The presence of a fever has been researched for hundreds of years.  Ancient doctors made note of increased temperature during times of illness.  It has also been noted that cold-blooded animals seek warm environments when sick.   What was once viewed as coincidence is now scientifically validated.

Recent studies have shown that the immune system may perform more optimally in the presence of a fever.  Scientists from the Department of Immunology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute showed that temperature modification caused a change in the cell membranes of immune cells.  This leads to an improved ability of immune cells to destroy infected cells, which cause disease.

Understanding the benefits of an increased body temperature will hopefully alter behaviors when sick.  In light of this study, researchers are suggesting that patients allow the fever to take effect.  The recommendation is to provide the fever time to act on the immune cells and remove antibodies.  (The exception is a fever above 104 degrees, which has associated risks) Unfortunately most people immediately reach for medication to decrease fever-like symptoms.

Admittedly, an increased body temperature isn’t pleasant; however, it may be best in the long run.  Be sure to stay well hydrated and your body will get you through the rest.

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