The body temperature that is most widely accepted as normal is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But I believe that is an average, and each person has their own individual “normal” which may vary by a tenth or two, such as 98.4. So, anything above that is considered a fever. Indications of fever are usually a chilled feeling and headache. If you aren’t sure whether you have a fever or not, a quick way to check is to place the palm side of your wrist on your forehead. If it feels fairly neutral you do not have a fever. If it feels warm you have a fever. Of course a thermometer will give you a more accurate confirmation.
Body temperature has two main purposes that I can see: regulatory and defense.
On a normal daily basis, our body maintains temperature simply to keep us comfortable and functional. The body makes efforts either to heat or cool us. It works to keep the tissues and organs in the best functional environment.
Temperature is also important for the body’s defense. Fever indicates that the body is fighting an intruder. Most often it is a flu virus or other infection. So, fever is actually beneficial when we have been infected, because it is protecting us from illness.
What To Do With a Fever
Because fever is unpleasant, we have a tendency to want to suppress it as simply and quickly as possible, usually by medications, so we can feel better and get back to our usual activities. But in reality it is good to allow the body to have the fever… within a certain temperature range at least. In general, my recommendation is to take a little time off from “life” and let your body do it’s natural work to burn out the bug or the infection. The natural process usually takes anywhere from 1-4 days (according to my experience), depending on the remedies you apply and what the virus or infection is. If you do this, giving your body a few quality days of rest, it will heal much faster and will be more resistant to a recurrence. While you have a fever you are contagious anyway, so it is best (and more polite) to stay away from others and not share what you have with them.
2. APPLY NATURAL REMEDIES
You can use natural remedies to help your body in the fighting process. Anything from herbal teas and garlic to water treatments will help.
I discourage eating while the body is fighting a fever. Because digestion calls more blood and energy to the stomach during the digestion process, I usually avoid eating during the first day or two of my fever. This allows the body to employ as much of it’s vital forces against the intruder as possible, instead of using it for digestion. I don’t find that difficult, because I don’t usually feel good anyway, but this may be harder for some people. But I believe that a fast from regular meals during the fever is best. Drink plenty of water during that time. You can also put nutrients into your body by drinking non-caffeinated herbal tea, fruit juices (without sugar) or simply prepared vegetable broths. If you cannot handle having no food, I recommend keeping it extremely simple. Choose things that are most natural and simple to digest, like fruit, bread, crackers, potatoes (simple potato soup), plain rice, oatmeal, or something similar. Avoid sugar, fats, and processed foods, and your body will heal more quickly. And I recommend that you eat only the minimum amount to satisfy your hunger, so that your stomach does not have to overwork and call more energy away from the fighting process.
-Herbs and Healing Foods
Some of the herbs and foods that can help fight flu and colds are Echinacea, Goldenseal, Peppermint or Ginger (upset stomach), citrus or guava for vitamin C, and garlic. Raw garlic has a way of chasing away sickness. Use it in as many ways as you can when you are sick. You can include it in teas, mince it up in citrus drinks, press it into a peanut butter sandwich… or whatever way you can handle. Be creative. See my other Natural Remedy blogs for other ideas.
Water is the best and simplest way to control a fever. As I said before, drink plenty of it while you have a fever. It is best to allow a fever to “burn” in the body, if it is not too high. You can wrap in blankets to help your body with this process. Or you can take a warm bath. Sweat the toxins out. Keep your head cool, however, with cold water compresses. If you are resting in bed, just put some ice cubes in a pan or bucket of water and keep it nearby. Take a rag or wash cloth, dip it in the ice water, wring it out, then apply it to your head until it loses it’s coldness. Refresh it in the ice water as many times as necessary. If your body temperature rises to a high 102 or 103 degrees Fahrenheit or more, however, it is better to make efforts to lower it. You can soak in a tepid or cool bath for a little while. Also, you can apply cold compresses to the head and body. The hotter the temperature, the more you will have to fight to keep it down. If it persists, you will have to persist.