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What should you do for a fever? The old joke is, "Nothing. What has it done for me?"
Actually, a fever
probably has done a lot for you. Your body successfully fights many
illnesses by creating a fever. Remember, your body made that fever, and there
is probably a benefit. Robert Mendelssohn, M.D. routinely told patients to
throw away their thermometers. Ancient medical wisdom says, "Give me a
fever and I can cure anything." Years ago, at
So what do you do for a fever? Well, first do nothing at all. If it runs its course in a day or two, let it be.
If a fever is very high for very long, though, there is genuine cause for concern and for action. Many days of a fever in excess of 104 degrees might result in heat seizures, kidney failure or a variety of other complications. Fevers are not the trouble; they are the indicator of trouble. We need to deal with the cause of the fever and the fever will take care of itself. When I walk indoors shivering on a winter's day, I do not want muscle relaxants or pain killers. I want warmth. Get me warm, and my teeth will stop chattering on their own. It is good to know WHY the body has a fever.
In our house, we will accept a daytime fever up to 103.5 degrees without medication. We like to see it under 102 at night. This mostly comes from our worrisome nature as parents. When our kids were very little, we slept a lot better knowing the fever was down before bedtime. To reliably lower the fever, we used vitamin C and plenty of it.
The biggest plus for vitamin C is that it is remarkably safe. Another advantage of high-dose vitamin C therapy is that, while it is an excellent antipyretic, vitamin C acts as a natural antibiotic and also strengthens the immune system. Vitamin C lowers a fever by eliminating its cause. The vitamin must be given very frequently and in sufficient quantity to get results. When sick, I think one should take vitamin C as often as humanly possible, even every ten minutes if necessary. Bowel tolerance and/or cessation of symptoms indicates sufficient quantity.
Bed rest and liquids have always been and still are very helpful. Instead of water or worthless sugar "juice drinks," I suggest you use freshly made vegetable juices. Carrot juice in particular is fairly tasty and loaded with carotenes. Many fevers are accompanied by infection. Infection rapidly depletes the liver of its vitamin A reserves. Carotene is the cheapest and safest way to take in large amounts of provitamin A, which the body will convert into retinol on demand. Deficiency and toxicity are therefore both avoided.
Of course a sick body needs sleep. A niacin supplement will shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and actually act as a natural sedative. No more niacin should be taken at a time than causes a slight warm feeling, or "flush."
Homeopathy may be very appropriate to try during a fever. Non-prescription homeopathic preparations have a nearly two hundred year history of safety. They are so dilute that toxicity is next to impossible. One might wonder how something so safe can be so helpful to the body. It was during a major outbreak of scarlet fever that homeopathic medicine first received validation. Records showed that more patients survived with homeopathic treatment than did with conventional medicine.
Two classic remedies that we've often used at home are microdilutions of Belladonna and Ferrum Phosphate. Because homeopathy emphasizes treatment of the person as a whole, there is not just one "fever remedy." In fact, in Boericke's Materia Medica, Ninth Edition, there are no fewer than 14 PAGES of indexed references on "fever." Don't be put off by such thoroughness, however. A simple guide to the handiest remedies will be quickly found in The Prescriber, by J. H. Clarke, M.D. Homeopathic Medicine at Home, by Maesimund Panos, M.D. and Jane Heimlich is also popular. I'm especially keen on Dr. Schuessler's Biochemistry, by J. B. Chapman, M.D. and Who is Your Doctor and Why, by Alonzo Shadman, M.D. All these books contain practical dosage information. You may have noted that all are principally authored by medical doctors. To irrelevantly quote opera comedian Anna Russell: "I'm not making this up, you know."
Many a fever is relieved by chiropractic adjustment of the upper vertebrae of the neck. It is common to have a feverish child recover much more rapidly than usual after treatment. It certainly helped our kids, and that's what matters to me.
There is a lot of unnecessary confusion over whether or not to feed a fever. Naturopathic theory holds that controlled, therapeutic juice fasting promotes recovery from many illnesses. We are not talking starvation, but rather a pause from our usual pattern of OVER-eating. Juices, especially raw vegetable juices, actually provide above-average nourishment for days at least. One could easily show that vegetable juice fasting really isn't a "fast" at all. It is an especially healthful, inexpensive, natural, uncooked, modified liquid diet. If you want results fast, then fast for results.
Philosophically, does it make sense to put more gasoline into a burning car? First, put the fire out. We can fill up the tank later.
If all the above options
seem like a medical walk on the wild side, keep in mind that even one good
idea can help your child get well a little faster.
Copyright C 2005, 2003 and prior years Andrew W. Saul.
Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )
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