A New Attitude Toward Fevers: An Interview With Philip Incao, MD - Page 2
|A New Attitude Toward Fevers: An Interview With Philip Incao, MD|
So much for the germ theory!
In its time, the germ theory was a great revelation. The discovery that bacteria could influence the course of illness helped us create a whole new level of public and private hygiene, which has given our immune systems much less work to do in some respects. But the germ theory is very limited. There was an article in Scientific American way back in 1955, titled, “Second Thoughts on the Germ Theory,” about the observation that everyone harbors disease germs, but not everyone is sick. The conclusion was that whether or not we get sick depends on the condition of the host—your body—more than it does on the germs.
So we’ve known for a long time that while germs feed on disease and weakness, they seldom directly cause it. That’s why I prefer the word “inflammation” to the misunderstood and misleading word “infection,” which strikes so much fear into people’s hearts. In the case of inflammations involving germs, the germs are doing us a favor by helping to cleanse the body. Germs feed on the dying and decaying matter in our body which we are all continually producing—it’s the normal life cycle of our cells. Because most of our cells are continually dying and being replaced, every normal, healthy child and adult harbors trillions of germs.
We’ve been so conditioned to think of fevers as dangerous, how does a parent know when it’s serious?
When a mother observes her sick child objectively, unclouded by emotions, her assessment is usually accurate. It’s normal for a feverish child to be lethargic, flushed, hot to the touch and uninterested in eating or drinking. But if the feverish child is becoming weaker and weaker, losing eye contact or growing cool or pale, then the doctor or emergency room should be called. When my children had their fevers, I seldom took their temperature. A thermometer cannot tell whether a fever is benign or serious; you tell that by observing the child.
A typical parent will give a child a fever-reducing medicine if the temperature is one degree above normal. What that does is to cause whatever toxic matter was trying to come out of the body to settle back into the body more deeply. Nothing has really gone away, and when the Tylenol or ibuprofen wears off the child will be sicker than before. Children will get repeated earaches or strep throats when the first earache or strep throat is not really healed, but is only suppressed by an antibiotic. Although they can be lifesaving when really needed, when given unnecessarily, antibiotics weaken the immune system. As for anti-inflammatory drugs like Tylenol and ibuprofen, it is false advertising to say that they “relieve” symptoms. A true symptom-relieving medicine would actually facilitate or share in the work that the symptoms are doing in cleansing the body, thus allowing the symptoms to work less intensely. This is what a healing herbal or homeopathic medicine can do, and what detoxification does, but drugs are unable to do.
Drugs suppress symptoms by suppressing the work of the immune system that produces the symptoms. Antibiotics, though suppressive, are sometimes necessary, but anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen are unhelpful for fever, do not prevent convulsions at all, and are best avoided except for severe pain that is not relieved by detoxification, homeopathic medicines or other healing measures.
What about febrile seizures? The great fear of every parent is that their child will run a high fever and have a seizure.
This is another example where parents have been unnecessarily scared out of their wits. The first misconception is that a febrile (fever-caused) seizure, also called a fever convulsion, is directly caused by a high fever. This isn’t totally accurate, because 95 percent of kids have a high fever and don’t get a seizure, and kids who do get a febrile seizure often don’t have that high a temperature. A seizure is caused when the fever rises very rapidly, often before the parent even knows it’s there. Some children will get a febrile seizure because the body doesn’t go with the flow of the fever warmth surging through it. This often happens when the body, arms, hands, legs and feet are too cold and the warmth surge has difficulty penetrating the whole body. When a fever is rising, the patient feels chilled and shivers and should be warmly covered.
The other misconception is that febrile seizures cause permanent brain damage—they don’t. Generally, if a convulsion has not occurred in the first 24 hours of the fever, then it is less likely to occur at all.
The best way to avoid a fever convulsion is to keep the child warm and give plenty of fluids, so that the warmth of the fever can circulate throughout the body. If the child is throwing off the blankets, at least keep the belly, legs and feet warm. In many healing traditions around the world, children are wrapped in blankets when they have a fever.
How can our readers learn more?
They can go to philipincao.com and print out articles I’ve written on children’s health, the immune system and vaccinations. Also on the site are my home remedy kit directions, which go into the details of caring at home for fevers, infections and inflammations in children and adults. Following these guidelines enabled me to bring up my three children, who are now healthy, non-allergic, non-asthmatic adults, without ever having to give them Tylenol, ibuprofen or an antibiotic.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #34.
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