Why I Don’t Lower Fevers: Part Two

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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13 comments to Why I Don’t Lower Fevers: Part Two

  • I absolutely agree! Everything God designed into our bodies is in such perfect balance – when we disrupt that balance it causes a whole cascade of unwanted effects.

    I wonder what would happen to the “big, scary” flu statistics if drugs were taken out of the picture?

    • I often wonder about things like that, too. If we weren’t using so many drugs that keep the body from healing, what would the real stats be for complications from illnesses…

      Thanks so much for the comment, Rachel!! :-)

  • Amen! We do not keep fever reducers in the house, and use homeopathy instead of drugs. We’ve managed to get well from stomach bugs, strep throat, etc. without the use of antibiotics and over the counter drugs.

  • So refreshing to read this! Glad I stopped by your blog. ANd yes, we use these same methods for our 4 usually healthy kids, and it’s always worked well. We actually don’t vaccinate either, though I don’t often open that can of worms with parents ;0) Anyway, our last 2 kiddos have never taken a single drug yet (age 3 and 7 months), and yes, of course they get sick occasionally, but their little bodies have always fought things off (including ear infections, croup, flu, etc) naturally. My 6 and 4 year old–same story. I don’t trust fever reducers,and as a rule, I like to know how they are actually DOING with the fever/illness instead of just putting more drugs into them to keep it down. I love natural remedies and I’m always wary of fear-based medical advice, which is never of the Lord. There is something to say about eating healthy, staying calm, waiting things out, and trusting the Lord…and of course, using and being thankful for medicine when we truly DO need it.
    Will be following you for more good posts. Thanks for stickin’ your neck out on this one
    blessings, Joanna, The Crafty Homeschool Mama :)

    • Thank you so, so much for the encouragement, Joanna! :-) We feel that same way about meds- we’re glad they are there for when they are truly needed, but they are grossly misused. We also don’t vaccinate, anymore (shh, don’t tell!). ;-)

      I’m glad you stopped by, too, and I appreciate the comment!
      Blessings

  • I just ignore some of what the nurse practictioner here tells me – like I should make sure and get my 7 y.o. daughter’s temperature down and keep it down because she might have febrile seizures. Or no breastfeeding when my son has a slight temp. because he might throw up (although it has only ever happened when he had a very high temperature). Some medical people are very alarmist, because they see the worst case scenarios, which don’t reflect the majority of people’s experiences. Others are more relaxed. I try to go to those.

    But I do think drugs have their place.

    And about the flu and would it be so big and scary without all the drugs – google Spanish influenza epidemic. It just depends on the strain. Some strains of flu are scary. Some are a bad cold.

    • Meds definitely have their place and we have and do use them, when needed. It’s the unnecessary medicating that it the concern for me. I’m very thankful for the expertise of doctors, when medical intervention is truly required.

      My poor hubby had the flu shortly before our first baby was born (before I had learned anything about natural remedies) and it was terrifying! He could hardly move and my parents had to help me get him to the ER to make sure he didn’t have meningitis, he was that sick! At the time, we were eating the standard American diet (highly processed foods, though we thought it was “healthy”) and, as I said, we weren’t familiar with any herbs. I have to wonder how different it would have been for him if we had been eating nutrient-dense foods and had used elderberry syrup and other natural remedies. I’ve wondered about all the flu epidemics, like Spanish influenza, too. I’m not saying that everybody would have been just fine, by any stretch of the imagination, but I do wonder what kind of difference good nutrition, good hygiene and anti-viral herbal remedies might have made for them…. and some nice, modern saline IVs for dehydration! ;-)

      Thanks so much for the comment, Amanda!

  • Christine

    Great post, as a nurse for over 25 years the hardest thing is teaching parents not to give Tylenol for fever, or not to give antibiotics for common complaints. The advertising and pharm companies have done a great job in “teaching” people to overreact. Our bodies were made to heal themselves, with a little common sense, it is amazing what our bodies will do.

  • One thing most people don’t realize with pain relievers is the amount of water you should drink with each dose. I am very tempted to think that is why so many people end up in the hospital with dehydration when they have the flu. They take all this medication to relieve the symptoms and don’t drink near enough water.

    When my wisdom teeth were removed, I took the very least amount of pain killer possible and when I went in 2 weeks later for a check up, the Dr was amazed at how well my gums had healed in such a short amount of time. And annoyed that I didn’t take the antibiotic. :) But I didn’t need it, the low grade fever killed any possible bacteria growth.

    • LOL! Annoying doctors and dentists by healing without drugs can be entertaining! ;-)

      That is a very good point about the water. I’m going to do a post about what the dangers of fever reducers are and how to safely take them, when they really are needed. I’ll be sure to include the hydration tip.

      Thanks so much for the comment, Kendra!

  • I am just loving your posts on fevers… and totally agreeing with everything you have said! I am looking for the next post in this series! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids! I hope you will come link up with us again this week!! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/02/an-enchanted-childhood-playschool.html

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