A fever is usually regarded as a symptom of an acute infection or an underlying illness. It is the body’s way of stimulating the immune system or accelerating detox- iﬁcation. Anyone with an elevated body temperature at least 1 degree above 98.6 degrees F is said to have a fever. However, in babies, the healthy body temperature can vary from 97 to 100 degrees F because their body temperatures are not yet devel- oped. In healthy children, body temperatures can ﬂuctuate by 2 degrees above or below
98.6 degrees F. The amount of clothing one is wearing, as well as the amount of activ- ity, can inﬂuence one’s body temperature. Often, a fever is accompanied by a ﬂush to the face and sweat beads on the forehead.
Fevers are often a cause for worry, especially for parents, but they should be regarded as both friend and foe. When a child has a mild fever, it could be a signal that the child’s natural defense system is waging a war against an invading microbe. As the army of white blood cells battles, the cells release chemicals called pyrogens. These pyrogens activate the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that serves as the body’s thermostat regulator, to turn on the internal heat and raise the body temperature to ﬁght off invaders (many microbes start to die at around 102 degrees F). When this occurs, heat is lost through the skin, and the blood vessels dilate.
The onset of a high fever may lead to a febrile seizure in some children and adults. Their muscles become rigid, and they experience convulsions or even loss of con- sciousness for up to ﬁfteen minutes. This is an emergency situation that requires imme- diate medical attention. Upon recovering, a child may sleep for a long time. As horriﬁc as these are to witness, febrile seizures rarely develop into epilepsy or cause perma- nent harm to the child.
People with temperatures above 102 degrees F may require medical intervention. If your child is younger than three months of age, notify your doctor about the fever. Be sure to get checked by a doctor if you or someone you are caring for experiences any of these symptoms:
• Acts confused, lethargic, or delirious
• Experiences a seizure
• Vomits or has diarrhea
• Complains of a stiff neck or has dilated pupils
• Has had the fever for more than seventy-two hours
And for infants and children, also be aware of these additional signs and symptoms:
• Cries continuously
• Is difﬁcult to awaken
• Has a signiﬁcant decrease in urine output or appears dehydrated
• Has trouble breathing
Conventional treatment focuses on fever-reducing medications, such as acetamin- ophen. From a holistic perspective, we look at fever as a generally positive thing, since
it activates the immune system. We try to work with a fever and not necessarily sup- press it, unless it is too high or the patient is very uncomfortable.
Note: Never give aspirin to a child who has a fever. This can cause an immune reac- tion, leading to the development of Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal illness where vomiting and liver damage can occur.
• Flushed face, elevated temperature
• Detoxiﬁcation reaction
• Systemic illness (cancer, etc.)
Eat lightly. Steamed vegetables, soups, broths, and herbal teas will let your body focus on healing, instead of on digestion. If you lose your appetite, don’t force yourself to eat.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of clean water and other ﬂuids (but see the note about sugar and juice further on) to cleanse away toxins and to keep the respiratory tract from drying out.
Increase your consumption of ginger, onions, and garlic. Try adding one or both to chicken soup or miso.
Regular water intake is important to prevent dehydration. Herbal teas and highly diluted fruit juices can also be given. Fruit juice popsicles are popular with kids.
Breastfeeding should be maintained for nursing infants.
Food to Avoid
Sugar decreases the number of white blood cells your body produces, and it depresses your immune system, so eliminate reﬁned sugars from your diet for the duration of your illness. Also be wary of fruit juices. Although they are a traditional treatment for colds, fruit juices—especially orange juice—usually contain far more sugar than they do vitamin C. If you want to drink juice, dilute it ﬁrst.
Avoid milk and other dairy products while you’re sick, as they tend to suppress immunity.
Super Seven Prescriptions—Fever
Super Prescription #1 Homeopathic Combination Fever Remedy
To reduce the effects of a fever, take a combination fever remedy four times daily for two days. Then if you notice improvement, stop taking the remedy, unless symp- toms return. If your symptoms do not improve within twenty-four hours, pick the remedy that best matches your symptoms under Homeopathy in this section.
Super Prescription #2 Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Take 300 mg in capsule form, 2 ml of the tincture, or 1 cup of fresh tea four times daily or until the fever breaks. Yarrow induces a sweat to help break high fevers.
Super Prescription #3 Homeopathic Ferrum Phosphoricum
Take a 30C potency four times daily for two days. Then if you notice improvement, stop taking the remedy, unless symptoms return. If your symptoms do not improve within twenty-four hours, pick the remedy that best matches your symptoms under Homeopathy in this section.
Super Prescription #4 Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
Take 500 mg of the capsule form or 2 to 4 ml of the tincture four times daily. Echi- nacea stimulates immune function and reduces fever.
Super Prescription #5 Ginger (Zingiber ofﬁcinale)
Take 500 mg of the capsule form or 2 ml of the tincture or drink the fresh tea four times daily. Ginger helps break a fever, especially for people who have a sore throat and chills.
Super Prescription #6 Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Adults should take 10 ml and children 5 ml three times daily. It’s useful for fever related to the ﬂu or other viral infections.
Super Prescription #7 Vitamin C
Take 500 to 1,000 mg three to four times daily. Vitamin C supports immune sys- tem function through increased white blood cell activity. Reduce the dosage if diar- rhea occurs.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) oil has powerful antiviral effects. Take 500 mg of the capsule form four times daily or as directed on the container.
Garlic (Allium sativum) combats infection and supports the immune system. Take 300 to 500 mg in capsule or liquid form three times daily.
Thymus extract (Thymus vulgaris) optimizes immune activity. Take 1 to 2 capsules twice daily or as directed on the container.
At the ﬁrst signs of a fever, take 2 pellets of a 30C potency four times daily for two days of the remedy that best matches your symptoms in this section. Then if you notice improvement, stop taking the remedy, unless symptoms return. If your symptoms do not improve within twenty-four hours, pick another remedy.
Aconitum Napellus is useful at the very beginning of a fever, when there is a sud- den onset. This often occurs after a person has been exposed to the cold or the wind. The person is restless and fearful, and children cry with the onset of the fever. This remedy is most useful in the ﬁrst few hours of a sudden fever. One cheek may be red and the other pale during a fever.
Arsenicum Album is for a fever that occurs or increases between 12 and 2 A.M. The person is chilly, along with having a burning fever. Anxiety and restlessness are usu- ally present. The symptoms are better with warm sips of water.
Belladonna (Atropa belladonna) is for a sudden, intense fever. The body feels very hot (especially the face), but the feet are cold. The pupils may be dilated, and the cheeks and the face are often bright red. The person is sensitive to light and has a throbbing headache. Some people may become delirious and hallucinate from the fever.
Bryonia (Bryonia alba) is for people who have a high fever with a tremendous thirst. They are very irritable and do not want to move.
Chamomilla (Matricaria chamomilla) is speciﬁc for a fever that accompanies teething. One cheek is red, while the other is pale. The child is very irritable.
Ferrum Phosphoricum is used as a general fever remedy. The person has a fever but does not act sick. The face is red and the body warm.
Gelsemium (Gelsemium sempervirens) is for a fever accompanied by chills and muscle aches. The person feels drowsy and fatigued and has droopy eyelids. There is often a headache at the back of the neck.
Mercurius Solubilis or Vivus is helpful when a person has a fever and is sensitive to both hot and cold temperatures. The tongue has a thick coating, and the person has bad breath, has excessive saliva production, and drools on the pillow. The throat is often raw and sore.
Pulsatilla (Pulsatilla pratensis) is for someone who has a fever with a low thirst. A feverish child wants to be held and is very clingy. Symptoms are better with the window open or when the person is out in the open air.
Pyrogenium is used when there is a high fever, and the person appears very sick. His or her body aches and feels bruised. The person has a high fever but a slow pulse.
Sulphur is for acute or long-lasting fevers when the whole body is warm. A body rash may accompany the fever. There is a tremendous thirst for cold drinks.
Large Intestine 4 is located between the webbing of the thumb and the index ﬁnger. Gently push on this spot on both hands to reduce fever.
Constitutional or foot hydrotherapy works very well in helping to control fevers and ﬁght infections. See the Hydrotherapy section for directions.