Why Fevers are a Good Thing

If you’re a parent, you know this scenario well. Your child can’t sleep. They don’t feel well. You go to take their temperature, and it’s exactly as you feared. The thermometer reads 101,102, maybe even 103 degrees. What’s your next step? Do you go to the ER? Do you wait it out? Do you immediately turn to a fever reducer? The purpose of this post is to get rid of every concern you have ever had about fevers. I want to make sure that any curiosity you have had is laid to rest so that you and your family can rest easy knowing that you and your little ones are safe.


 Fevers are bad and must be reduced.


Let’s be real for a second. Most of you are aware that fevers aren’t a bad thing. We know that fevers are a way to “burn out” whatever invader is attempting to multiply within the body. But let’s dive a little deeper. Your brain, and specifically your hypothalamus, is the primary area that raises the core temperature of your body. As a result, it causes increased activity in your immune system. Think of it like calling in the cavalry. That increase in temperature is signaling the reinforcements. If we attempt to reduce that temperature by synthetic means, we run the risk of an inefficient immune response, leading to longer bouts with illness, or even aiding in recurrent infections.


“high fevers” are going to cause brain damage.


When dealing with high fevers, there are many contradictory thoughts. Fortunately, some of the best minds in the world all share the same opinions here, and that is that fevers upwards of 108 are the ones that cause brain damage, and these most commonly occur because of environmental factors like say, a child being left in a hot car and NOT because of an infection. One thing that tends to happen in western society is that we are conditioned to believe that the body is not as smart as we know it to be. Fortunately for you and I, we know that is not true.  The reality is that your body is NOT going to let your temperature get so high that it cannot survive. There are complex mechanisms in place that in order to be overridden must be SERIOUSLY damaged.


Fevers are worse at night because I am wrapped in a blanket.


So this bit of information is actually super interesting: Fevers are worse during the night because there is less circulating Cortisol in the bloodstream. This Hormone is responsible for suppressing immune activity and is higher in concentration during the day. At night, when the levels decrease, it allows the body to fight off the infection, which in turn causes symptoms such as fever to surface. Because of this, it is important to find ways in which to regulate your cortisol naturally. The BEST ways to do this include Acupuncture, Yoga, regular exercise, and Chiropractic care.


So the reality of the situation is that when you or a loved one gets a fever, do your best to take a deep breath and not rush to the E.R the second it hits 103. Fevers are natural. Your body knows what it’s doing and trusting in its natural ability to fight common infections is paramount to your health. Know when to leave it alone and let it do what it needs to without turning to meds as a first line of defense.


-Dr. Casey