By John Salak –
Everybody just needs to chill when it comes to mild fevers. The medical profession has known for years that a mild fever is actually a good thing because it triggers the body’s defense mechanisms.
“Mild fevers are a good indication that the immune system is doing its job. But fevers are not just a byproduct of the immune response. In fact, an elevated body temperature triggers cellular mechanisms that ensure the immune system takes appropriate action against the offending virus or bacteria,” MedicalNewsToday.com reported.
Now, however, recent research from the University of Alberta in Canada reports that untreated moderate fevers may not only clear up infections, it may also reduce inflammation and repair damaged tissue. In fact, letting a mind fever run its course may cut the infection time in half, the researchers reported.
“We let nature do what nature does, and in this case, it was very much a positive thing,” explained immunologist Daniel Barreda, the study’s lead author and a professor at the university.
The Canadian research was focused on animals, but Barreda notes it is reasonable to expect humans to have the same extended fever benefits. The catch to reaping the benefits of a fever, however, is the ability to differentiate between a high and moderate or mild fever and battling back against that natural inclination of people to seek medication to eliminate any fever at all.
The normal body temperature for people is well known at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. A mild fever is considered just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with moderate fevers being slightly above this. Fevers reaching 103 degrees Fahrenheit are considered high fevers that are potentially dangerous.
Few people enjoy any type of fever, but the psychological impact of Covid-19 has made fevers a kind of harbinger of pending doom, leading many people to immediately undermine their ability to fight back disease.
Given the lasting impact of Covid-19, “little public attention has been given to fever as an evolved defense. Fever, the regulated increase in the body temperature, is part of the evolved systemic reaction to an infection known as the acute phase response. The heat of fever augments the performance of immune cells, induces stress on pathogens and infected cells directly and combines with other stressors to provide a nonspecific immune defense,” according to a similar study published in the National Library of Medicine.
The combined results of these and other research suggest people should resist reaching for over-the-counter fever medications, also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, at the first signs of a mild temperature.
“They take away the discomfort felt with fever, but you’re also likely giving away some of the benefits of this natural response,” Barreda said.