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Apr 13, 2017

Fevers, what are they good for?

No, not absolutely nothing, fevers are one of the bodies best defensive mechanisms!

1. Fever or the medical term pyrexia is when the temperature of the body goes beyond 99.6 degrees.  Yup, I know you are all probably thinking no any thing above 98.6 degrees is a fever no that is the average temperature.  Any thing between 97.6 and 99.6 is normal.

 2. What is fever?  It is when the body being innately intelligent raises the core temperature of the body.  The body responds to the infection by raising the temperature set point.  The body knows what it is doing. Fever is an intelligent response to infection or illness.

 3. Why would the body raise its core temperature?  Many illnesses thrive at normal body temperature, and a fever (even a high one) is a good indication that the immune system is functioning to ward off the infection.  By raising the core temperature it makes the living environment for the infection very inhospitable.

 4. The higher temperature increases the levels of antiviral and antibacterial substances in the blood that are produced by the body.  It also increases the mobility of the white blood cells.

 5. It increases certain minerals like copper and zinc both important cofactors in the immune response and decrease others like iron.  This is smart because the body needs more copper and zinc to support the immune system and less iron, most infections need iron to thrive and spread.  The body being innately intelligent decreases the amount of iron in the blood until the infection has been fought off.

 Fever causing brain damage is just not true.  If brain injury occurs with an infection that causes fever it is because the infection is in the brain or the meninges the meninges being the sacks around the brain they are there to protect the brain.

 Febrile seizures really febrile convulsions do occur that cannot be disputed.  However it is a very small percentage of the population (2-5%) of the children 6 months to 5 years old and they do not always occur at the highest point of a fever.  They are not the result of nervous system damage from the fever, nor do they result in damage to the nervous system.  They are not the same as the afebrile seizures (epilepsy,) and a child who has had one or more febrile convulsions does not have a great risk of developing epilepsy!!

 Most febrile seizures last only a few minutes and are accompanied by a fever above 101°F (38.3).  Although they can be frightening for parents, brief febrile seizures (less than 15 minutes) do not cause any long-term health problems.


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