Benefits of fever

Many people doubt that fever is useful, or simply do not know.

It is no coincidence that nature has permanently developed this function in warm-blooded animals. Its benefits far outweigh its temporary and apparent disadvantages.

 

Natural accompaniments of fever

First, let's look at the apparent disadvantages:

  • Increased oxygen demand, carbon dioxide production (tissues)
  • Increased respiratory rate (lungs)
  • Increased cardiac output (heart)
  • Increased fluid demand (circulation, storages)
  • Increased electrolyte requirements (sweat glands)
  • Increased energy demand (muscles) (127)

This shows that the whole body is involved in establishing and maintaining the process; targeted, regulated, precisely coordinated.

All in all, the phenomenon is very similar to a regular, everyday workout.

The big question is, can we trust internal regulation? How dangerous or useful is fever?

The answer is: fever is useful.

It has spread and become commonplace over many millions of years (3). So, it does not pose a threat to the body that creates it in a well-controlled manner.

With a few exceptions, fever provides several benefits to the host in terms of immunity and survival (13). Fever enhances protection against intrusive agents through a combination of direct heat (9), and humoral (10) and cellular (11, 148) immune protection. The fact that fever occurs in all warm-blooded and heterothermic animals indicates that it is an evolutionarily valuable, useful process (1).

When pathogens infiltrate the human body, various defensive processes are triggered. The immune system and the regulation of body temperature are closely and co-ordinately related. We have written a separate chapter on this.

In the case of infections, healing is faster and more complete. In serious infectioncaused by certain bacteria complications, mortality rates are significantly higher if fever does not develop or is suppressed (14).

Older patients were seven times more likely to die of community-acquired pneumonia without fever and leukocytosis (15).

It protects against recurrent infections, enhances the maturation of children’s immune systems.

Simple illnesses with fever in the early stages of childhood protect against later allergies. If a child has several febrile infections, later the allergic rate will be lower.

In childhood, between 6-7 years of age, there are few simple infectious disease that do not cause fever or at least an increase in heat. Fever also indicates that defence has been activated, e.g. against “invaders.”

Fever itself is therefore not a disease but a sign that the body is immune.

A positive attitude towards fever is important in the context of antibiotic resistance because it can help reduce antibiotic abuse (124) and unindicated, unnecessary use of anti-fever drugs (antipyretics).

 

It helps to recover faster in simple, everyday illnesses (145).

 

Many people report that their child is “leaping”after a high fever disease. That is, they are advancing in some of their attributes. For example, their bad appetite will improve or lose its defiance. They become better at some kinds of movement, speech, and intellectual ability. Even for these alone it is worth enduring the difficulties of a feverish condition.

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Refer to the literature by numbers in this document here: References

Version update: 08th March 2020