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What is a fever?

Fever is an abnormal rise in body temperature is most often caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Normal body temperature varies from 36.7 to 37.2 C. One should not be unduly concerned, unless body temperature rises above 38 C in adults or 38.1 C in children.

Running a high temperature is a defence mechanism by the body to destroy harmful microbes. When destructive microbes or tumour cells invade the body, the immune cells rush to fight them, releasing proteins that tell the hypothalamus to raise body temperature.

Fever is often associated with symptoms such as flushed face, chills, a feeling of weakness and light-headedness, aching muscles and joints, loss of appetite and increased pulse rate.

View fever products

When can running a fever cause problems?

There are instances, however, in which a fever can cause problems. A moderately high fever may pose a risk for people with cardiac problems, since it makes the heart beat faster and work harder, and can cause irregular heart rhythms, chest pain or heart attack.

Very high fever during the first trimester of pregnancy can cause birth defects.

Fever over 41 C, especially for prolonged periods, can cause dehydration and brain injury.

What symptoms are associated with fever?

Fever is often associated with symptoms such as flushed face, chills, a feeling of weakness and light-headedness, aching muscles and joints, loss of appetite and increased pulse rate. Perspiration is the natural result of the body's attempt to lower its temperature.

Fever with a sore throat may indicate influenza, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, mumps, meningitis or glandular fever.

Nutritional requirements during a fever?

Diet should be kept light but nutritious until the fever drops. Since a fever will deplete the body's energy stores, caloric needs are increased and intake should be adjusted accordingly.

Appetite is typically reduced, so a fortified, high-protein meal replacement shake may be an appropriate way to maintain caloric needs and prevent muscle wasting.

A high fluid intake is essential to compensate for the loss that occurs with the fever. Lemon and honey drinks are good.

Nutritional and Herbal support for a Fever includes:

Olive leaf extract and anti-microbial herbs for treating infections. Olive leaf lowers a fever.

Advanced Antioxidant Formula - for immune modulation.

Catnip, Elderflower, Feverfew - herbs for lowering fevers, best if consumed as a tea.

Fevamed - A homoeopathic remedy designed to assist the body's normal fever response.

Some interesting points on Fevers...

  • Get plenty of rest while the temperature is elevated. Avoid rapid changes in temperature. Consume large quantities of liquids to prevent dehydration and flush out toxins.
  • Drink distilled water and juices but avoid solid food until fever breaks. The digestion of food uses up a lot of energy better spent on getting well. Vegetable broths and soups are acceptable if the person is hungry.
  • As long as a fever does not get too high (above 39 C) let it run its course. It helps to fight infections and eliminate toxins. Seek advice.
  • If the body temperature rises above 37.8 C (39.5 C in a child), take measures to reduce the fever, and consult a health care provider. This can be a sign of a worsening infection.
  • Take sponge baths. Use water that is 1 degree lower than the person's temperature. If the water is too cool it will cause problems.
  • In all cases of fever in children, seek advice from your health care professional immediately.
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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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