I was watching a show on the National Geographic channel and I saw nature at its best. An anaconda snake was swimming in a river in South America. It had a large mouth abscess (infection) and it knew it had to do something to get rid of it to survive (and antibiotics were definitely not nearby!). The anaconda’s natural instinct was to swim in shallower, warmer waters to increase its body temperature to induce a fever. Amazing! It did this in order to make its body inhospitable for the bacteria that were causing the infection and to stimulate a natural immune response to kill them off.
What do we do in the Western world when we have a fever? Suppress, suppress, suppress…
We have been taught that fever is a dangerous response to an infection (viral or bacterial) that can cause brain damage and seizures. We feel the need to react right away and give or take that fever-suppressing medication to bring it down. But, are we really doing the right thing?
Fever is a natural response to an infection. Bacteria and viruses thrive best at normal body temperature (98.6°F or 37.0°C). A fever changes this set point so that the bacteria and viruses are less likely to survive. It also induces an immune response to get our body to fight off infections.
Many infants and children develop high fevers with minor illnesses. Brain damage from a fever will generally not occur until our temperature is over 42°C(107.6°F). Untreated fevers rarely go over 40.5°C (105°F) unless the child is overdressed, trapped in a hot area or placed in a cold bath. A cold bath induces shivering, which can raise body temperature even further. Be sure not to overdress anyone with a fever and never put them in a cold bath. A lukewarm bath is best.
Seizures associated with fever may occur. They are generally short-lived, do not cause any permanent damage, and they do not mean that your child has epilepsy.
There are several instances when to get concerned if your infant or child has a fever. You should call your health care practitioner if:
- a child under 3 months of age has a fever
- a child under 12 months of age has a temperature of 38.3°C (101°F) or higher,
- a child under the age of two has a fever that lasts longer than 24-48 hours
- a child over the age of two has a fever that lasts longer than 3 days
- an infant, child or adult has a temperature greater than 40°C (104.5°F)
Make sure your child is responsive and drinking fluids. For a complete list of when to get concerned when you or your child have a fever, see: Mayo Clinic.
See your licensed health care practitioner to prescribe individualized homeopathic remedies, herbs and vitamins to help support an efficient fever and to give your immune system a natural boost to fight off infections.
Broths, soups, water, fruit, and diluted unsweetened fruit juices are best to consume during a fever to maintain hydration and to give the digestive system a break. I made this great chicken soup last weekend when I was feeling run-down and it gave me the immune-boost I needed from the garlic, ginger, turkey broth and chilis that I desperately needed.
It is a great soup to share with your loved one(s) on a cold and rainy/snowy afternoon, or one to have frozen in the freezer just in case you start to feel sick. It will help to get you back on your feet in no time!
Chicken & Gingerroot Broth with Mango
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- 1 ½ oz. fresh gingerroot, peeled and shredded
- 1-2 fresh chili peppers, left whole
- 1 (2-3 lbs) whole organic chicken, trimmed of fat and broken down into pieces with the bone in (or you can purchase chicken thighs and/or breasts)
- 2 ½ cups of organic turkey or chicken stock
- 2-4 cups of water
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 1 mango or 1 small green papaya, cut into fine slices
- ½ cup-1 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- Heat oil in wok or deep pot.
- Add garlic, onion and gingerroot. Stir until the onion becomes clear.
- Mix in chili peppers and chicken, lightly browning the skin.
- Pour in stock, water (just enough to cover the chicken; add more if necessary) and bring liquid to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 1.5 hours, until chicken is very tender.
- Season stock with sea salt and pepper and add sliced mango or green papaya.
- Continue to simmer for 15 minutes more, then add in parsley leaves.
- Serve as is or ladled over steamed rice.
The information provided in this article is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.