Before I jump into the meat of the post, I would like to point out that I am talking about why I choose not to lower fevers in my generally healthy children. This series is not “Why You Should Never Lower a Fever”, because I don’t know all of your circumstances. The last two points in my first post were about reasons you might need to control your child’s fever (infants or children with chronic or severe illness or injury). Some people seemed to not read those last two points before commenting. So, now let’s get into why I don’t lower fevers in my generally healthy children!
God Made Our Bodies This Way For a Reason
In a generally healthy person, the immune system is on alert for bacteria and viruses that may cause harm. In most cases (though not all), the immune system reacts to an invader by raising and lowering the body’s temperature. Why?
- Bacteria and viruses thrive at certain temperatures. When the body temp swings too low, some will die. When the temp spikes up high, others will die. When a low-grade temp lasts for a few days, others are killed. The immune system does these temperature shifts to move the body’s temperature outside of the range in which the virus or bacteria can survive. There are many other things that the immune system does, but this is a first line of defense.
What happens when we turn off that first line of defense by lowering a fever?
- The bacteria and virus stop dieing and are able to multiply and spread. When we shut off the first line of defense that God gave us, we are making our bodies the ideal living conditions for the invaders. It’s like putting out a big welcome sign and saying, “Come on in, the temperature is great!”
- The rest of the immune system has to work so much harder when we deprive it of one of it’s main weapons, temperature control. It’s like taking the controls for our main weapon and handing them over to an invading force. Sure, we still have some weapons, but this battle will be more difficult to win.
- It takes longer to recover. When we’re fighting without all of our weapons, victory takes much longer. Sure, we’ll eventually win against a cold virus, but rather than a few days it could take a few weeks.
- Secondary infections can easily take hold, or infection can spread. When a person has a virus and they hand over their main weapon, secondary infections have the opportunity to thrive! A cold, for example, can easily turn into an ear infection, sinus infection or bronchitis/pneumonia. There is always “bad” bacteria around, just waiting for the chance to multiply and take over.
- The risk of serious complications increases. When we stop the body from protecting itself and we make the body a hospitable place for invaders, we increase the risk of a bacterial infection beating our immune system. After all, the immune system is already trying to fight the original invader with one hand tied behind it’s back. Then, we’ve gone and welcomed other forces to the battle against us by making conditions ideal for them. The immune system gets maxed-out and…
- Other medications are “needed” to fight the battle. Now that we have handicapped our immune system and invited other invaders in, our immune systems just can’t handle everything on their own. Antibiotics, steroids, antivirals and other drugs are prescribed to fight the fight for us.
- Rather than being stronger for having fought and beaten the original invader, the immune system is weakened by the medications. A large part of the immune system is in the digestive tract and antibiotics damage the digestive tract by killing beneficial bacteria. Each drug has it’s own drawbacks and dark-side. Few doctors will tell you what they are, even if they have bothered to learn what they are, which it seems many haven’t.
A generally healthy person can fight off most bacteria and viruses on their own, unless they lower their first line of defense. Once that happens, it’s a slippery slope that takes a person from a simple cold to a sinus infection and double ear infection that requires body-damaging drugs to beat. As I said, God designed our bodies this way for a reason. He knew what He was doing when He gave the immune system the ability to raise and lower the body temp. Short-circuiting that ability can lead from a minor illness to a serious one very quickly.
All of that being said, we do use herbs and natural remedies to treat symptoms, speed healing and I might someday even use a few herbs to lower a fever a tad, if absolutely necessary. For our generally healthy family, we just let the fever do it’s job, but if sleep were absolutely impossible due to a fever, I *might* use some natural remedies to slightly lower a fever to get the person a few hours of good sleep. What would I use? Watch for the next post in this series to learn how to lower a fever naturally!
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