In Favor of Fevers!

Cold and Flu Season is coming!

We may love fall in the South because it gives us a brief respite from the blistering summer heat before we go into what can be very cold winters. Granted, fall only lasts for a few weeks, but the rapid changes in temperature from morning to night and from day to day can really wreak havoc on our immune systems, making us more susceptible to the common cold and the more sinister flu. 

I came across this great article titled "The Case for Letting Fevers Run Their Course" by Paul A. Offit over at The Daily Beast that summarized a lot of things that chiropractors have been saying for a while now. Basically, rather than viewing fevers as the illness itself as we so often do, we need to start looking at fevers as a sign of a healthy immune system doing what it is supposed to do in order to get rid of an infection! 

In fact, as Offit argues throughout his article, it's only within the last hundred and fifty years that we have started to look at fevers as problematic and unnatural. Not surprisingly, the view that fevers could and should be controlled began around the same time as the mass production of aspirin. Doctors as far back as Hippocrates in 400 BCE have believed in the cleansing properties of fevers. 

Animal studies, and then subsequent studies on human patients, show that animals with both bacterial and viral infections heal faster, have fewer symptoms and a higher rate of survival when they are allowed to have a fever. An Austrian scientist actually won a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1927 for proving that fevers could be used to effectively treat syphilis. He would actually infect a patient with a small dose of the parasites that cause malaria, let the patient develop a high enough fever that would kill syphilis and then immediately begin treating the patient with anti-parasitic malaria medication. 

Check out the rest of Offit's article from the link above, and I think you'll learn a few more interesting things about fevers.

When is a fever not normal?

Sometimes, you do need to get a fever under control! Just like most other bodily functions, sometimes things can go wrong and require treatment. If a person's fever goes above 104 degrees Fahrenheit and remains there for more than an hour, they may have a condition called hyperthermia. If it only spikes above 104, but it quickly comes back down, it is likely non-serious. Hyperthermia, though, is considered a medical emergency, and you should call 911 and seek medical help immediately. This is often the result of the body trying too hard to fight an infection, and typically hyperthermia does not cause any lasting damage.

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Yours in health,

Dr. William