christopher vasey naturopathe
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The course of a fever


In order to support and control a fever, it is necessary to be able to identify the different stages trough which a fever passes. There are three clearly distinguishable phases: the period of the fever's onset, the initial rise (this period is fully established when the fever reaches its height), and the end phase (which is characterized by the fall of the body's temperature).

The onset period

Generally the germs responsible for infections enter the body in such small number and do not immediately find favourable conditions for multiplying, so the damage they are able to cause is minimal. It is only when germs multiply that the damage they cause can become dangerous. The multiplication of germs is a process that can have a protracted duration. A fever can therefore take a few hours or several days to start climbing.

Because the attack made on the body’s tissues takes place only gradually, likewise, the work of neutralizing, destroying, and eliminating the germs is implemented little by little. In the beginning, the defense system reactions are neither specific nor localized. The body’s defenses are of a general nature at this point, for while the body has detected an infection, the white blood cells have not yet determined the exact nature of the attacker nor the specific measures it needs to implement to fight it.

At this stage of the illness, the symptoms are also of a general nature. The patient has a feeling of general discomfort or overall poor health whith aches and restlessness. Sensations of cold, of something irritating the skin, accompanied by shivering may also be present.

The fever's full manifestation

Once the body’s defense systems have set into motion, their activities gradually escalate. After identifying the attacker, the focus shifts to producing the specific defenses necessary to destroy it. The general intensification of blood circulation, respiration, and the combustion of wastes produces a visible rise in temperature. The fever is now working at full strength. It can spike quickly and then be interrupted by periods of remission, during which time the temperature falls temporarily before climbing back up. This stage can last until the purpose for which the body produced the fever has been achieved.

This purpose is to destroy whatever is threatening the body’s physical integrity. The germs need to be killed and their cadavers eliminated, microbial toxins need to be neutralized and expelled, the wastes and residues of the body itself also need to be excreted. When chemical products, venom, or some other poison is responsible for causing the fever, it is these substances that the body must neutralize and eliminate by raising its temperature.

The body must make advance preparations before eliminating all these undesirable substances. They are still too “raw” to be expelled, to borrow Hippocrates’ terminology, and therefore still need to undergo the “coction” provided by fever. By “cooking” the wastes in this way, their harmful nature is stripped away and their elimination thus facilitated.

This second phase of fever is therefore characterized by an intense labor to neutralize and break down toxins and poisons before they are truly eliminated from the body.

Because of the toxicity of these poisons, the body retains the maximum amount of water possible in an effort to lessen the concentration of the bodily fluids and reduce the aggressive impact the poisons can have on the tissues and organs. The patient therefore hardly eliminates anything during this time: urinations are rare and he or she barely perspires if at all.

 

End phase

The period at the end of a fever is characterized by strong eliminations and a lowering of the body’s temperature. With the toxins neutralized in the preceding stage, the elimination process can at last begin. Evacuation of the dead germs and neutralized poisons is carried out by the excretory organs, the body’s normal exit routes. These eliminations can be quite intense as the body violently rids itself of large quantities of poison in a short span of time. Demands are made on all of the organs that eliminate, some more than others depending on the needs of the patient in question.

Abundant perspiration is the most typical form of elimination. The daily volume of sweat excreted can be triple or quadruple the body’s normal output, going from 2 or 3 cups a day to 2 or 3 quarts, if not more. The water that had been retained can now leave the body charged with wastes.

These waste-laden fluids also move outward through the urinary glands. There is an increased need to urinate, and the urine produced is copious and dark.

The skin is often the site of cutaneous eruptions affecting the entire surface of the body. The most spectacular example of these eliminations is provided by childhood diseases where, during a bout of measles or chicken pox, for example, children are covered with rashes or pimples. The sudoriferous or sebaceous glands have become congested with the inrush of wastes, causing pimples and red blotches to form.

During this period of exuberant activity by the excretory organs, demands are also made upon the digestive tract. The breakdown and removal of toxins takes place through its mucous membranes. This phenomenon can be observed in the mouth when the tongue becomes glazed with a white coating. The secretions of the salivary glands, the stomach, the liver, and so forth, carry with them not only digestive juices but numerous toxins. This can be detected in the saliva as its taste will change. These wastes are then expelled from the body with the stools. Rapid and copious evacuations of toxins sometimes also take place toward the top of the digestive tract (vomiting) and toward the bottom of the digestive tract (diarrhea).

The respiratory tract also plays a role in this major cleansing process. The breath becomes foul with the gases that are being exhaled. The phlegm formed by the wastes is expectorated, sometimes in impressive quantities.

As toxins and poisons emerge from the depths of the body to be carried to the excretory organs, they necessarily enter into the bloodstream where they drastically alter the composition. It’s no longer pure and well-oxygenated blood that is circulating there, it is overloaded with toxic substances. This inevitably has an effect on the patient who can feel all kinds of physical discomfort and mental unease. Her heartbeat becomes erratic and breathing can become difficult; she may feel greatly agitated and anxious.

Fortunately, the discomfort experienced during this period will quickly be replaced by a sense of well-being and relaxation when the avalanche of toxins leaving the body has finally passed. When the biological terrain is clean again, the germs infecting it killed and their remains removed, the patient suddenly feels much better. The body’s defensive reactions calm down, as evidenced by the fall of the fever’s temperature.

In some cases, the intense phase of eliminations truly terminates the illness. The patient needs no more than a few more days of convalescence to recover her full strength. In other cases, one or more additional phases of coction followed by elimination will occur in succession until the terrain has been sufficiently cleansed.

Christopher Vasey