Fever refers to a condition of the body in which the temperature goes beyond the normal. It is also characterised by disturbance in the normal functioning of the system. It is a common ailment which occurs both in children and adults.
The average temperature of a healthy body ranges between 36.90 C and 37.50 C, or 98.40 F and 99.50 F. It is liable to marginal variations, depending on the intake of food, the amount of exercise, and the temperature surrounding the atmosphere. The lowest temperature of the body occurs between the hours of 1.30 a.m. to 7 a.m. and the highest between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Causes and Symptoms
Fever generally begins with slight shivering, pain in the head and various parts of the body, thirst, and great lassitude. The flow of urine is scanty. As the fever rises, the pulse and respiration become faster. Finally, mere is profuse sweating, a copious flow of concentrated urine, and general relief of symptoms.
The term ‘fever’ has a very wide application. It is the symptom of a body’s fight against infection. It is one of the most common features of several diseases. In many cases, it is a secondary symptom of the disordered state of the body with which it is associated. The real cause of all fevers, including common fever, however, is the accumulation of morbid matter in the system due to wrong feeding habits and unhygienic conditions of living. Fever is, thus, a natural attempt on the part of the body to rid itself of toxic matter.
Holy Basil: The leaves of holy basil are one of the most effective of several home remedies in the treatment of common fever. A decoction made of about twelve grams of these leaves, boiled in half a litre of water, should be administered twice daily with half a cup of milk, one teaspoon of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of powdered cardamom (chhoti elaichi). This will bring down the temperature.
Fenugreek: A tea made from fenugreek seeds is equal in value to quinine in reducing fevers. This tea should be taken twice daily. It is particularly valuable as a cleansing and soothing drink. Fenugreek seeds, when moistened with water, become slightly mucilaginous, and hence, the tea made from them has the power to dissolve a sticky substance like mucus.
Saffron: A tea made from saffron is another effective home remedy for fever. This tea is prepared by putting half a teaspoon of saffron in 30 ml of boiling water. The patient should be given a teaspoon of this tea every hour till the temperature returns to normal.
Raisins: The use of an extract from raisins is beneficial in the treatment of common fever. This extract is prepared by soaking twenty-five raisins in half a cup of water and then crushing them in the same water. They are then strained and the skin is discarded. The raisin water thus prepared becomes a tonic. Half a teaspoon of lime juice, added to the extract will enhance its taste and usefulness. It will act as a medicine in fevers, and should be taken twice daily.
Apricot: A cup of fresh juice of apricots mixed with one teaspoon of glucose or honey is a very cooling drink during fevers. It quenches the thirst and eliminates the waste products from the body. It tones up the eyes, stomach, liver, heart, and nerves by supplying vitamins and minerals.
Grapefruit: The juice of grapefruit is a valuable diet in all fevers. It quenches thirst and removes the burning sensation produced by the fever. Half a glass of grapefruit juice should be taken with an equal quantity of water.
Orange: Orange is an excellent food in all types of fever when the digestive power of the body is seriously hampered. The patient suffers from blood poisoning called toxemia, and the lack of saliva results in the coating of his tongue, often destroying his thirst for water as well as his desire for food. The agreeable flavour of orange juice helps greatly in overcoming these drawbacks. Orange juice is the ideal liquid food in fevers. It provides energy, increases urinary output, and promotes body resistance against infections, thereby hastening recovery,
Bloodwort: Bloodwort is one of the best known herbal remedies for fevers. A hot infusion of the herb prepared by steeping 15 gm of the herb in 250 ml of water should be taken twice daily. It will induce perspiration, which will, in turn, cool the fever and expel toxins.
Hog Weed: Another herb found beneficial in the treatment of fever is hog weed. It should be taken twice daily in the form of an infusion prepared by steeping 15 gm of the herb in 250 ml of water. It brings down temperature by inducing copious perspiration.
The patient should be put on a fast of orange juice and water at the beginning of the treatment. The procedure is to drink the juice of an orange in a glass of warm water every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. After the temperature has come down to normal and the tongue has cleared, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for a few more days. In this regimen, he should take three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits. Thereafter, he may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet according to his age, with emphasis on fresh fruits, and raw or lightly cooked vegetables.
While the patient is on an orange juice fast, a warm-water enema should be given daily to cleanse the bowels. Cold compresses may be applied to the head in case the temperature rises above 39.4° C or 103° F. If this method does not succeed, a cold pack may be applied to the whole body. The procedure is to wring out a sheet or any other large, square piece of linen material in cold water. It should be wrapped twice right round the body from face downwards. The body should then be covered completely with a thin blanket or similar warm material. This pack should be applied every three hours during the day while the temperature is high, and kept on for an hour or so each time. Hot water bottles may be kept on the feet and against the sides of the body.