If you are a current practice member here at RISE, this post will echo concepts that you have come to understand, and hopefully apply, already. On a handful of occasions that I can recall, some of our moms have come in and ask if they should allow their child’s fever to run its course, or administer a fever reducer, i.e. Motrin, to give their child some much-needed relief. My response is not what they are expecting to hear, and it usually sounds like this: “There is no correct answer. It all depends on what your goal is.” I then remind them of the conversation I have with all our practice members about permanent correction versus temporary relief. If your goal is to make your child comfortable right now, regardless of the effects later, good or bad, then the fastest, most efficient, proven way to make your child comfortable is to administer a drug that will override the body’s natural biochemical processes to reduce the body temperature… but if the goal is permanent correction, then we need to discuss why the body is running a fever in the first place.
Without ever reading a medical textbook, going to school, or reviewing the published research, the human body understands that common bacterial pathogens like staph and strep thrive at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (normal body temperature), but they cannot survive in an environment of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. So when it recognizes that a foreign, harmful culture is present within the body, the brain automatically sends messages back down to the body to raise the core temperature. Your body understands that while it may be temporarily uncomfortable to be above normal body temperature, it will survive within certain limits, and the pathogen will die. This is the best-case scenario for the body, which is why it performs this defensive mechanism automatically. Thank God we don’t have to manually monitor our own blood chemistry for potential foreign invaders, and then run for the sauna to steam ourselves out in defense, because frankly that would be exhausting. According to our current research, our bodies in 2018 are the products of about 200,000 years of evolutionary development, each generation carrying more wisdom for survival than the last. If we could quantify the amount of knowledge that our bodies already have to thrive versus what we as humans have been able to accumulate using the scientific method of inductive reasoning for approximately the last 800 years, the latter wouldn’t come close to stacking up to the former. In chiropractic, we respect that principle, and we work with the former – the power that the body is already equipped with to heal – the same power that allowed you to develop into a conscious, sentient, 37-trillion-cell human adult from 2 immature half cells without you having to consciously direct or coordinate one individual step of that entire process. By simply removing stress or interference to that healing system, we understand that the body will be able to do its job more efficiently and accurately, which is an understanding gained through deductive reasoning, rather than inductive like our scientific method. By reducing the fever manually, the body’s intelligent defense system becomes handicapped, but by allowing the fever to ride out, within reason, the bacteria cooks and the immune system learns. Not only do you get out of the woods quicker, but the immune system is better equipped to respond and adapt at the next exposure to a foreign invader.
Please note that if you or your child’s fever reaches a dangerous level near 104 degrees F or higher, then this would be the time and place to seek emergency care. For everything else, maybe we should consider a “less is more” approach, and trust the power that made the body to also heal it rather than attempting to override the process. In this particular case, the presence of a symptom (fever) is the expression of health, rather than an indicator of disease or infirmary.
Call us at (337) 324-3031 for a complementary consultation for yourself and your family to find out how chiropractic can help improve immune function, and in the meantime check out these published studies from the ICPA: