Well, it’s that time of year again. The cold and flu season has begun. Just yesterday I was at Whole Foods and as a lady offered me her shopping cart she made sure to let me know she wasn’t sick. We laughed a bit together and I for one counted my blessings. After all, I was recovering from a nasty head cold myself! After a bit of increased stress my immune system took a hit and lost its edge. I pushed myself a bit too far while writing a series of papers for a a New Testament class I was taking. As a result a cold virus got the better of me – ouch! I addressed it naturally and I am in fine shape now - lesson learned. No more late nights staying up writing papers - pace yourself Carolyn.
Given the “invasion” of the cold and flu viruses this time of year I thought a little practical, getting back to basics, advice is in order. Enjoy!
1. Benefits of a Fever
Did you know that a fever is your body’s way of fighting off an infection? Also, did you know that the body has safety mechanisms in place that will not allow a fever to get above 105º F or 106º F - except in extreme cases? Further, a fever must rise above 108º F to cause significant damage as in the case of heat stroke. So why are we so afraid of fevers today?
Well, we can look back to the late 1970’s/early 1980’s and we see what has been coined as “fever phobia”- a desire to bring fever down as quickly as possible. As a parent I understand a parent’s desire to bring down a fever in their child, after all, when you have a fever your body hurts. Parents intrinsically want to help their children avoid pain and discomfort. Adults don't like to suffer the pain that accompanies a fever either. And when that bottle of over the counter fever reducer is oh so handy then why not?
I’m not saying that it is always bad to take measure to bring a fever down, sometimes we need to do that. However, we also need to let the immune do its job. A fever is a beneficial tool in the eradication of viruses and pathogens – they die of in an elevated body temperature. With that being said here are a few situations that call for medical attention.
- A fever lasting more than 5 days.
- A high fever that is accompanied with increased exhaustion or fatigue.
- A fever above 100.4 in infants under 6 weeks old.
- Symptoms of meningitis accompanied with a high fever – neck pain, skin rash, headache, increased light sensitivity.
“Give me a fever, and I can cure any illness” - Hippocrates
2. Importance of Rest
During rest your body has an opportunity to heal itself and divert its energy to your immune system. If you push yourself during illness your body is forced to direct its energy away from your immune system. In order to fight viruses, bacteria, make repairs, and destroy cells gone bad (cancer cells) your immune system needs energy. It has to create B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells to fight foreign invaders. Additionally, it needs to promote a healthy lymphatic system during an illness so your body can properly drain dead cells and cellular debris. Each day you have a finite amount of energy available to you and levels vary from person to person. Your personal energy levels are dependent on many factors including lifestyle choices, emotional challenges, and hereditary influences. Proper rest during illness is key to restoration, especially getting solid rest between the hours of 10 PM – 2 AM. During illness many individuals need increased sleep well over twelve hours a day. Oh, and stress will slow down your immune system as well! Taking steps to reduce stress will do wonders when you are battling a nasty bug.
3. Proper Diet
As diet full of fresh organic fruits and vegetables if key for optimal health - especially during immune challenges. Your body needs increased nutrients to do its job and fresh produce will supply your body with a plethora of key nutrients. Also, make sure to avoid sugar! Sugar hampers your immune system and slows it down. Lastly, remember to take your vitamins to give your body an additional boost. Click here to learn about our Natural Medicine Cabinet Specials.
Be well my friends! - Carolyn