How to Reduce Fever Naturally
A mild fever is not necessarily dangerous, however. In many cases, it is actually beneficial. That's the opinion of a growing number of scientists who have been studying the healing role of fever in both animals and humans.
'Within the past decade, considerable data have appeared which support the ancient belief that moderate fever is beneficial, ' says Matthew J. Kluger, professor of physiology at the University of Michigan Medical School and author of numerous papers on fever.
The healing fireExperiments in animals have shown just how beneficial a moderate fever can be. In one study, says Dr. Kluger, adult rabbits were infected with bacteria. All those that received an aspirin-like substance to lower their fever died, but more than 70 percent of the infected rabbits who maintained a fever survived (Pediatrics, November 1980).
Of course, human beings aren't likely to die from a moderate infection, fever or no fever. Still, if fever is so beneficial to animals, there must be something in it for us as well. That something turns out to be endogenous pyrogen (EP), a substance that seems to enhance our immunity against disease — our host — defense responses, as researchers say.
When you are challenged by bacteria or viruses, the number of white cells in your blood increases, explains Charles A. Dinarello, assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. 'As part of their role in fighting infection, these cells engulf and destroy bacteria and viruses. When this happens, it seems to stimulate the cells to produce endogenous pyrogen' (Human Nature, February 1979).
Once EP is produced, it leaves the cells and travels through the bloodstream to the brain. There it seems to jolt the body's internal thermostat (located in the hypothalamus), probably stimulating the production of substances called prostaglandins, which, in turn, reset body temperature to a higher level.
Now the body must generate and conserve heat until its temperature reaches the new 'set point', says Dr. Dinarello. The blood vessels constrict, diverting blood away from the skin so that less heat is lost into the air. The need for more heat signals the muscles to contract rapidly, causing shivering and chills. Then you throw on another blanket and warm your bedroom, which helps raise the body temperature even more.
Fever is the sign that endogenous pyrogen has been released from the white cells and that your body is fighting the infection. In fact, says Dr. Kluger, 'the release of EP might well be one of the first lines of defense against infection, triggering an array of non-specific host — defense responses. '
EP-stimulated fever is responsible for an increase in mobility of the white blood cells and for their enhanced efficiency in killing germs. What's more, EP stimulates the production of special proteins associated with the immune response. Curiously, it also dramatically reduces the level of iron circulating in the bloodstream.
During an infection, iron is bound up and stored in the liver. Apparently, bacteria need iron to thrive even more than we do. By temporarily removing iron from the bloodstream, the body in its wisdom makes the mineral unavailable to the germs and, consequently, they cannot grow.
Fever's boost to the immune system is particularly important for people whose own defenses against infection have been diminished. 'We see lots of patients whose defenses have been severely compromised — because of cancer or chemotherapy for cancer, for example,' says Philip Mackowiak, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas. 'They need every possible aid in fighting an infection. We may be doing those patients a disservice by giving them anti-fever medication at the same time we're treating the infection. Especially since, according to our own research, antibiotic-induced destruction of bacteria is enhanced at fever temperatures. It could be that if you were taking an antibiotic and you could stand the discomfort of the fever, you would get well sooner. But this is completely hypothetical at this point. '
Conversely, researchers don't know for sure if taking aspirin would lengthen the course of an illness, but they do know how aspirin works to reduce a fever. When endogenous pyrogen is released into the bloodstream, it also stimulates prostaglandin production in the brain, which turns up the body's thermostat, causing fever. Aspirin interrupts that cycle before prostaglandins are produced. Paracetamol works in the same manner, only without some of the negative side-effects associated with aspirin.
How hot is too hot?Just how high a fever climbs depends on how much endogenous pyrogen the white cells produce, how well the blood vessels and muscles conserve and generate body heat and the quirks of your own individual internal thermostat.
'A high fever is really overkill, ' Dr. Mackowiak told us. 'There is a limit to the positive effects of increased body temperatures. Studies in experimental animals show that when the temperature begins to approach the range of 104º to 105℉, [40—40.6℃], it becomes detrimental to the animal as well as to the germs. High fevers can be especially dangerous to people with heart conditions because of the rapid heart rate and increased metabolism that accompany elevated body temperature. But under normal circumstances, fever is not too heavy a load to bear. '
Dr. Dinarello adds, 'Reducing fever can eliminate unpleasant side-effects, such as malaise, headache, chills, sweating, water loss and muscle and joint aches. But it can also eliminate what may be a socially adaptive effect of fever. '
Other doctors agree that it's unlikely the phenomenon called fever would have been retained for so many hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary adaptation and in so many different groups of living creatures if it had no ultimate benefits.
'Now that we know the essential elements of fever, endogenous pyrogen, and prostaglandins,' says Dr. Dinarello, 'we may soon know when it is best to reach for the aspirin, when to let the fever run its natural course and when to use fever as a weapon against disease. '
If you use aspirin to lower a fever, keep in mind that the DHSS have recommended that parents not give aspirin to children under the age of 12 (or 18 to be really safe) because it has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a serious complication of viral diseases
(See also REYE'S SYNDROME.)
Exercise produces feverWhile fever may be a natural consequence of infection, that's not the only time you experience an increase in body temperature. During strenuous exercise, your body temperature can go up several degrees. Of even more significance, though, is the fact that endogenous pyrogen may be at the root of this exercise-caused rise in body temperature; just as it is during an illness. That's the opinion of Joseph Cannon, a Ph.D. candidate who works with Dr. Kluger. 'Initially, besides elevated body temperature, we know that during exercise there is a mobilization of white blood cells, an increase of the proteins associated with the host — defense response and a suppressed blood iron concentration,' Cannon says. 'Since these are also the same phenomena that occur during the initial phases of infection, we suspected that endogenous pyrogen may be responsible for both.
'To test our theory, we took blood samples from volunteers both before and after one hour of exercise (at 70 per cent aerobic capacity) on a stationary bicycle. Plasma samples taken after exercise were then injected into rats. The rats responded with increased rectal temperatures and decreased plasma iron concentrations. Injections of plasma taken from the same people before exercise had no such effect on the rats. '
Although the evidence looks good, Cannon and Dr. Kluger cannot say for certain that the temperature-elevating substance they found in the plasma of exercises is indeed endogenous pyrogen. 'We know that there's something in their plasma that has that effect, but more research is necessary to confirm our theory, ' Cannon says.
Even if it is endogenous pyrogen, the two researchers don't know exactly how much is produced during exercise. 'Probably much less than during an infection,' says Cannon. 'Injecting plasma from a sick person into a rat causes a larger decrease in iron levels (about 50 percent) than does plasma from an exercising person (about 25 percent).
'We do know that the increase in body temperature during exercise is proportional to the intensity of exercise. That's because as you exercise, your metabolism can increase up to twenty-fold. Since human activity is only 25 percent efficient, that means 75 percent of the energy we use during exercise goes towards producing heat. Our volunteers had temperatures of about 101.7℉ [38.7℃]. On a hot day, mine has gone up to 102℉ [38.9℃]. What's more, after exercise stops, body temperature remains elevated much longer than would be expected if the body were merely dissipating heat generated while exercising. It's possible that, during exercise, the body's thermostat is reset, as occurs during a fever, and EP may be involved.
'Perhaps there is some truth to the claim that regular exercise wards off infection,' Cannon suggests.
How to Treatment Fever Problem Naturally Reviewed by Healthy Kite on 9/05/2016 Rating: