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November 8, 2006

Have A Mild fever? It's good for your immune system

Topics: Medical Science News

fever_girl.jpgAccording to a new study by scientists at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, mild fever might not be all that bad, and can actually disrupt the ability of viruses that thrive at body temperature to multiply:

[...] It also aids the body's immune system to identify an infection and increase the number of white blood cells (lymphocytes) against it.

WBCs help to defend the body against infectious diseases and foreign materials. So trying to combat fever with antibiotics and self-administered paracetamol (Tylenol in Canada, South Korea and the U.S.) might not be such a good idea.

[...] WBCs circulate through blood vessels within lymph nodes and other lymphoid organs, but very seldom enter lymphoid tissues.

Fever increases blood flow, which means more lymphocytes flow through lymphoid tissues.

[...] Researchers are hopeful that fever-based therapies might be refined to improve existing treatments for infections, auto-immune diseases and cancer (such as in hyperthermia treatments available at New Hope Cancer Centers).

Reacting to the study that appeared in the recent issue of the journal 'Nature Immunology', professor of medicine at AIIMS Randeep Guleria told TOI: "Even at present, we don't advise patients with fever till 100 degree C to take any medicines, including antibiotics and paracetamol.

Feeling feverish is a way of the body to combat infections. Fatigue at times causes fever too. Patients also should not take medicines if feeling feverish.

So before you reach for the Tylenol next time you have a low grade fever for less than 5 to 7 days when no body ache or sore throat is present, just have Electrol or salt and lemon for sodium and potassium intake. If the fever persists or other syptoms are present, you should see your physician as soon as possible.

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Posted by Richard at November 8, 2006 7:51 PM

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