The 7 Benefits of a Fever
Today, we’re going to talk about the seven benefits of a fever.
Now, you might think that a fever is something bad like a disease, but it’s actually something normal that your immune system creates as a defense mechanism against certain infections.
Overall, it’s a very good thing that you don’t want to get rid of right away.
In this article, we will discuss the 7 top benefits of a fever in adults:
- Fevers restrict the production of pathogens
- They decrease the duration of infections
- Fevers mobilize white blood cells (WBCs)
- They enhance phagocytosis
- They decrease the endotoxin effect
- They increase the growth of T-cells
- They reduce the overall mortality rate
Let’s dive into the details.
1. Restricts the production of pathogens
Fever has been defined as, “a state of elevated core temperature, which is often, but not necessarily, part of the defensive responses of multicellular organisms (host) to invasion of live (microorganisms) or inanimate matter recognized as pathogenic or alien to the host.”
In other words, it’s an evolutionary response to an attack on our system. And the idea here is simple: all microbes have an upper-temperature limit after which they can’t replicate or survive. The goal of a fever is for the “host” to reach a temperature that reaches or exceeds this maximum tolerated temperature, thereby effectively eliminating the microbe threat.
And it often works, effectively restricting the production of pathogens like bacteria and the reproduction of viruses so you can ultimately get better.
2. Decrease the duration of infections
This makes sense if you really think about the first point. If a fever can stop the production or replication of a virus or bacteria, then the duration of your infection is going to shorten. Why? Because an infection becomes a problem when there are too many microbes for your immune system to handle. It’s overrun, so your symptoms persist.
Well, if you stop the bacteria or virus from replicating, then your immune system will fight a smaller, fixed number of microbes. It won’t be overrun, and it will be able to handle the infection more effectively.
Conversely, if you take something to shut down that fever right away, then guess what? You may have the infection for longer.
3. Mobilization of white blood cells (WBCs)
A fever’s higher body temperature also works to recruit more soldiers to fight against the enemy, so to speak.
According to one study, “one benefit widely attributed to fever is the enhancement of immune-protective mechanisms during infection [...] the same pyrogenic cytokines that are produced during the induction of fever also operate locally to orchestrate immunity within infected tissue.” These cells are the “first responders” that arrive right away to destroy pathogens, and they essentially get the immune system moving so you don’t get overrun when you get sick.
4. Enhanced phagocytosis
It doesn’t stop there. Fever-range temperatures are actually shown to stimulate nearly every step involved in the immune process, promoting both innate and adaptive immunity.
One of these steps is phagocytosis. Phagocytosis is when the immune cells essentially eat, or absorb, viruses, bacteria, and parasites, thereby effectively neutralizing them and getting rid of them in the body.
A fever will enhance the ability of a phagocyte and allow it to do its job more effectively.
5. Decreased endotoxin effect
When a pathogen invades your body and dies, it releases endotoxins. These toxins create all sorts of negative effects on the body.
Well, guess what? A fever can minimize the endotoxic effect.
6. Increased growth of T-cell
The term “T-cell” stands for thymus cell. There are several types of T-cell in the body. First, you have T-cells that are “killer” T-cells, which can be considered as the special forces of the immune system.
You also have other T-cells that are like commanders that guide and coordinate the entire war against pathogens. Finally, you have T-cells that regulate or moderate the amount of collateral damage.
Overall, these T-cells will work to put out the fire and get rid of inflammation if the immune response gets out of control.
Fever will actually increase the growth of T-cells, helping create a more effective immune response.
7. Decreases the mortality rate
Let’s say, for example, you have an infection and you let the fever run its course vs taking fever reducers to turn off that fever.
There are some interesting studies that show that, if you let a fever do its job, you will have a decrease in death rate. One study, in particular, noted that the use of antipyretic drugs to diminish fever correlates with a 5% increase in mortality in human populations infected with influenza virus and negatively affects patient outcomes in the intensive care unit. In other words, fever helps you stay alive.
That’s why, oftentimes, you actually want to enhance the fever. Get into bed, pull the covers up, and sweat it out or take a hot bath. All of that really will help in stimulating some of these immune reactions.
Now, what’s interesting is there’s no agreed-upon normal upper limit for someone’s temperature. Some people would say that 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2 degrees Celcius) is a normal temperature. Others would say that it can go as high as 100.9 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celcius).
The other question is what temperature should you let your body go to if you’re going to let a fever run its course? I know that people are concerned that, if it goes too high, they’re going to get brain damage. That is actually a myth - you would have to let your body get above 180 degrees for a long period of time to create brain damage.
That could occur if you had a fever and you were in a very hot place. But typically, if you let the temperature rise between 100 - 104 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 - 40 degrees Celcius), it’s a beneficial thing. You’re going to reduce the duration of infection, you’re going to stimulate and enhance the immune defenses.
If you have a fever, let your body go through its process and don’t try to get rid of the symptoms right off the bat, because you could weaken the immune system in its fighting capacity.
If you haven’t seen my video on how to boost the immune system, you can find it here (along with a couple of others that might be useful):
- Make Your Immune System Bulletproof Now
- How Keto Protects Your Immune System
- Importance of Zinc For the Immune System
- 15 Non Infection Causes of a Fever
- 5 Things that Make You Susceptible to an Infection
- What to Do For Normal Childhood Infectionsn
Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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