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Fevers, the Hypothalamus, and Antibodies

When an infection or disease worms their way into your body, your immune system essentially pulls the fire alarm, saying, “How do we get rid of this? It doesn’t belong here!”

That’s often when a fever steps in.

Fevers are good. When your body’s temperature is raised, you may experience chills and feel the need to stay in bed, and that’s okay. The pathogens attacking your immune system begin overheating and are killed off by the raised body temperature. When we interfere with this process with fever reducing medication, it takes much longer for pathogens to be eliminated from the body because they’re able to multiply in cooler conditions.

The hypothalamus is responsible for deciding when the body needs a fever (and when the body needs to cool down!). It’s not unusual for the hypothalamus to raise the body’s temperature to 102-104 degrees. Rarely will the hypothalamus raise the body’s temperature beyond 107. Typically, other circumstances will be in play when someone overheats; for example, being in the desert sun without hydrating or sitting in a car on a sunny day will cause the body’s temperature to raise. We can rest assured that our bodies are capable of determining how to fight pathogens.

When the pathogens are no longer attacking the immune system, they must be disposed of. Thankfully, the body is equipped with its own antibodies. The antibody glutathione is responsible for detoxifying the body from all the free radicals that the immune system deems harmful. This is important because fever reducers such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) depletes the intracellular amounts of glutathione. When we don’t have enough glutathione, our body’s elimination system is compromised, and illnesses linger longer than they should.

So what should you do when you have a fever? What if your child has a fever?

Infants under 3 months of age with a fever should be checked by their doctor immediately.

Children between 3 months and 3yrs with a fever > 102 should be checked by their doctor.

Any child has a fever > 104.5 should be checked by their doctor.

Other children and adults with fevers can be made comfortable by getting an adjustment, staying hydrated, placing cold wash cloths on the back of their necks, taking a warm Epsom salt bath, and having time outside in the sun for some vitamin D.

Be patient! If possible, ride the fever out. The body knows how to regulate temperature and also how to fight off the infection. Most often, fevers will run their course in a few days.

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