Although fever is an indication that your child is healthy, it evokes fear & anxiety. It is not the fever itself but the possible complications of the fever & accompanying symptoms that give rise to fear.
Fever is common in children, and it is one of the most common complaints for which parents take their children to the doctors or A&E. Most febrile episodes are not only not dangerous but are a beneficial response to an infection. Most of these infections are self-limited viral infections. Fever phobia is described as unrealistic and exaggerated misconceptions of parents whose children have a fever. Fever phobia is driving the unnecessary use of antipyretics (drugs to suppress fever). Help boost your body's natural immunity don’t suppress the fever unless absolutely necessary.
Benefits of a Fever
- Elevated body temperature stimulates the body's immune response against infectious viruses and bacteria. It also makes the body less favourable as a host for replicating viruses and bacteria, which are temperature sensitive.
- The innate system is stimulated by increasing the recruitment, activation and bacteriolytic activity of neutrophils.
- Natural killer cells' cytotoxic activity is enhanced and their recruitment is increased, including that to tumours. Fever fights cancer!
- Macrophages and dendritic cells increase their activity in clearing up the mess associated with infection.
- The adaptive immune response is enhanced by elevated temperatures. For example, the circulation of T cells to the lymph nodes is increased and their proliferation is stimulated.
- Taking antipyretics that reduce fever have been shown to lead to poorer clearance of pathogens from the body
The natural progression of a fever
A fever usually start with a chilled stage, pallor, shivering with aversion to cold. As the body temperature rises, blood flow increases through the tissues and phagocyte activity increases and the body's defences are mobilised. During this stage the patient feels hot.
The body cools down by opening the sweat glands. This is called the fever breaking
The foreign invaders are repelled and a crisis is reached. Recovery can commence. The ability to throw a good fever is a great indicator of the strength of our Vital Force or Life Force. Fevers are useful and need to be supported rather than suppressed.
Symptoms to cause concern during a fever
Symptoms that indicate a trip to the doctor are prolonged high fevers of over 40°C, fever lasting for longer than 5 days, difficulty breathing (flared nostrils in babies) or rash. Fever is not dangerous unless the temperature is over 38.3°C in an infant, 39.4°C in a child or 40°C in an adult.
The good fever
The ideal fever temperature is between 38 – 39 °C. This is when defence mechanisms are operating at an optimal level. If the temperature is below 38 °C, the immune system is operating at a suboptimum level. It is wise to actually promote a rise in temperature to encourage a good fever. This can be done by wrapping the patient up and by giving warming diaphoretic herbs. Only encourage a moderate rise in temperature, especially in children.
1. Nurture the temperature between 38-39 °C
2. Minimise discomfort and risk until the crisis is reached and the fever breaks.
3. Support convalescence
Intelligently interpret reading of the thermometer
Ask if the person feels hot or cold. Feel their skin if it is moist or dry.
If the temperature is hovering around 37°C it is best to promote a rise in temperature to encourage optimal immune function. Herbs such as garlic, ginger, cayenne and cinnamon and nutmeg are used to raise the temperature.
A traditional formula is called Composition Essence, consisting of Bayberry, Cloves, Ginger and Cayenne is prescribed when a patient is not mounting a good fever. The ingredients are grounded and added to honey and lemon.
Wrapping up encourages a rise in temperature.
If the temperature is 39 °C and they feel hot and the fever has broken i.e. their skin is moist, this means the temperature is on the way down and indicates that it is not serious.
If the temperature is 39 °C and they feel cold and their skin is dry it is more serious. This means the temperature is still on the way up, as they feel cold.
If the temperature rises above 39 °C it is time to take it down. Traditionally tepid baths and cold flannels are used.
Bringing the temperature down
Sometimes you need to bring the temperature down by using diaphoretics like Yarrow, Elderflower and Peppermint YEP (or LEP tea in pregnancy with Lime Flower). YEP is a blend of diaphoretic herbs, which promote sweating to lower temperature.
Other diaphoretic herbs to reduce the temperature are Cat nip and Boneset. Boneset is specific for fever with aching bones.These herbs are amphoteric, meaning that they can lower body temperature if it is too high, or actually work to raise body temperature in a low grade fever ie. 37 °C.
Bringing the temperature UP (yes up)
Likewises sometimes you need to bring the temperature UP by using YEP tea. Have a hot bath have a hot spicy soup.
Convalescence is an old fashioned word that is often forgotten in today's society where there is an unhealthy "soldier on” attitude. Convalescence is extremely important. It is necessary for complete recovery. Apparently a person needs one week's rest for every day of a fever!
There are 4 aspects to convalescence
3. Convalescent foods
4. Restorative, Nervous system tonics, Immune stimulants, Antimicrobials and Qi tonics herbs.
Rest means sleep obviously, a good 8-10 hours and long baths and a good book.
Go for a light stroll.
Examples of convalescent foods are stewed fruits, steamed vegetables, soups and stews, especially boiled bone broths such as chicken soup. Well-cooked ginger and mutton broth is good after childbirth and for the elderly. Stew apple and pears with warming herbs such as ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Others examples are;
Congees are perfect convalescent foods. Basically a congee is anything that is literally slow cooked for up to 12 hours. Examples are a rice and red date congee prescribed to tonify qi and blood.
Chinese herbal soups
Chinese herbs that tonify Qi are Wolfberry fruit, (Gou qi zi), Astragalus root (Huang qi), Chinese red dates (Hong zao), Longan (Long yao ran), White peony (Bao shao), Prepared Rheumannia root (Shu di huang), and Liquorice root (Gan cao). Boil these herbs with some pork ribs. Drink the soup and eat the meat.
Restorative herbs, nervous system tonics, immune stimulants, antimicrobials, Qi tonics, lymphatic alterative and specific system tonics i.e. Respiratory tonics, Urinary tract tonics. Herbs such as Oats, Verbena and Hypericum are ideal.
Antimicrobials such as Picorrhiza, Barberry, Golden seal and Thuja are anti-viral. Herbs such as Elderflower, Eye bright and Golden rod are upper respiratory tract anticatarrhals. Lymphatic alteratives include Phytolacca, Baptisia, Stillingia and Clivers.
Natural remedies are naturally empathetic
By working with our body and not suppressing symptoms, herbal medicine, supplements, acupuncture and homeopathy all empathise with our bodies when we are sick.
Herbal medicine has an arsenal of compounds that fight bacterial, viral infection vigorously
Carahealth Immune Boost
This tincture contains a blend of natural antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and immune stimulant herbs that are specifically formulated to both prevent and treat the winter flu including the current flu pandemic. The tincture will naturally boost the immune system to prevent bacterial, viral or fungal infections. The tincture can be prescribed to treat or prevent colds, flu, fungal infections and any indeed any chronic infection.This tincture includes berberine containing herbs; berberine being a powerful antiviral alkaloid. It also contains Elderberry, which is specifically a natural neuraminidase inhibitor an acts like drug Tamiflu to inhibit viral replication.
These herbs are complete safe for children simply ask the naturopath for the correct doing instructions
Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.
Cert IV TAE. ARCHTI mem.