Mama's Toolbox Series #1: Fever? Let it burn! Tips for Fevers
Oh the dreaded fever. A microscopic invisible internal boogie man has become the reputation and fate of the health promoting, toxic purging, infectious disease burning process of the glorious fever! Most people nowadays are so afraid of fevers, but why?
A fever is a natural physiological process that has many benefits and rarely any real risks. Fevers may be problematic for those with severely compromised health but as outlined here in Seattle Children’s Hospital excellent piece on Fevers: Myth vs. Fact, letting fevers burn runs very little risk and has tons of benefits for both short term and long term health. I have written more extensively about the Healing Power of Colds/Flus (and Fevers) here.
What are the benefits of fever?
A fever is a SUPER medicine, innate to our biology. It is a natural physiological process that our bodies wisely invoke in order to activate our immune systems and self-healing functions. Fevers turn on the body’s immune system, increase white blood cell counts to deal with foreign invaders and create an inhospitable environment for the reproduction and survival of these invaders. By activating and using our immune system we also build long term health and contribute to the health of all other vital organs and systems as the immune system is interrelated and inter-functioning with all other systems in our body. When our immune system is challenged thus increasing its learnability, growth and function; our neurological, digestive, endocrine and cardiovascular systems are also built up in strength. The fever is an innate gift that has been widely misunderstood by industrialized medicine, which focuses mostly on the suppression of symptoms.
However, the suppression of a fever by the use of anti-fever and anti-cold/flu medications like Tylenol/Paracetamol and Motrin, is in fact counter-productive to the disease process and to the goals and functions of the immune system. When we shut down a fever with suppressive over-the-counter medications, we are essentially telling the immune system “Nope, you got it wrong. What you are doing is incorrect, stop that!” We are stunting the growth and learning of the immune system. Logic follows then, that if fevers benefit the growth and learning of vital systems and organs like the neurological and endocrine systems vis a vis the activation of the immune system, then stunting the function of the immune system will have subsequent detrimental effects on the growth and learning of other vital systems as well. And this is not what most parents want to do for their kids or for their own bodies, right?
Allowing a fever to burn also helps our children to move through an infection quicker. When we are constantly stopping a fever and not allowing our immune systems to work to stop the infection, then we are NOT healing. And if we mask the symptoms with a suppressive OTC medication and the child then feels well enough to go play and not rest, then we are now not only deactivating the immune system but also not giving our body the time to rest and heal. When we give a suppressive OTC medication, we’re only stopping symptoms and stopping the immune system from doing it’s primary work, which is self-individuation and to learn how to get better when it gets sick. Our immune systems cannot learn self-differentiation and how to get better when we ignore or disappear our bodies signs and symptoms and consistently deactivate our innate immune function when there is a fever.
In homeopathy, we can measure a person’s health based on the degree to which the body is able to throw fevers, to get sick and to get better. The ability to throw a high fever is a sign of a strong vital force. In fact, it is a sign of decreased health if one is only able to throw a low fever or not get one at all. People who are not able to get fevers tend to have chronic conditions and have not been well for many years. Thus, not only do we want to see fevers as homeopaths, but we like to see high fevers! :) In fact, it is an excellent sign if during an actual flu or cold, a person who at first does not have a fever and has very low energy, then gets a fever and increased energy after taking a homeopathic remedy. This means the body is healing because the immune system is working and working strongly and effectively. This is what we want. We want strong working immune systems! If you are worried about high fevers or seizures please refer to Seattle Children’s Hospital excellent piece on Fevers: Myth vs. Fact.
Of course as a parent I understand that we don’t want our children to be uncomfortable and that seeing them sick can often be a cause for stress, fear or anxiety for us. I also understand that the demands of work and society doesn’t allow us the time to be sick and to get better and that parents are often needing to give suppressive fever medications just so they can get to work and make ends meet. I understand that this is in fact a very nuanced public health problem; that we have socioeconomic and medical systems designed to allow ONLY for quick-fix solutions. But unfortunately, that quick-fix mentality has devastated us and our earth and it is really our generation’s responsibility to start moving out of that paradigm into models and practices that uphold the innate intelligence of our bodies and of nature. It is on us to begin to work with nature not against it. And the best part is, there are already systems out there that honor this alternative paradigm.
The following are some natural non-suppressive ways to support and encourage our children’s natural immune system responses during fevers whilst also aiming to keep them comfortable and safe.
Electrolytes Fevers are dehydrating for obvious reasons and dehydration is perhaps the greatest risk a fever carries, especially for small children. Thus, giving electrolytes are of the highest importance and the first the order business when your child has a fever and then next up is ferrum phos 6x, see below.
I prefer getting the electrolyte infused water bottles or just adding this to water from home. I have noticed that electrolytes also offer immediate relief and comfort because dehydration can lead to a host of other symptoms including fear, anxiety, muscle tensions and spasms. Minerals after all are the spark plugs of life.
Mineral Cell Salt Ferrum Phos 6x
This is a must have homeopathic fever remedy in the form of a cellular tissue salt. Ferrum phos 6x helps to increase blood volume which is needed with the increased demand of blood to burn and process the fever and get rid of the infection. You can get this from most health food shops or here on Amazon. It's also helpful to have an entire cell salt kit handy (see next suggestion).
Tissue Mineral Cell Salt Kit
The Twelve Biochemical Tissue Salts-- The easy homeopathy. These are mineral cell salts that work on a cellular level and are way easier to use than regular homeopathic remedies. I definitely recommend every parent have a cell salt kit.
Recommended Brand: Most brands for cell salt kits will do but I found the most affordable here.
Recommended Book: On Amazon here. (You will definitely need a book but feel free to use one you already have or prefer).
Use: You will need to use your book to determine which salt to use for the particular symptoms you see.
80% of our immune system is in our gut! Amazing right? The best source for probiotics is food or drink but if there is no appetite or the child is too young for sauerkraut and kamboucha ;), I like the following soil based broad spectrum probiotics BioKult and Prescript Assist. Capsules can be opened and put in bottles, juice, milk, food, water, etc.
The Correct Homeopathic Remedy
The correct homeopathic remedy is chosen based on matching symptoms to the most similar remedy picture. This can take some practice and learning and I have designed a Homeopathy For Families Online Course specifically for parents to learn to use homeopathy and natural medicine at home as their primary form of medicine. I recommend all parents have a 50 Homeopathic Remedy Kit in 30c because you never know which remedy you will need and homeopathy can be helpful for all first aid situations and common ailments.
Aconite: Boiling Nerves. Aconite is a sudden fever that can come on from exposure to cold or fright. There is a lot of fear and anxiety with an aconite fever.
Belladonna: Boiling Blood. Sudden high fever with flushed red face, dilated pupils, cold hands and feet, hallucinations, anger, angry outbursts. Common remedy for fever with strep throat.
Ferrum Phos: No distinct symptoms. Fever
Eupatorium: Fever with achy bones.
Gelsemium: Fever with achy muscles. Droopy eyes.
Pulsatilla: Fever with a lot of green snot, weepy clingy child.
Homeopathic Constitutional Remedy
A homeopathic constitutional remedy is a life long ally and can help for acute or chronic conditions. Reach out to find out you or your child's constitutional remedy.
Recommended Brand: anything will do really but this is good-- Nature’s Way High Absorbency
Dose: 1-2 capsules empty in water or juice 2 hours away from anything nutritious or good
**IMPORTANT: Activated charcoal will absorb everything in the body, good or bad, so be sure to take it at least 2 hours away from any food, supplements, or remedies
Bentonite Clay for Baths
Pulls toxins out of body, reduces fever.
Recommended Brand: you can easily find bentonite clay at most health foods and online stores including Amazon but the best deal I have found is here.
Use: put some clay and water in a separate plastic tub. Allow the child to play with the clay with their hands and feet for 15-20 minutes. Discard the clay outside in a garden or trash, pouring it into the tub can clog your pipes!
Epsom Salt Baths:
Epsom Salts pull toxins out of the body while delivering much needed magnesium to our systems and breaks fever.
Recommended Brand: Most brands will do and Epsom Salts are readily available at most health food shops and Amazon.
Use: Put 1-2 cups of Epsom Salts in a luke warm (not cold and not hot) bath and allow child to soak and play for 20-30 minutes.
*Please note that a fever must be broken for the following reasons:
0-3 months: any fever in an infant this age must be broken and the baby should be seen by a pediatrician right away.
3-6 months: any fever above 102.F or 38.8C (usually children that develop febrile seizures develop them at the very first fever they get at a very early age. So if you’re child has gotten a fever and hasn’t gotten seizures before, they’re less likely to develop the condition and could benefit greatly from throwing fevers).
6 months–adults: any fever above 105F or 40.5C
if the fever accompanies excessive vomiting, listlessness, or a sore throat that lasts more than two days
Your gut tells you to break the fever! Always listen to your gut parents! When we make decisions for our children from a place of love not fear we are usually on the right path. So if your gut tells you something is wrong, call the doctor or break the fever right away! And vice versa, if everyone is telling you something and your gut is telling you otherwise, listen to your gut! A parent’s intuition is amongst the highest forms of intelligence, in my opinion.