are implemented as nature intended.
Strictly speaking, we are dealing with fever when—because of an illness—the body’s core temperature rises more than 1.8 degrees above its normal temperature.
When the temperature range falls between 99.5˚F and 100.4˚F, we are dealing with a sub-feverish condition or febricule. The onset of genuine fever is defined as starting at 100.4˚F. Fever is more or less intense depending on how much higher than normal body temperature it has become. Temperature in the range from 100.6˚F to 101.3˚F is described as mild fever. Higher than this, up to 102.2˚F is moderate fever. A strong fever is a temperature of 102.3˚F or higher, and a severe fever is 104˚F or higher. While fever spikes of between 105˚F and 107˚F can be tolerated, anything over 109.4˚F will be fatal.
Mild Fever: 100.6˚F to 101.3˚F
Moderate Fever: 101.4˚F to 102.2˚F
Strong Fever: 102.3˚F to 103.9˚F
Severe: 104˚F and higher
During a fever, the temperature of the peripheral layer of the body is the same as the core temperature; whereas, under normal conditions it is always slightly lower. With the core temperature of the body extending all the way to the surface, the entire body is bathed in intense heat, which it can barely tolerate—especially when the temperature is quite high and lasts for extended periods of time.
These high temperatures bring about functional disorders, with disruption of enzymatic activity, blood circulation, cellular exchanges, nerve transmission, and muscular contractions. If severe fever continues, the heat will cause the macro-proteins of the body organs to break down, forming lesions. The lesions will not allow the organ to function properly, and death will soon follow.
Many people find it surprising that fever can be considered a friend and ally rather than something that should be thwarted. But, as we have seen, fever is evidence of the intense labor performed by the body to break down and eliminate toxic substances and germs. Fever is nothing but the consequence of the defensive activity engendered by the body itself as a means of protection. Countering it would therefore be extremely disadvantageous.
During infectious diseases, the salutary effect of fever is twofold. On the one hand, raising the temperature of the body makes the environment untenable for the germs. These high heats are, in fact, fatal to them. Germs can thrive at the regular body temperature of 98.6˚F but let the temperature rise a few degrees to 102˚F, 103˚F, or 104˚F and their living conditions are made adverse to their continued existence. The heat will greatly weaken the germs and severely limit their ability to reproduce.
Fever also alters the living conditions of germs by purifying the terrain, the interior cellular environment of the body. Just like mosquitoes require the stagnant waters of marshes and swamps to thrive, germs need a terrain overloaded with wastes in order to survive and multiply. So, once the biological terrain has been cleansed, it becomes unfavorable for their continued existence and precipitates their disappearance.
Fever is the body’s preferred method for treating itself. Consequently, fevers short goes against common sense. It would amount to hoping a patient can be cured while opposing every attempt that is made to heal them.
Stopping a fever is justified only when the profusion of germs overtaxes the patient’s weakened state. If the germs have multiplied in too high a number and are too virulent, the defenses of the patient may no longer be powerful enough to counter them. There is a risk of irreversible and fatal lesions.
In these extreme cases, which are also extremely uncommon, a treatment based on antibiotics and antipyretics is essential. The antipyretic of febrifuge artificially lowers the temperature of the body and provides relief to the patient. Antibiotics will kill the germs in place of the body’s defense system. In the majority of cases, though, the fever should be respected; the body is fully capable of stamping out the infection with its own forces. The immune system exists precisely for this purpose.
Excerpted with permission from The Healing Power of Fever ©2008 by Christopher Vasey, N.D. published by Healing Arts Press
Available in stores or by visiting www.HealingArtsPress.com
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