Running a Fever? Don't Freak.
Updated: May 23
Fevers are uncomfortable for everyone. It's hard to have one. It's especially hard to watch our littles be sick and uncomfortable. It's also so easy to take or give a dose of fever reducer/pain reliever and suddenly everyone’s feeling happier and sleeping better. A win-win-win, right? If only it were that simple. The truth is there are consequences to using over-the-counter drugs to lower a fever. And while most family doctors still preach their safety, new research is starting to challenge this advice. For example, drug-based fever reducers not only place a burden on the liver and stomach (as described on the warning labels), but acetaminophen has been linked to higher incidence of autism and brain damage in more than one study. Not only that, but few people are made aware of the cardiovascular risks that come with NSAID use. How bad can it be for just a few days’ use? Believe it or not, short-term use of NSAIDs has been linked to a 50%-75% increased risk of heart attack or stroke. To our knowledge, studies have not been done to assess the risk to children specifically, however given the delicate state of their developing organs it’s something every parent should be aware of.
Another Red Flag and Reason We Want to Avoid
Tylenol (Acetaminophen and Panadol) AND Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Aleve) both deplete glutathione. Glutathione is an internally made antioxidant and is one of the most important agents in managing the body's detoxification pathways. Why are antioxidants so important? Oxidation is a normal process in the body that happens when we use oxygen to create energy for the cell. The byproduct of oxidation are free radicals which can damage the DNA cells. ANTI-oxidants help to neutralize these free radicals so they can't damage the DNA. When you take fever and pain reducers, it depletes the best line of defense for this neutralization. Anything that depletes glutathione levels will result in increased free radical damage and greater accumulation of toxins in the body making it harder for the body to fight off illness and heal the way it is intended.
Something Else to Consider
Fevers are the body's natural ability to fight off infection. There are multiple studies that show that by decreasing temperature, you actually prolong the illness. It makes sense if you think about it -- when we want to sterilize or cleanse something, what do we do? We heat it! Same concept with your body. fevers are a crucial part of the healing process, and therefore we can not be scared of them. Fever reducers and pain reducers should always be a last resort especially for low-grade fevers.
So, What Else Can We Do When Fever Strikes?
Treat the body, not the thermometer. While we believe whole-heartedly that a fever is your immune system’s best ally in fighting infection, there’s nothing wrong with offering your body or child's some immune-boosting comfort measures while they’re sick. This is especially true for young children who may be frightened or very upset by their spike in temperature. Plus, most medical professionals will tell you if a fever gets over 104, you need to reduce it. So it’s a good idea to have some natural fever-reducing methods up your sleeve (remedies that work with the body’s innate healing response, not against it).
Here is a list of some of our favorite fever remedies for all ages:
- Limit sugar
- Remember whole foods are healing foods
- Keep hydrated with water, bone broth, or coconut water
- Get ample rest time
- Use elderberry syrup for an extra boost
- Use essential oils like Frankincense to boost the body's natural response
- Herbs like Echinacea make great cold and flu fighters (we have some great tincutures in )
- Cool rags over the body
- Take an iodine bath
- Sip our Wellness Blend tea with immune boosting, respiratory aid, and flu and cold fighting properties
Iodine is a powerful and natural antiseptic, thus its addition to the bath creates an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral effect and stimulates the transport of oxygen, nutrients, and waste products. It’s so simple, yet so effective, safe, and affordable.
Fill a standard-sized bathtub about halfway with lukewarm water (80°F (27°C) to 90°F (32°C).
Next, add about 1 cup of canning and pickling salt and about ¼ cup iodine (4 tbsp). **The exact amount isn’t needed, these are rough measurements.
Soak for 10-30 minutes, the longer the better!
**For babies who cannot sit on their own, you can get into the tub with them and either hold them and/or nurse them while they relax.
Though iodine is not considered an allergen since it occurs naturally in the body, certain medications, solutions, or products that contain iodine may cause a person to have a skin or allergic reaction. These reactions may even be caused by other substances that have been mixed with iodine. If you’re concerned about reactions, we recommend a simple skin test: place a drop of the iodine on the wrist or inside of the elbow. Wait 24-48 hours to see if any redness or reaction occurs. If you plan on trying an iodine bath the next time you or your children are sick, be proactive and do a skin test now…no one wants to wait 24-48 hours when a fever strikes!
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