Fever: the temporary increase in the body’s temperature in response to some disease or illness.
Child fever ranges:
rectally 100.4 F
orally 99.5 F
axillary (under arm) 99 F
when above 99 - 99.5 F
Okay, now that we have it defined, what’s the reason for a fever? Well, fever is an important part of the body’s defense against infection. According to the National Institute of Health, most bacteria and viruses that cause infections in humans thrive at 98.6 F. Your wonderful human body seems to know this and, when under attack from these vicious little critters, will raise the body’s internal temperature in order to help fight off the invading viruses.
When the body has a fever, it means that the body is fighting an infection, and even though fevers bring aches and discomfort, the fever is actually fighting for the person, not against. How does the body change it's temperature? It’s the hypothalamus, a gland located in your brain. In response to some kind of infection, illness, or other cause (such as stroke,) the hypothalamus will reset the body to a higher temperature.
In fact, fever is the response of an active immune system, and the higher temperature may even aid the body’s immune cells in preforming their functions. Untreated fevers rarely rise about 104 or 105 degrees. Even then, fever does not typically harm the brain or the body, though it does increase the need for fluids. A recent study published by the Journal of Leukocyte Biology found that a specific type of immune cell, called a CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell was able to destroy cells infected with viruses and even tumor cells. Researchers also found that a higher body temperature caused more of these cells to form, which meant a greater body response against infection.
Recently on a trip out of the country, me and a few other members of our tour were struck down with a horrible high fever, aches, pains, and coughing. Let me tell you, upper respiratory sicknesses are uncomfortable, but they're even worse when in a foreign country. After about 2 days of low grade fever (and me hindering my body’s natural efforts at healing by treating it with ibuprofen,) my temperature finally rose sky high, and I enjoyed about 5 hours of delirium onset by an extremely high fever. Around 3 AM my fever broke, I felt much better, and have had no fever since. My respiratory coughing is clearing up at a rapid pace, and my throat hasn’t been sore or scratchy since my fever broke.
I imagine if I'd have left my body alone from the get-go and just let the fever do it’s thing, I’d be completely well by now. Ah, if only I’d written this article last week!
Stephanie Morris is a former model, entrepreneur & high calorie dessert lover. A life-long love for natural disease prevention developed as an 8 yr old girl researching "scurvy" pirates. Years later, she went on to create an award-winning anti-aging skin care line. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.