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Articles on Fever

Fever is not a disease

If you read the medical and herbal literature of the early days of the United States, in the first half of the 1800's, you can immediately tell the difference between the conventional doctors and the alternative physicians and herbalists. The alternative practitioners typically forcefully argued, and sometimes in the opening chapter of their book, that fever and inflammation were not diseases, but rather were healing mechanisms that should not be suppressed. The orthodox physicians of the day, on the other hands, argued equally forcefully, that ever fever and other condition of "heat" in the body, should be treated by bloodletting to get rid of the heat. This dichotomy in the view of fever has persisted in medical herbalism, naturopathy, and the constantly changing conventional medicine, which eventually developed strong medications to completely suppress fever and inflammation. So this article signifies a turning point in history. It represents a policy statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics that fever of itself is a harmless condition; its causes must be investigated, the individual must be supported, but it is not to be routinely suppressed. 


  • “Fever . . .is not the primary illness but is a physiologic mechanism that has beneficial effects in fighting infection.”

  • “There is no evidence that fever itself worsens the course of an illness or that it causes long-term neurologic complications.”

  • “The primary goal of treating the febrile child should be to improve the child's overall comfort rather than focus on the normalization of body temperature.” 

  • “. . . monitoring activity, observing for signs of serious illness, encouraging appropriate fluid intake . . .” are appropriate measures.


See the article: Pediatric fever and antipyretic therapy

The Myth of 98.6: What is normal body temperature?

The idea that normal oral body temperature, persisting in the medical field and lay population despite long since being debunked, was based on data by a German physician in the 1860's. Measurements of temperature in the twentieth century finds normal temperature to be much lower.  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Assocaition in 1992 found normal body temperature of about 98.2, and a morning temperature of 98.9 to be the upper limit of normal. 


"Thirty-seven degrees C (98.6°F) should be abandoned as a concept relevant to clinical thermometry; 37.2°C (98.9°F) in the early morning and 37.7°C (99.9°F) overall should be regarded as the upper limit of the normal oral temperature range in healthy adults aged 40 years or younger"


See the article: A Critical Appraisal of 98.6


Systematic review on body temperature

In 2002 a group of researchers examined all studies of normal temperature ranges performed between 1935 and 1999. they did a systematic review of these, and found a lower normal low-temperature and lower average temperature, than the old supposed normal of 98.6, the average being about 97.8.  Variations are substantial for time of day, gender, and age. This information is most relevant to dispel the misconception that a body temperature in the 97s may be indicative of hypothyroid disease. 

See the article: Normal Body Temperature in Adult Men and women 

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