Check List for Fever
1. Make yourself or your patient as comfortable as possible, mop brow with cool, damp flannel with a drop of lavender oil on it.
2. Air out the sick room by opening a window for a while and change sheets
2. Take the temperature to monitor it doesn’t go above 40°C
3. Follow the old adage ‘starve a fever feed a cold’
4. Drink lots of water and herbal teas, in sips – staying hydrated is paramount.
When we have a fever it is miserable, uncomfortable and generally yukky. If sleep can be found that is certainly one of the best remedies to aid the body to recover and restore. Sleep with a fever however can become quite delirious with waking dreams and otherworldly feelings and experiences. In this case, gentle reassurance and possibly a cool flannel with drop of lavender will help to calm and soothe.
A raised temperature, is the body’s normal response to infection. It is a sign that the immune system has started responding positively. The temperature rises to create an internal environment that is not compatible with pathogens like viruses and bacteria. Recovering from an infection is one of the body’s most important self-healing processes. A fever also triggers the release, and encourages the flow, of immune cells to a needed area. It stimulates the production of various immune complexes like leukocytes, interleukins, interferons, and tumour necrosis factor as part of an acute inflammatory response to an infectious agent.
A high temperature, while uncomfortable, will reduce the life span of pathogens, shortening the length of time that disease can take hold, thus fevers are a beneficial process and a positive indicator of healthy immune function. When you know a fever is there to help, it give us a different view point. When we see the arrival of a fever, we know that it will be uncomfortable but it will also mark the stage where recovery can start to occur afterwards.
Normal and raised body temperature
Normal body temperature is around 37°C ± 1. The body temperature can raise above 39 several nights in a row without too much cause for concern. However, dealing with febrile convulsions (the fitting shakes that can accompany fever) is unpleasant and potentially serious so keeping an eye on the temperature if someone if getting really hot is important.
There are different patterns to fever: intermittent where the temperature falls back to normal each day, remittent is where the temp drops daily but still stays somewhat elevated, continuous or sustained, hectic, and relapsing. All of these patterns can be supported with plant medicine.
Managing fever with herbs
This can be a subtle management process depending on the individual picture and what is called the constitution or terrain of the individual. This means that someone that is generally dry and hot would be treated differently from someone who is for example, damp and prone to pustules on the skin. However, we always like to give you practical tips and herbs that can be applied generally to support a fever.
There is a term in herbalism called diaphoretic. If a herb has a diaphoretic action this means that the herb promotes sweating. They do this by stimulating the excretory glands on the skin and can be stimulating or relaxing in their effect. What they are doing is keeping the channels of elimination open, encouraging blood flow in the body and helping to excrete toxins from the blood and system that build up as the body responds to infection.
We are primarily looking to botanical preparations for their diaphoretic effects on the body.
Using herbs as medicine has the added advantage of being able to tailor combinations to suit the needs of a patient’s individual condition and terrain. Commonly applied diaphoretics include herbs such as yarrow (Achillea millefolium), catnip (Nepeta cataria), lime blossom (Tilia spp), elderflower (Sambucus nigra), meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), and peppermint (Mentha piperita).
These diaphoretic herbs can be combined with immune-enhancing herbs such as echinacea (Echinacea spp.), and elderberry (Sambucus nigra).
Gentle soothing nervine
The gentle nervine, digestive, herb chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) can be added to soothe a restless or uncomfortable patient.
Other body systems
Herbs for particular body systems can be mixed into the tea for example heather in a UTI, thyme in a respiratory infection, marshmallow for a digestive illness etc
Here is a link to our Cold and Flu tea – Yarrow, Peppermint, Elderflower
This is a traditional combination for cold and flu; Yarrow, Peppermint, Elderflower.
This tea has been used for centuries. It is a well-balanced blend that covers a range of interactions that support an uncomfortable fevering patient.
Yarrow has a heating component to it, thus helping to reduce fever. It also has an affinity for mucous membranes thereby helping with mucous. The yarrow is a wonderful diaphoretic, encouraging circulation, also anti-microbial and is named in its Latin name Achillea millefolium, after the great warrior connected to the Trojan war, Achilles.
Peppermint is soothing, cooling, anti-viral and digestive
Elderflowers help to clear mucous, reduce fever and boost the immune system
Elderflower in the Sunlight
Starve a Fever Feed a Cold
Follow the old adage ‘starve a fever feed a cold’– the body working to clean up and irradiate an infection takes a lot of energy and also localised immune reaction created by the blood travelling to the affected area. Eating heavy foods can take blood away from the area to the digestive system to digest food. The blood and energy is needed at the site of infection.
Grandma’s Vinegar Treatment
Apple Cider Vinegar to The Rescue: Apple cider vinegar is another age-old remedy used to help “draw out” the fever. Grandmother Jaja used to soak towels in vinegar wrap us kids up in them, wrap us in another warm dry towel and put us under a think duvet. She said it drew out the infection and helped the lymph to move. We stunk of vinegar and survived our childhood illnesses without hospitalisation. Grandmothers remedies are often the best!
Keep clean, fresh and warm
Turning down a bed that has been sweated in can bring great relief and comfort to a patient. Opening a window for an hour or so in the morning freshens the air and gives a sense of bringing the outside in.
As you start to improve
After the fever has retreated you can start to eat the delicious bone broth or veg stock soups LINK to SOUP BLOG. with nourishing veg and greens. There will need to be a period of convalescence and rest needed to restore the system. Keep drinking the herbal teas to support the regeneration and restoration of body organs that have been put under pressure to enable the system to come back to a state of balance.
check out our podcast on the subject here
If at any point you are concerned for the welfare of yourself or someone you are caring for, call 111 and discuss the symptoms with them. They may need hospital care.
These are from the NHS website
Call 999 or go to A&E if your child:
· has a stiff neck
· has a rash that does not fade when you press a glass against it
· is bothered by light
· has a fit (febrile seizure) for the first time
· has unusually cold hands and feet
· has pale, blotchy, blue or grey skin
· has a weak, high-pitched cry that’s not like their normal cry
· is drowsy and hard to wake
· finds it hard to breathe and sucks their stomach in under their ribs
· has a soft spot on their head that curves outwards (bulging fontanelle)