Since ancient times, we have known that the body’s reaction to an infection is to increase our body temperature. Although the physiological mechanism for a fever was not well understood, the need for hyperthermia was respected to allow the body to heal itself. A recent article published in the November 2011 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, reports that scientists have found evidence that helps to better explain why a fever may actually be beneficial.
Originally, it was believed that creating a higher environmental temperature would slow down the replication of the bacteria or virus. Recently more evidence suggests that the increase in temperature helps specific immune cells to work better. The white blood cell known as CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell which is capable of destroying virus-infected cells and tumour cells has enhanced activity in the fever state. Knowing these new facts, popping the first thing in your medicine cabinet may be doing your body more harm than good.
In most adults, an oral temperature above100°F(37.8°C) or a rectal or ear temperature above101°F(38.3°C) is considered a fever. However, not all fevers are the same: in children, the level of fever does not necessarily correspond with the degree of illness. A child with a mild cold may have a fever of104°F(40.5°C), while a child with a serious illness may have only a fever of100°F(38°C). A child has a fever when his or her rectal temperature is100.4°F(38°C) or higher. Regardless, you should always consult your paediatrician when your child is having a fever.
No matter the cause of the fever, be sure to stay well hydrated. For an easy at home treatment option, try the ‘Warming Socks’ treatment below.
If you’re unsure what to do when you have a fever, always consult with your health care provider.
Warming Socks – good to stimulate your immune system and circulation to fight off the virus or bacteria. Warning – this sounds uncomfortable, but is actually really nice and helps you to get a nice deep relaxing sleep!
- Do this before bed
- Soak a pair of cotton socks in cold water (low-cut cotton socks up to ankle). Ring out socks well. Alternatively, use very strong (cold) mint tea.
- Sit on your bed
- Put these cotton socks on
- Put a pair of thick wool socks over the cotton socks. You want the wool socks up to your calves.
- Lay down and rest!
Thanks to Dr. Andrea Proulx ND for this great, informative blog post!