The debate has raged on for many years whether a fever is beneficial or not. Can it be dangerous to let a fever run or should we use medication like Tylenol to treat it? Before we dive into the Science and studies I want to bring your mind back to the amazing body you possess. Unfortunately, we too often act as if our bodies are rogue machines wanting to destroy us from the inside out rather than realizing that our body is an amazing machine that is programmed to heal and if given the right conditions (I believe) CAN heal any disease or condition. The Hypothalamus located in the brain controls your thirst, hunger, and is involved in your sleep and emotional activity but while we seem to trust it with our hunger and thirst and we all understand what it means to feel tired – and that we really should sleep, even if we do not listen! There seems to be a disconnect when it comes to another function of the Hypothalamus, that is our body temperature. It controls your body temperature perfectly and it is the Hypothalamus that triggers, controls and creates responses to fever in the body. We need to understand that a fever is not random, it is not caused by getting wet or cold… it is triggered by the body in RESPONSE TO an issue or concern and it is highly calculated and precise.
The Hypothalamus has a built-in regulator which will NOT ALLOW your body to exceed a lethal temperature. This, however, could possibly be damaged by NSAID’s like Tylenol as well as Vaccines and antibiotics. Research is limited in this scope but we do know all of these directly or indirectly affect the Hypothalamus in a negative way. Fever is activated in response to a serious issue but rather than blame the death on the issue we (modern medicine) ignorantly blame the fever which was actually trying to heal. We will discuss this more after we address some questions with Science.
So let us look at the evidence to support not only the efficacy of allowing a fever but even the wild idea of inducing one and we will also address the possible dangers of hindering it. For the purpose of this article, we will use the term antipyretics for drugs like Tylenol that prevent, hinder or suppress fever. For clarity and transparency, Tylenol is not the only antipyretic it is just the most commonly prescribed.
Risks of Antipyretics in Young Children with Fever
In a Japanese study of young children who were in fever due to an infectious disease, a total of 208 patients between the ages of 6 months and 15 years old were examined. What was interesting is that there was no noticeable difference in body temperature between the treated group (antipyretic) and the control group – meaning antipyretic did not even do what it is intended to do. The conclusion by the researchers was “The data suggest that frequent administration of antipyretics to children with infectious disease may lead to a worsening of their illness.” 1)Risks of antipyretics in young children with fever due to infectious disease.
Another study from Finland – let me just digress quickly to note that most of these studies are outside the USA because any research that goes against big pharma gets suppressed in the USA so other countries often lead in honest research. This is sad but true! This study in Finland looked at 102 children with Salmonella Gastroenteritis. These children were studied for factors that would affect the length of their bacterial infection. The study concluded that they found a “significant correlation between degree of fever and duration of excretion”2)Association of high fever and short bacterial excretion after salmonellosis. A fever greater than 40 degrees C had the shortest duration and when no fever was present (or suppressed) the greatest duration of excretion. The conclusion by the researchers: “Fever therefore appears to have a favourable prognostic influence on the length of salmonella excretion.”3)Association of high fever and short bacterial excretion after salmonellosis.
Respiratory Conditions Affected by Fever and Antipyretics
But isn’t it worth being safe rather than sorry? Okay, so maybe antipyretics like Tylenol don’t always help bring a fever down but Doctors know best so I’d rather my child be safe! If that is how you feel then you really need to read this next study. In a study of 138 children suffering from pneumonia, septicemia and respiratory conditions it was found that the lower the body temperature(in other words no or suppressed fever) increased mortality rate.4)Infection in neonatal hypothermia Another study looking at patients with Acute Respiratory Distress(ARDS) found that “body temperature was a significant predictor of 90-day mortality” and “Higher temperature [fever] was associated with decreased mortality: for every 1°C increase in baseline temperature, the odds of death decreased by 15%“5)Body Temperature and Mortality in Patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Just so you get the importance of this study let me elaborate. An increase in body temperature of about 5 degrees (fever) which scares most people indicates that your body just decreased your chances of dying by 75%. So why do fevers get a bad rap? Do you want to know the truth? One reason: Money! If you can be scared into believing that fevers kill then you will get Tylenol or some fever-suppressant crap to save your child, who wouldn’t? But the reality is that the body is saving your child by creating a fever and big pharma is attacking your child’s chances of survival with a drug that is built on lies! Let me just be perfectly candid with you. Your body is smarter than Tylenol, it knows what it needs to do and if you help and assist rather than hinder you will find healing. Let me make it clear, you should be sane, you NEED to keep your child HYDRATED and a cold cloth on the forehead can be wise. But study after study after study concludes no efficacy in treating children in fever with antipyretics.
“But… wait, my Doctor prescribed my child an antipyretic, they know best I should really trust them and use it” – The Merck Manual states emphatically “Antipyretics do not alter the outcome (of Fever)” – it also states “Treatment is directed at the underlying disorder. Fever in an otherwise healthy child does not necessarily require treatment. Although antipyretics can provide comfort, they do not change the course of an infection. In fact, fever is an integral part of the inflammatory response to infection and can help the child fight the infection.”6)The Merck Manual of Diagnosis & Therapy, 19th Edition Chapter 268. Approach to the Care of Normal Infants & Children pg 2890
Use of Penicillin in the treatment of Strep(GABHS) induced fever
An interesting study looked at 142 children with GABHS. Each of these children was placed in a double-blind randomized study to compare the immediate treatment of Penicillin(antibiotic) versus delaying treatment 48-56 hours. Those children immediately treated with Penicillin had reduced fever, sore throat, headaches, and less pain – these results were significant compared to Aspirin and Tylenol. So antibiotics are the way to go, right? Well, hold your horses just a second… while Penicillin does significantly improve symptoms there are two downsides discovered in this study and others. While symptoms are reduced in those treated immediately with antibiotics, in the month following the initial treatment a recurrence was twice as likely in the immediately treated group compared to those who were treated with Penicillin 48-56 hours later. Recurrence beyond that first month was 8 times more likely in the immediately treated group. What is even more important is that delayed treatment did not increase GABHS spread.7)Adverse and beneficial effects of immediate treatment of Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis with penicillin
So to summarize this study. Antibiotics are great at reducing symptoms early on but increase recurrence, most likely due to drug resistance. Whatever the reason the conclusion is simple. Take antibiotics and you increase your chances of recurrence drastically! Don’t take antibiotics, at least not immediately, and you have no increased threat from strep or the fever. And just to make you feel better nature has literally hundreds of natural antibiotics that create NO resistance, have NO permanent side effects, and only improve immune function rather than suppress it. Just to name a few, Garlic, Ginger, Echinacea, Honey, Goldenseal, Clove, Olive leaf, Oregon grape, Oregano, Grapefruit seed extract, and even Cayenne
Tylenol/Antipyretics Suppress Antibody Response in Virus
In a human study of volunteers infected with rhinovirus, the use of antipyretics like Tylenol was associated with suppression of serum antibody response, increased symptoms and ZERO decrease in shedding. The study concluded that while there was no significant difference the Tylenol treated group had a “trend toward longer duration of virus shedding”8)Adverse effects of aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen on immune function, viral shedding, and clinical status in rhinovirus-infected volunteers.
How Fevers Work
So we talked about the Hypothalamus and how it controls your body temperature but you may take this for granted – your body has such precise control of your body temperature that it will not allow you to go above 42 °C. According to a paper in The World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, there is no evidence that a Fever of 40-42 °C causes any damage to the tissue of the body. It is also concluded that any mortality rate is caused by an underlying disease, not the fever.9)EVIDENCE THAT FEVER IS BENEFICIAL
Fevers have the wonderful effect of destroying the growth of bad bacteria and hindering replication and spread of viruses and infection. Most bacteria can only survive within a specific temperature range and once the body is outside that range the bacteria cannot live long. I want to emphasize strongly that fever is NOT caused by bacteria, infections, disease or anything of that nature, it is caused by the body in RESPONSE to one of these things.
Dangers of Fever
But despite the overwhelming evidence that suppressing a fever increases mortality rates, has no proven efficacy and causes an increase in future disease, the vast majority of pediatricians, over 60% still believe that fevers are dangerous. Why? Because that is what they are taught in school, they never see these studies, they just assume what they were taught is accurate. And what they are taught is sponsored by drug companies… do you really think they are going to give you honest facts on how their drugs are built on lies?
Fever is rarely dangerous but there are times when it can be. A dry fever is very dangerous and very likely to kill you. Think of it like trying to run your car without oil, you are going to be in trouble. Your body runs on water and is made up largely of water. During a fever it is imperative that you drink like a camel and keep yourself overly hydrated, this is important both for sweating and eliminating and overall the healing functions of the body. I must repeat a dry fever is DANGEROUS and can easily be avoided by simply drinking ONLY water and teas. You may add whole fruit/vegetable juices but no sugar added. Absolutely no alcohol, beer, sodas, soft drinks, energy drinks, caffeine or coffee. All of these substances hinder the body in healing. You may add honey but no other sweetener.
Meningitis or Encephalitis can possibly damage the hypothalamus. If you have one of these auto-immune diseases it is imperative that you are on a strict Forks Over Knives or raw diet with no meat, no dairy and no processed foods at all! It is also vital that if you have a fever that you are extremely hydrated and taking in pure herbal teas. Taking Tylenol or Aspirin is VERY DANGEROUS with Meningitis and Encephalitis and increases mortality. Choose an alternative like White Willow tea for pain.
Treatment of Fevers
Any treatment of fever with the main objective to reduce the fever/body temperature is generally a mistake. DO NOT USE ASPIRIN as it can cause Reye’s syndrome in children. Our first instinct with a child is to react by trying to lower the fever as quickly as possible. This is a mistake as the fever is natural and the body is telling us that there are toxic waste and bacteria that needs to be dealt with. We should not ignore but rather work with the body in addressing the CAUSE.
Fevers work in two basic ways.
#1. The Hypothalamus raises the body temperature which in turn increases blood circulation and flow which increases the movement of life-giving nutrients, minerals and immune activity throughout the body. This can greatly reduce fever duration and increase recovery. So the #1 reason for a fever is to get aid to a distressed area quickly. It is kind of like when there is a disaster and the authorities shut down all incoming traffic so they can utilize the thoroughfares for quick and effective emergency response. This is part of a fever response.
A good example of how the body uses this fever is a baby trying to cut teeth. The tooth begins to appear and becomes red, swollen and painful but the issue is not the fever and should you choose to attack the fever with an antipyretic you will greatly increase the suffering of the baby. The issue is simply a lack of calcium, a building block needed for healthy teeth. So when the body realizes it is not able to finish its process it creates a fever to try and quickly grab a source of calcium from somewhere in the body. Often it will take from the bones if necessary. But should the baby be given a natural/herbal source of Calcium the fever will quickly dissipate, the teeth will come through and the swelling will go away. DO NOT GIVE YOUR BABY REGULAR CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT!!! Most calcium supplements are synthetic garbage! It must be from WHOLE food or WHOLE herbs ONLY. Synthetic calcium is DANGEROUS!
#2. Because the blood circulation has been raised the white blood cell activity response doubles with each degree of heat meaning an increase in immune defense.
Natural Treatment During a Fever
Red Raspberry leaf and Yarrow tea
One of the best benefits for cold, flues and fever is Red Raspberry tea. It is a great source of necessary nutrients for immune response including calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron – it is also great for anemics. It contains Vitamin B, C, and E which all influence immune function. Mixing with Yarrow only increases the benefit. This tea works on several levels, first it provides the body nutrients, vitamins and minerals in a very easy way for the body to assimilate and utilize immediately. (unlike the vitamin supplements you get at the store that are mostly synthetic and some even toxic!) – Second, it contains properties that aide immune response, antioxidant, antimicrobial and cytotoxic(to cancer cells). Red Raspberry leaves contain ellagic acid which has been shown in the International Journal of Oncology to cause breast cancer cells to self-destruct without affecting healthy cells.
Hot Lemon Water
Squeeze a whole lemon into a glass of warm/hot water. If you are brave and can handle it add up to a teaspoon of Cayenne. But the Lemon water alone is very beneficial for flues, colds, and fevers. Cayenne is an amazing healer and because it promotes blood circulation it distributes healing nutrients throughout the body to aide all functions.
As the name suggests this herb(flower) has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of fever but unlike Tylenol, it acts in harmony with not against the body. Feverfew is also beneficial in the treatment of headaches, and those associated with the flu and fever.10)Evidence-based guideline update: NSAIDs and other complementary treatments for episodic migraine prevention in adults: report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. One lady had migraines from the age of 16 until 68. At the age of 68, she decided to start taking 3 leaves of Feverfew a day, after 10 months her migraines had completely disappeared. Research studies indicate beneficial outcomes but suggest that 6-12 months of use is needed for cure.11)Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review
Feverfew works great with Red Raspberry and Echinacea. If making tea DO NOT add sugar as this neutralizes the healing power. You can add pure honey to sweeten if needed. Honey is a great healing agent as well. Buy local honey if possible.
Activated charcoal is a great addition to any fever remedy because it assists the body by pulling toxins, chemicals and waste out of your body. It can be mixed into a glass of water and drank. It tastes like dirt but seriously don’t be a wimp! It is one of the best methods of counteracting poisoning and toxic waste – in fact, it is used by hospitals for many conditions including Tylenol overdose. There is no known method or filter in all the world that outperforms charcoal.
Echinacea is an amazing immune booster and very helpful in fighting infections, flu, and colds. It can be used in a tea blend, as a tincture or in capsule form. Unfortunately, any Echinacea sold in a retail store is garbage and much of what is sold in supplement form is mediocre at best. HerbDoc.com offers a great potent Echinacea extract which works wonders. I would recommend Dr. Schulze of HerbDoc.com over any other source.
Do not force food on a child or adult in a fever. Often the child is in fever because of either too much food or bad food. Parents far too often push food on a child thinking that if they don’t eat they will throw up and get weak… but the body needs all its resources to fight so if you force food down their throat they will either throw it up or be forced to process and deal with it, necessarily hindering the work of cleansing and recovery. As the child improves fruit juices, as well as raw and whole fruits, are a good way to start. Citrus, Lemons, Oranges, Tangerines, and Mandarins are perfect and will only aide the body and do good. Do not think that you can take your Super C supplement instead of a Citrus fruit, these supplements are synthetic and GARBAGE and can even cause health problems. Ascorbic Acid IS NOT VITAMIN C but is touted as the same thing. Almost every Vitamin C supplement available in the drug store is synthetic.
As the child is improving avoid all processed food, any heavy foods, chips, snacks etc. Stick to whole plant food for the fastest recovery.
Inducing Fever is it beneficial?
So a fever is not the cause of the problem but rather a solution, a VERY GOOD solution so this begs an obvious question: Can inducing a fever be beneficial? The answer is absolutely if done right.
Several studies in Cancer patients have seen significant improvement with induced therapeutic fever. Several case studies have even shown a complete cure through these fever treatments.12)Safety of Therapeutic Fever Induction in Cancer Patients Using Approved PAMP Drugs
A great way to induce fever safely is through a Ginger bath. Use up to a pound of Ginger in a tub of hot water. Keep the tub as hot as you can take (not scalding) – alternatively you can do a mustard-cayenne bath. Mixing several ounces of Cayenne, Ginger, and Mustard in the bath will do wonders. (some add Epsom salts. This can do no harm) Both will create a similar response to increasing body temperature and making you sweat. It is important that you drink tea the whole time you are in the bath so it is beneficial to have a friend assist you if possible. As you sweat you need to re-hydrate.
The choice of tea is somewhat optional however must be whole herb form with no additives, no caffeine at all which means no decaf! We prefer diaphoretic herbs which will assist in the perspiring and aide in the fever. Herbs such as Yarrow, Blessed Thistle, Chamomile, Comfrey, Thyme, Hyssop, Garden Sage, Catnip, Spearmint, etc. Ensure that the tea is hot for the patient at all times. If the patient becomes light headed a cold towel can be placed on the forehead. The patient will sweat profusely but this is good! After 20 minutes or longer, if the patient can handle it, the patient should get out wrap in a blanket or towel and get in bed. The patient will usually continue sweating for another 45 minutes or so. After an hour or when the sweating stops the patient can take a shower and wash off the toxins and sweat that has come to the surface. The patient should feel sleepy and it is okay for the patient to sleep for several hours – the patient may feel like taking another shower and this will be advised. Some patients will sleep all night through without waking, this is good for the body. Ensure water/tea is readily available. NOTE: During the bath and after the patient must be well hydrated. While in the bath drink cup after cup of tea, this is vital to ensuring the body stays hydrated and assisting in the immune response.
In most cases, you will sleep very well after this treatment and feel much better in the morning. In some cases, the flu/fever will be completely gone but in almost all cases it will be greatly improved. If you have a heavy toxic load you will usually feel a much greater relief.
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