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Monday, January 23, 2012

Fever - It's no sweat

  Do you remember the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?” The scene when Ferris gave a lesson on how to fake an illness to get out of school.  I always thought it was funny how he made the point: NEVER FAKE A FEVER.  If you get a worried mom, you might be spending the day in a doctor’s office!  That’s worse than school.
      I grew up with Chiropractors as parents and they never made a big deal about fevers.  They would give me a chiropractic adjustment and let the fever take it's course.  As an adult and after studying it, I understand it more now too.  But to some it can be scary, and they do treat it as a big deal.  You or someone you love feels miserable.  Usually no one is getting any sleep and you want to help, but how? Use drugs or other methods to control the fever, or should I let it go?  If their temperature gets too high it might be dangerous… Right?
      We all know that your body is heating up to fight off something, but why does it heat up? What does that do exactly? Your amazing brain has miles of nerves and sensors keeping track of things inside of you.  Controlling exactly when and how the best responses should happen. Here’s some related info:
1/10,000,000g of bacterial waste (basically bacterial 'poo') is enough for the brain to detect, and tell the body to start fighting the bugs with a fever.[1]  Along with shivering, every 10 beats per minute increased heart rate causes 1 degree increased heat.  Although you're getting hotter, your brain tricks you into feeling chills, and thus bundle up to keep the extra heat.[1]
Like Popeye got stronger with spinach, each 1 degree increase of body temperature strengthens the immune system by 10%.[1]

    As the heat continues to bolster you, those little invaders are being cooked.  Bacteria and viruses are much more sensitive to heat than you are.  And while you're getting stronger, they're getting slower and weaker as the fever burns.  Your white blood cells signal to your brain what kind of progress they’re making in the fight.[2] And the intensity of the fever is monitored very closely.  Once it's no longer necessary the fever breaks.  You immediately flush, feel hot, throw off the covers and sweat. You naturally dissipate heat this way 10 times quicker than it took to build up.[1] No need for cool baths and such.

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