What most parents dread is seeing their children suffer from flu or fever. Children usually fall sick one by one when there is a flu epidemic or when the season changes. When children fall sick, the first thing that most parents would do is to let the children see a doctor so that he can give them injection and prescribe medications for them. Some children actually live off medicines used to cure flu for a long period of time, but this will only worsen their illnesses and weaken their bodies’ resistance to diseases. Western ‘Father of Medicine’ Hippocrates once said, ‘As long as the patient has fever, I am able to cure all kinds of illnesses.’ This may sound like an odd statement to us, but what does he mean?
Dr Tom Kruzel, N.D., pointed out in his medical report entitled ‘Fever as Healer’ that fever occurs when our bodies are fighting viruses or bacteria while repairing the damages caused by these viruses. Hence, we should allow the fever to reduce naturally. When the body is fighting viruses and bacteria, its resistance will also be enhanced greatly. If we use medications to bring down a fever very fast instead of reducing it naturally, our bodies will become very weak and eventually lose their resistance to any virus completely.
Dr Philip Incao M.D., a specialist in human intelligences, said that the body undergoes the greatest and fastest changes during childhood stage. During this stage, a child’s body will go through many times of reconstruction and a certain degree of destruction has to take place first in order to reconstruct a stronger body. Damaged old cells need to be eliminated before the body can reconstruct. Our bodies’ immune system causes fever and infections in order to destroy and digest these damaged cells, and to get rid of them from our bodies. Hence children very often have skin diseases, runny noses or pus because their immune system is working very hard. If these waste matters are not removed from the body, they will cause the child to have allergies or more serious infections. Actually, viruses do not attack us but will grow in profusion in us when our bodies are in the process of destroying and eliminating old and damaged cells. Hence viruses do not cause illnesses, but they live on illnesses.
According to research findings, fever will increase the number of white blood cells. The functions of white blood cell are to gather toxins and absorb micro-organisms in order to expel them from the body. When we are having fever, our hearts beat faster, and our breaths become shorter, oxygenated blood will thus be delivered to the infected area. Viruses do not grow well and fast in an environment with high level of oxygen. At the same time, our metabolism rate will increase and hence the toxins can be expelled faster. Most harmful viruses can survive only in a limited range of temperature. The increase in our body temperature during fever will limit their growth and enable the white blood cells to get rid of them from our bodies.
From these evidence, fever is actually a good remedy for illnesses. Doctors suggest we take note of the following points to help our children grow up healthily:
1. Try to let the patient get as much rest as possible, avoid unnecessary activities, do not let them go to school.
2. Keep the patient’s body warm, especially the torso and feet. Let the child wear clothes made of natural materials like cotton or wool etc. The child should be kept warm so that his cheeks are reddish, but he is not perspiring. Do not bathe the child. If his feet are cold, use hot water bags to keep them warm.
3. The diet of the patient should be kept light and oil-free. Avoid protein-rich food such as eggs, meat, milk, nuts, beans etc. Provide mainly liquid food such as vegetable soup, herbal tea, fruit juice (temperature of the juice should not be lower than room temperature). Fruits, cooked vegetables or porridge are also recommended. Furthermore, quantity of food intake should be less, not more. If the child is not hungry, then do not force him to eat. Normally, an improvement in the child’s appetite is a sign of recovery, but even then, the diet should be kept oil-free and light.
4. During fever, you can let the child drink herbal tea brewed with herbs such as horsetail, yarrow, chamomile or catnip. You may also use herbs that can boost the child’s immunity or medicines that serve similar purpose. Normal antibiotics and medicines such as aspirin will only cool down the ‘heat’ generated by the immunity system, they lower the body temperature too quickly thus depriving the immunity system of the chance to reconstruct. These medications, if used too often, will weaken our immunity system and will eventually cause us to lose our resistance to illnesses completely.
5. Observe the patient carefully, is he fully conscious? Does he have seizures? Are there signs of dehydration? Children with ages ranging from 6 months to 6 years are likely to have fever-related seizures which are due to the sharp increase in body temperature. If they do not have seizures within 24 hours when symptoms of fever first appear, then it is unlikely that they will have seizures. Send the child to the doctor immediately if he has seizures. You should also look out for signs of dehydration. Check if the patient’s skin on his cheeks or hands is springy to touch, if his skin is dry and if his tongue is moist. For new-borns, you can check if the fontanel is sunken below the level of the skull abnormally.
6. Let your child know that you care for him, that you are looking after him all the time. This will help to alleviate the child’s fear and nervousness and hence hasten the process of recovery.
Most parents are afraid that if the fever is not brought down immediately, the brain of the child may be damaged due to overheating. In actual fact, the brain will not be damaged even if the fever has risen to 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit). Some cancer patients’ bodies have to bear the temperature of 41.7 degrees Celsius for 2 hours continuously and their brains are not affected at all.
What you should watch out for are complications like meningitis or pneumonia. You need not use antibiotics or antipyretics to bring down the fever. Antibiotics are life-saving medicine, but they are not able to help the patient recover from his illnesses fully. Nowadays antibiotics are prescribed indiscriminately, resulting in more drug-resistant bacteria and hence illnesses which are more difficult to cure. Antibiotics can only keep infections under control temporarily, if the real cause of the disease has not been eradicated, our immunity system will remain to be weak.
So far, my two children have not taken any antipyretic whenever they have fever. I remembered Yong Wei once had high fever that lasted a week when he was 3 years old. During that week, his fever reached 39.5 degrees Celsius in daytime and rose to 40, 41 degrees Celsius at night. When he was asleep at night, he would wake up every 1 to 2 hours to cry. On the third day, I brought him to see a doctor to ensure that there was no other complication. I remembered myself fighting the strong temptation of giving him antipyretics prescribed by the doctor. I managed to overcome that and used American herbs with similar healing properties instead of the antipyretics. During the day, I prepared pear drink and brewed Luo Han Guo tea (Chinese herbs) for him to drink. His condition improved on the fifth day and his fever finally reduced on the seventh day. After Yong Wei had recovered fully, I felt that he had matured a lot, it was like he had changed into a whole new person. Upon reflections, I was glad that I allowed my son to fight this battle with his own ability and that he had successfully gone through this growing process. As for myself, I am no longer worried or scared when my sons have high fever. Yong Xing had skin rashes when he was one, it started with him having high fever for 3 days and when the fever came down, his body was covered with rashes. The rashes did not cause itchiness and they disappeared 2 days later. I did not give him any medicine or apply anything on his body. Before this incident, he would have flu once in a while and after that incident, he has never fallen sick.
I have consulted a few friends on how they helped their children overcome their illnesses. One mother used urine therapy, some mothers let their children drink lots of green vegetable and fruit juice (celery, parsley and apples). Some examples of folk practices to counter flu are consuming ginger drink, covering the patient with blanket and let him perspire, etc. Actually, Western doctors very well know the disadvantages of the misuse of antibiotics, they are refraining from prescribing antibiotics unless necessary. Parents who wish to use natural therapies can use the information provided here as a guidance.