Say your child has a viral fever. The fever has reached a whopping 103 – 104 degrees. The body is weak, no food stays in, eyes are changing color, an incessant headache builds, and refuses to leave. As a parent, all you want is for your child to feel better and for the discomfort to end. So your first instinct – give the child an antipyretic in the form of a paracetamol or an ibuprofen or an aspirin, and bring the fever down as soon as possible.
Well, we’re here to tell you that there’s another way around it.
Contrary to popular belief, fever isn’t something to be feared. When there is a bacterial infection in the body, a fever is the body’s way of waging war against it. It’s your immune system’s defense mechanism, that raises your body’s temperature to a point where the germs can’t survive anymore. But remember your body can take the heat!
When you give your child antipyretics to bring their fever down, what happens in turn is that their immune system gradually loses its innate ability to fight off germs naturally. So the truth is – a fever is more a friend than a foe!
If this is the case, what does one do to recover from a viral infection?
It’s time once again to dive into actual patient stories!
This is the story of 13yr old Angath, who lives in Mumbai, India. It’s about his fever, it’s effects and his mother who refused to pump antipyretics into his system. Here’s his mother, Lisa’s account of what went down.
For his vacation from school, Angath and his family visited their family home in Goa. As most monsoon holidays usually are, this vacation was filled with splashing around in the garden with water, getting drenched in the rain and of course, hours and hours of football in the muck. (What young boy’s rainy holiday is ever complete without it?)
After playtime was over, his sister and he would go home, have a warm shower and be ready for a piping hot meal.
The other highlight, like that of any child’s holiday was – junk food! Everyday rules never apply on vacation. Right? So the otherwise healthy and cautious Angath loaded up on burgers, chips, ice creams and desserts.
While everything he did may have made him the perfect candidate for a viral, that spreads so easily in the rains, in Goa, he was in perfect health. “But we were in Goa. There’s just no pollution. he couldn’t have got the virus there, because no one else had it” , said his mother, Lisa.
After a happy and soul satisfying holiday, it was back to the grind in Mumbai. Since it was still vacation time, there was some more fun to be had.
The day after they arrived (a Friday), Angath decided to grab some street food. He immediately knew something was wrong. “It’s just not going down”, he said.
The next day, he spent the day out of the house. A whole day of football went by, but his water intake was zero. Lisa remembers telling him he needed to hydrate, but mom’s advice is often forgotten when a game of football is underway.
By Monday, his body seemed to give in.
It began with a headache in the morning. His eyes began to turn red and his headache soon turned into a migraine, something he tended to have often, due to dehydration. The pain radiated to the back of his neck.
At this point Lisa decided it was time for some home remedies to kick in. She started him off with a lime shot and then used rose water on his eyes to help cool them down.
By late afternoon his body temperature began rising, however the fever hadn’t set in yet. As this happened, she gave him a paracetamol to help regulate his temperature, and within a half hour, his eyes cleared. He slept all evening.
On day 2, his fever kept rising. As confirmed by their doctor, the viral had begun, all guns blazing.
Lisa attributed this to 2 factors:
Since her pregnancy, Lisa has been a strong believer of natural treatments for ailments, as far as possible. What disillusioned her with allopathy further was the fact that both her children had been vaccinated against chicken pox and in spite of it, they both had chicken pox.
Based on her naturopath’s advice, her whole family has become accustomed to healthy, natural remedies for ailments and discomfort in their bodies. Even her kids (aged 10 and 13) now know the healing properties of spices like cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin. They often ask her for onion shots when their stomach feels upset. They know that a mixture of ginger and honey can be used to raise the body’s temperature when they are cold, and when they feel like they’ve eaten too much junk, they know to ask for a lemon shot. Medicines and allopathic digestives have no place in her home.
So when Angath’s fever began to rear its ugly head, Lisa’s naturopath suggested simple home remedies:
[Kadha is a popular Indian household remedy for a fever, sore throat and even colds. It is made by adding cumin seeds, cinnamon and ginger to a pot of water and bringing it to a boil. Honey is then added to this, which helps with the fever and breaks acidity]
Despite all these remedies, Lisa still gave paracetamol a chance on Day 1. However, it didn’t seem to help Angath’s fever at all. It fluctuated between 103.3 and 103.7. There seemed to be no point in continuing.
There was the option of going to the hospital, but Lisa was sure they’d put him onto antibiotics that her son’s body didn’t really need, for a sickness he didn’t really have.
Despite concerns, swine flu was ruled out by the absence of a cold, cough and running to the loo. What Angath was struggling with was not being able to eat anything and keep it down, even boiled food and khichdi. He couldn’t eat anything that needed too much digestion, because the stomach was weak and burning up. Instead, he had coconut water, fresh juices and soups that were easy on his stomach.
By the 48th hour, it was all over! He felt better, his fever dropped to 101 and then to 98.6. The natural remedies had paid off, without causing any harm to his body.
At the end of this whole ordeal, Lisa was relieved – both, because her son felt better and because she didn’t have to resort to medication with potential side effects, to help him heal. She says that all it needs on a parent’s part is patience, determination, stamina (lots of it!) and faith in your method.
It’s important to know that even though the effects of these remedies can’t be seen immediately, like with allopathy, these are healing you from within.
Like we always say, allopathy is only the band aid you put from above. The real healing takes place within – naturally!