Don’t Pop Pills Just Yet, Mild Fever May Help In Clearing Infections, Study Finds
We are often quick to reach out for medication as soon as a hint of fever is felt. A new study warns against this practice and suggests that a moderate fever may actually be good for clearing infections.
The study, led by a team from the University of Alberta in Canada, found it may be prudent to let a mild fever run its course rather than popping fever medication.
Though the study, published in the journal eLife, was conducted on fish, experts believe this approach to illness can be emulated in humans.
The fish were injected with bacteria and then their behavior was analyzed using machine learning algorithms. The results showed the fish’s outward symptoms were comparable to humans during infections, including immobility, malaise and fatigue.
Also, moderate fever seemed to help the fish clear the infection in about a week. This was half the time it took for those that didn’t let the fever stay. Additionally, untreated mild fever helped in controlling inflammation and repairing damaged tissue.
“We let nature do what nature does, and in this case, it was very much a positive thing,” said study senior author Daniel Barreda, an immunologist at Alberta University, Earth.com reported. “They [fever medications] take away the discomfort felt with fever, but you’re also likely giving away some of the benefits of this natural response.”
“Our goal is to determine how to best take advantage of our medical advances while continuing to harness the benefits from natural mechanisms of immunity,” Barreda added.
The study gains all the more significance in light of another recent survey that found many parents may be unnecessarily giving their children medication to reduce fever.
“Most parents (89%) agree that running a low-grade fever helps a child’s body fight off infection. Three in four parents (75%) say they take their child’s temperature as soon as they notice a possible problem, while 23% of parents wait to see if the problem continues or worsens before taking their temperature; 2% take their child’s temperature in rare situations only,” the report read.
According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, most fevers are good for sick children. It’s a sign that their bodies are fighting off the infection. Most low-grade fevers resolve on their own, especially when there’s proper hydration since fluids help the body give off heat through the skin.