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Why pain relievers are BAD for a fever

Nov 06, 2019 0 comments
Why pain relievers are BAD for a fever

Our modern society has been brainwashed into thinking that fevers are:

  1. Something bad
  2. Always dangerous
  3. Best treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring your temperature down

Let me assure you that all 3 of those beliefs are WRONG!

Fevers in most cases are good guys, they are rarely dangerous, and using pain relievers is positively the WORST thing you can do!

Here’s why.

Fever is a good guy!

Contrary to what you may have always been told, a fever is usually a good guy.  It’s a sign that your immune system is kicking in and working to fight an illness. 

Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes:

If you contract a bacterial infection or virus, that means that your immune system wasn’t quite strong enough at that moment to fight it off without it taking hold of you to some degree.

The initial rise in your body temperature in this case is a sign that your immune system is “rising up to the challenge”—and your increased temperature allows it to function at a higher level.

As your core temperature rises, it activates immune cells called lymphocytes that can destroy cells infected with viruses (as well as cancerous cells too, by the way!).

The increase in your temperature also activates neutrophils, which are immune cells that target bacterial infections.  In addition, the temperature increase also improves enzyme activity in your body to create an environment that is unfriendly toward harmful microbes.

Crunch the numbers

Your immune system knows that harmful microorganisms can only survive within certain temperature ranges.

So it turns up your internal furnace just enough to kill off the bad guys--this drastically reduces their population and ability to harm you. 

Your normal body temperature is 98.6° Fahrenheit.  A fever is defined as having a rectal temperature of 100.4°, an oral temperature of 99.5° or an axillary (under the arm) temperature of 99°.

Once you cross the fever threshold and your temperature reaches 101°, most harmful bacteria are unable to survive.  At 102°, viruses are unable to reproduce and spread throughout your body.

Now, your immune system is brilliant—it also knows that if your temperature gets TOO high, some of your beneficial bacteria will get killed off too. 

Your body doesn’t want to raise your temperature to the point of killing off its own helpful microbes, but it will if necessary—that usually happens in a state of extreme infection. 

Why pain relievers are the worst thing you can do

Now that you know what a fever is and what your immune system is doing behind the scenes, you can better understand why pain relievers usually cause more harm than good.

When you run a fever and pop Tylenol or Motrin, the drugs quickly lower your temperature, but they also silence your body’s natural defenses and cripple the actions of your immune system.

As a result, you roll out the red carpet for the invading organisms to survive and thrive inside of you and make you SICKER!

Plus acetaminophen can deplete cellular levels of glutathione—your body’s master antioxidant—making you more vulnerable to disease-causing free radicals.

Watch out for antibiotics too!

So, what usually happens when pain relievers don’t do the trick to kick a fever?

Well, most people would go to the doctor and walk out with a prescription for antibiotics.

But this makes the problem even worse because antibiotics destroy your friendly gut flora—where 70 percent of your (already challenged) immune system resides.  

This makes it far more likely that you will get sick again!

When it becomes dangerous

Fevers are typically self-limiting and short in duration—maybe a day or two.

When fevers become truly dangerous is when they get up over 105° and/or last longer than three to four days.  At that point you may be risking damage to your brain and vital organs and it’s imperative that you see your doctor.  

Here are other factors that may appear in conjunction with fevers for which you should see a doctor:

  • Listlessness even after the fever goes down
  • Fever returns after it had gone away
  • Persistent fevers that come and go for more than a week
  • Respiratory distress
  • Exposure to toxins or poisons
  • Signs of dehydration (unable to make tears, no urination in the past 8 hours)
  • Stiff neck, very bad headache or sensitivity to light
  • Recent vaccination

How to safely reduce a fever without pain relievers

Now that you know that pain relievers are more harmful than helpful, if your temperature rises, resist the temptation to reach for that Tylenol or Motrin bottle!

Instead here are 5 ways to safely reduce a fever and support your precious immune system:

Get enough sleep

When you sleep, your body makes more immune cells (lymphocytes and neutrophils) that can attack bacteria and viruses, which is exactly what you want to happen!

Be sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  If you have trouble sleeping, some lavender essential oil mixed with water and spritzed on your bedding can help relax you.

Drink lots of fluids

Water is the best choice here.  Also helpful are coconut water and herbal teas.

At the same time, stay away from juices, sports drinks and soda, all of which are loaded with sugar and can stir up inflammation, feed harmful yeasts in your gut and impair your immune system functioning. 

As a matter of fact, just one spoonful of sugar can depress your immune function for an hour or more!  Think about that the next time you reach for a can of Coca-Cola which has a whopping 8 teaspoons of sugar!

Eat nutritious simple foods

Bone broth is number one when it comes to simple foods that are very nutritious and healing.  Also, homemade soups like chicken vegetable soup and oatmeal are good choices too.

Here is an easy recipe for delicious homemade beef bone broth:

3 pounds beef bones
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Enough cold water to cover bones
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (be sure to use raw unfiltered ACV with “the Mother”)
Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; spread beef bones out on prepared baking sheet.

Roast bones in the preheated oven until browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Place carrots, celery, onion, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a crockpot. Place roasted bones over vegetables; pour in enough cold water to cover bones. Add apple cider vinegar and sea salt.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Pour broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and discard any strained solids.  

Supplement with probiotics  

Since 70 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, it's essential to make sure that you have a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in your microbiome to keep your immune system sharp and strong.

Unfortunately, things like stress, smoking, use of medications (especially antibiotics, birth control pills and acid reducers), and environmental toxins can all harm your friendly inhabitants, creating an environment where harmful microbes can thrive.

That's why supplementation with a full-spectrum probiotic like Super Shield is crucial for just about everyone—especially when you are dealing with a fever and viral/bacterial infection.

Take a tepid (lukewarm) bath

A tepid bath can help bring down a fever.  You can add a few drops of peppermint or lavender essential oil to help soothe and relax your muscles. 

Now you know the truth about fevers and can gain a new respect for the awesome actions of your immune system to keep you healthy!

To your health,

Sherry Brescia


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