Starve a cold feed a fever, take meds for fever–well not so fast

Fever is a defense mechanism, treating fever is treating the mom mostly but it does reduce the achy miserable feeling and reduces fluid loss.

Treat the symptoms–allow the fever if the person or child is not too fussy and miserable.

Sudden onset of high fever causes a benign siezure called febrile seizures that scares the beejesus out of parents. Kids prone to febrile seizures should be monitored for fever just to avoid the scares, until they outgrow their tendency.


4 responses to “Starve a cold feed a fever, take meds for fever–well not so fast

  1. Aren’t there limits to how high a fever should be allowed to go? I once came back from a trip to Turkey, during the bird flu scare, and I was sicker than I’ve ever been. I don’t know what my fever was, but I was delirious. Didn’t know where I was. Bed sheets were literally soaked with sweat. An acetaminophen got me back into my right mind. Was feeling a lot better when I saw my doc the next day, but she consulted with the CDC and put me in quarantine, anyhow.

    • Depends on the tissue. For pretty much everything except brain and spinal cord, the limits are in the high forties and are not attainable by fever (unless you do hard work while heavily dressed). Your testicles are on the outside, so no worries there — unless you’re heavily insulated in that area. Sustained fever helps immunity — the higher, the better.

      The most limiting factor is intracranial temperature. Your #1 problem is that you start getting irreversible brain damage from prolonged hyperthermia at 39C and above. What’s good for immunity is not good for sanity. The correct solution is to cool the brain while in fever: wear an ice pack on the face and the front side of the neck; check that contact is good around eye sockets, forehead and temples. In the absence of ice, a wet cloth exposed to wind will do the job (use a fan if at home). This method actually has dual benefits: if applied properly, it raises core temperature while cooling the brain (a direct consequence of cooling — if you see this effect, it means your cooling effort has reached the hypothalamus).

      The chills and aches you get all over the body are the signs that your spinal cord is not happy. There is no good solution for that; however, it seems like the spinal cord more resilient to hyperthermia than the intracranial parts.

      I never treated my children’s fever. I simply wrapped them in blankets and took them outside for anywhere between half-hour and two hours at a time with their heads uncovered (they always happened to be sick in the dead of winter, so ambient air was as good as ice). We never had seizures or anything as dramatic; the earliest signs of brain damage I detected were reduced activity and the loss off vergence control (like when falling asleep, just more sustained and not quite reaching the sleep phase). They regained vergence and felt better within minutes of cooling, sometimes properly falling asleep. We glided through all the horrible childhood infections without any damage, and now they are pretty robust adults, compared to most of their peers.

  2. Symptoms for gallbladder and liver issues also include fever. It is a sign that one must go to hospital….. this sign is also relevant to pancreatitis. You can starve a fever and wait it out but have to be careful about whether or not it is related to other serious symptoms.

    Also, febrile convulsions resulting from fever needs some careful monitoring. My granddaughter had a febrile convulstion due to fever and now she has epileptic fits that have not been controlled.

    Otherwise you make some good points.

  3. very nice discussion, Gene, I do believe I will put it up.

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