Don’t Fear a Fever: Tips for Surviving COVID

I’ve been reading this wonderful book, written nearly 20 years ago by a Medical Doctor who specialized in immunology and virology, Dr. J.E. Williams.

It’s a big book, but not too dense. I don’t want to put words or theories into the mouth of the author, but I’m reading it and thinking to myself: “this guy totally predicted our current pandemic! He looked at trends from the Spanish Flu of 1918 and also his work on HIV and other more modern viruses, and he saw this coming.”

His suggestion in the book:  Do what you CAN control: Boost your Immune System.

This post will talk about how fever is a really important response to an attack on the immune system, and actually allowing that fever to do its work is a very important part of the healing process. 

We also want to be aware of the possibility that the body just isn’t producing a fever response. Dr. Williams talks about this in the book as the fatigue response replacing the fever response. No es bueno.  How many people have you heard about that got COVID and really never experienced anything other than being tired to the bone?  There are many folks out there.

While we are discussing books on viruses and pandemics, I have had the pleasure of watching my daughter study plagues and zoonotic diseases (diseases that pass between animals and humans) in her many years of animal sciences studies. When she was in high school, we both read “Spillover,” which I see is now a BESTSELLER now (even though it was relatively unheard of when we read it years ago). If you want to read a thrilling nonfiction book, and the medical details of the pandemic don’t overly scare you, this book is a great idea for a stocking stuffer. 

Back to Viral Immunity and the concept of “Don’t Fight a Fever.” I won’t go into the science of why bugs don’t like high temperatures (and therefore, a fever is our natural defense against pathogens), but I will say that if we have a fever in our house that is under 102, we DO NOT reach for the Tylenol or Ibuprofen. For one thing, Tylenol is really hard on the liver, and this over the counter drug is responsible for more emergency room visits than you might imagine. Then there was all the mixed information about whether taking Ibuprofen was a good idea with COVID.

When we have a fever that is considered low-grade (around 99) or even higher (up to 102), we take it as a sign that our body’s immune system is actually doing its job, and we are getting the signal that it’s time to get into bed and rest.  When I have a fever, I’m very tired and can’t do much else, and maybe that is the point!

I rather not cover up the signal that my body is sending me (“Kathryn, go to bed, rest, increase your fluids and let your body fight this infection!”).  It’s a good message, right?  I mean, do I really want to respond to my body and say,

“Shut up, body! I’m going to shut down this fever process (by taking fever-reducing medication) so that I can go back to work and not rest and not focus on fighting these little bugs and feel sicker for longer!”.

No, I don’t think so.

And I’m not telling you what to do with your body.  Here’s my regular disclaimer:
Disclaimer: What I’m writing here is for information only, and no part of its contents should be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, recommendation, or endorsement by the author. You should always ask your physician or healthcare provider for her recommendation before starting any new health-related activity.

In fact, if your fever does go above 102, you REALLY want to be in touch with your medical provider. I friend of mine had a child that went into Febrile Seizures due to an untreated high fever. She was okay, but it was scary.

What I am not afraid to suggest is that we all must listen to our own bodies, rest when we can, stop the burning-the-candle-at-both-ends-lifestyle, and do what we can to keep our immune systems strong.

According to the book Viral Immunity, when we do the above and get exposed to a pathogen, we are actually more likely to have a fever response and more quickly knock out the bug.  What we should be more concerned about is when we are generally run-down (when we DON’T listen to our bodies, and when we DO burn-the-candle-at-both-ends) and we get sick: our bodies don’t respond with fever but rather fatigue.

We also keep some amazing immunity boosting items in our house, thanks to an amazing company Biocidin. To take as supplements:

And to keep balance in the mouths, an important gateway for those bugs:


To your healthy immune system! For more, seSee this series of blog posts for more information:

  1. Let Food Be Thy Medicine
  2. Stay Well Hydrated
  3. Sleep is the Best Medicine
  4. Start or Boost your Spiritual Practice
  5. Ask for Support for Mental Wellness 
  6. Take Care of Your Skin
  7. Don’t Fear a Fever (this post)
  8. Sweat
  9. Take Time for Professional Development
  10. Breathe
  11. Keep it Out of Your Lungs

 

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