These are general guidelines; the doctor will communicate with you specific instructions for your condition.
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It is important to remember that a fever is a protective mechanism of the body to fight infection. Bacteria and viruses cannot replicate at higher temperatures and cells of the immune system are activated by higher temperatures. Mild fever is associated with better prognosis in both viral and bacterial infections (Kluger 1986). Redness and swelling are examples of local fever.
The prescription of anti-fever drugs in an effort to reduce fever is based on the assumption that fever is bad and that reduction of fever will be of benefit. The assumptions that fever is bad or that reducing fever has benefit has never had any scientific, clinical, or basic science research evidence to back it up. Actually, the opposite has been found and should be expected when one understands the purpose of a fever.
Anti-fever medications have never been shown to reduce the likelihood of febrile seizures. Dr. Mackowiak of the Veterans Administration in Hospital outlined in a research review about these problems with anti-fever medications clearly in the prestigious Current Opinion of Infectious Disease in 2002. His conclusion ultimately was that “Unfortunately, insufficient experimental data are available to validate any rationale” for their use in infection.
Anti-fever drugs are those such as Tylenol, acetaminophen, paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen and those other medicines like Nyquil, Dayquil, and numerous others that contain them. This is frequently the first intervention over the counter and in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Research has shown do not shorten infections and even worse that they can prolong infections. More troubling is that they can prolong the time of it being spread (Geisman 2002). Importantly anti-fever drugs are associated with a higher loss of life in infections than when not using them (Vaughn 1980).
Naturopathic clinical experience has been confirmed by research that has shown that fevers are associated with better outcome in viral and bacterial infections (Kluger 1986). Therefore – we harmonize our treatment to ease the discomfort of fever in ways that assist the goals of the fever – which in itself is an attempt by the body to heal. This is the secret to the effective and successful Naturopathic approach to infections.
- Rest as much as possible. Stay home. This will allow the body to focus on fighting the infection, it will also help prevent spreading the illness to others.
- Fresh Air The body requires over 13% more oxygen for every degree of body temperature elevation (Beers and Berkow 1999).
Get fresh air every hour or two while awake via an open window.
During the Spanish flu epidemic of 1917-1918 it was common in regular medicine to not open windows and keep patients confined without fresh air, this was counterproductive and would increase the negative outcomes.
- During infections a simple diet of easily digested foods such as steamed vegetables, chicken soup, etc. are the rule. Avoid sugary foods, sweets, pastries, breads, heavy foods, or the hard to digest foods from your food intolerance report.
- It is very important to understand that feeding can be very counterproductive during a fever. The body produces chemicals (called interleukins) that halt digestion. Feeding solid foods will drive the fever higher because the foods do not digest under these conditions. The old saying is actually: “If you feed the cold, then you will have to starve the fever”.
- Refrain from solid foods with a temperature over 99°F– ingest only water, diluted fruit juices, lemonade sweetened with honey, herbal teas, etc. (unless diabetic, pregnant or breastfeeding [the child should continue to breastfeed]). This may be required for several days.
- When the temperature is 99.5ºF or below, begin to break the fast by eating vegetable broth. This is very important. The body has not been producing digestive enzymes during the fever- remember the body shut down digestion (actually digestive enzymes are largely proteins, and the body used these proteins to make immune chemicals. It also harvests proteins from muscles- which is why fevers ache so much).
- Vegetable Broth Recipe– Carrot and Celery: 1⁄2 cup of each in 2 cups water. Simmer until brown, strain, and drink 1⁄2 cup every 30 minutes. If fever does not return after consuming the two cups, eat the carrots and celery. If the fever still does not return then continue on to solid foods, something like a piece of meat or fish for proteins to replenish those used during the fever. Continue to eat as directed by hunger. If fever returns again, discontinue solid foods as before. It was common in regular medicine during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1917-1918 to stuff the patients and feed them strong meat broths during a fever ‘to keep up the strength’. This was counterproductive and will increase negative outcomes.
- Fluid Intake
- Hydration is important in infections. Diluted fruit juices, lemonade, etc.
- Dehydration is the biggest concern with a fever. Unless pregnant or diabetic, ingest only water, diluted fruit juice, lemonade sweetened with honey, herbal teas, etc. This may be required for several days. Breastfeeding children should continue to breastfeed and should not be fasted.
The hydrotherapy methods described below allow the fever to do its job, make patients more comfortable, while preventing complications or risks of an elevated fever are a part of the clinical system.
- These naturopathic physical therapies were a crucial part of the astounding clinical success of the naturopathic physicians in the 1917-1918 Spanish flu epidemic which was the most life-saving approach of any professional group
Home Hydrotherapy for safe fever management:
- These treatments help to encourage heat radiation and maintain the fever at a safe and beneficial temperature. They also improve the ability of the body to fight the infection and should be considered a valuable tool to fight infections. These methods have over 200 years of practical clinical use internationally in colds, flus, pneumonia, cholera, smallpox, polio, and other epidemics as a very effective method. Their effectiveness and importance should not be discounted.
- Apply the procedure indicated based upon the temperature. Wring the wet towels from cold tap water – wrung very well to be only damp and not dripping. And not ice cold. Leave the application on until it warms to the temperature of the body then remove. Renew the applications until the patient sleeps or rests well (leave on if sleeping until they wake) or until the temperature comes down to around 101ºF which is ideal for effective and safe fever.
- In the absence of a fever during an infection: Take a warm bath or shower for 5-10 minutes. Afterwards follow the directions for the Neptune’s Girdle found below.
For fevers 98.6-99.5°F – Wet Sock Treatment:
Use a pair of cotton socks (crew/tube/sports socks) and wring them out in cold tap water.
Put on the wet socks. Put on over the cotton socks a pair of thick wool socks. Relax for 20 minutes or until the wet socks are warmed to body temperature, then remove. This will gently bring the fever down about 0.5 F degree and is useful early on to abort an infectious process particularly of the ears, sinus and throat.
For fevers 99.6-102°F – Abdominal/Neptune’s Girdle:
Wring a thin bath or hand towel in cold water. Fold in half lengthwise so it is two layers thick and wrap around your torso, covering from chest to hip bone. Use a thick blanket of vellux or wool to wrap around tightly and compress the cold towel “girdle”. Wear this for 10-20 minutes until it is warmed.
For fevers 102-104°F – Torso Pack
Apply a thin cotton linen which has been wrung out in cold water from the armpits to the buttocks, such as a bed sheet or opened pillow case. This may wrap once or twice around the body. Around the cool, wet sheet you will wrap them in a thick blanket of wool or vellux, making sure to seal the wet sheet from the air. This will help dissipate the fever and cool the core of the body. Leave this wet sheet on the body until warmed, then remove.
For Fevers 104°F or higher – Wet sheet wrap or Spanish Mantle
Using a cotton sheet which has been wrung out in cold water, wrap around the person from shoulders to ankles. This may wrap once or twice around the body. Around the cool, wet sheet you will wrap them in a thick blanket of wool or vellux, making sure to seal the wet sheet from the air. This will help dissipate the fever and cool the core of the body. Leave this wet sheet on the body until dry or significantly warmed.
- A specific regimen will be advised by the doctor to improve immune function and to fight the infection.
- Immune support formulas of nutrients and herbal medications will typically be prescribed. Occasionally we will prescribe antibiotics – however we use them less often because of all of our other tools, and when we do use them, we make them more effective.
- These may include” Congaplex or Immunoplus – immune support nutrients, Thymus Extracts to support the immune cells of the body, Bamboo Concentrate, which is a natural antibiotic and antiviral compound, and innumerable other options.
- Herbal medications such as our Anti-Viral Drops, which contain elderberry and several other antiviral herbs. Elderberry alone has been shown to reduce influenza symptoms by 4 days compared to placebo. These are just examples, there are numerous formulas and combinations for various infections.
- J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40. A special Bamboo Concentrate acts like an antibiotic against many bacteria, soothes coughs and improves expectorations