There is a common misconception that all symptoms are bad and must be eliminated. These thoughts stem from a philosophy by which the entire medical profession practices. The term “allopath”, on which allopathic medicine is based, is the practice of opposites. If you have a fever, then lower it. If it is swollen, reduce the swelling. Homeopathy is based on the practice of same. If you have tears, produce more. Neither philosophy, in my opinion, will be 100% correct, 100% of the time. At some point as a child of God, you may have to evaluate your health decisions, and understand that the professional opinion is based upon a philosophy that the doctor knows better than the body. Did not the Creator of the universe design our bodies? Remembering that our bodies are designed, let us consider a common process – the fever.
According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 91% of parents believe that a fever is a bad thing. And 89% of parents reduce a fever when it reaches 102 degrees. The problem is that the fever is seen as the enemy. Often a fever is burning off a virus or some other infection that could do damage. It is almost like burning the broom because it is attacking the dirt. Sometimes, we are exposed to bacteria and viruses; this happens. A fever is a normal process to clean house in the body. The rise in temperature increases white blood cell production to FIGHT off pathogens. AWESOME! It also makes a non-hospitable environment for many bacteria and viruses that thrive in the normal body temperatures. Treating a fever is often not necessary and sometimes harmful.
So, you ask, what harm can take place from letting a fever run its course? Harmful effects are RARE. You do want to monitor the fever, not in a neurotic way, but do keep an eye on it. A fever should not go above 106-8, but that is very rare; this usually entails heatstroke or a severe condition. Besides, commonly people start reducing a fever at 102, which is well below the danger zone. A very small percent, about 4%, of people have seizures from a fever rising too quickly. Although this looks scary, it is not harmful and the seizing usually reduces the fever naturally. After 103, many people do feel uncomfortable. So, if you do choose to medicate at that time, be aware of doses, especially with little bodies. And never give aspirin to young children, as if combined with a fever, it can cause Reye’s syndrome, which can be fatal.
In our home, we are not in favor of reducing a fever, even a 103 fever. Many horrible pathogens are not killed until the fever hits 103. Did you know that fevers over 103 kill cancer cells, Lyme bacteria and even malaria? Some studies suggest that burning a fever reduces the likelihood of allergies. Fevers also have been known to shorten the duration of many illnesses. A fever is a HEALTY response to an attack on the body. Is it me or does this have design written all over it?!!
There are times when your should responsibly monitor a fever and seek professional help. If your baby is under 6 weeks old, consult a doctor, as this is usually an unhealthy indication. Also, if you or your child are unresponsive or the fever is lasting for more than five days, seek a doctor’s input. If the fever is combined with meningitis symptoms, such as headache, stiff neck, rashes or photophobia, it is good to seek professional help. Often, you are erring on the safe side, but in these instances, it is proper.
Although, there are times to medicate and times to seek physicians, remember that the Great Physician designed your body. Illness is not a surprise to Him. He even created a process to deal with them; the fever is really a sign that your body is functioning well. All symptoms are not a problem and do not always need our “fixing” of something that is not broke. Try looking at your health choices from the perspective that we are designed and God has a purpose in everything that happens, it may change how you live and the choices that you make.
How to Help a Sick Friend
First what not to do…
1. Do not bombard them with every Google search that exists on their particular disease or illness….even if you can enter the symptoms on Web M.D., it does not make you a doctor. Plus, I have found a lot of medical information outdated, wrong or only “worst case scenarios.”
2. Do not be a “be ye warmed and filled” Christian…if you can be helpful, offer concrete things you are willing or able to do…I can watch your kids when you go to the doctor, or can I bring a meal or run an errand…and in the same venue, asking them to just trust God more is not helpful…remember Job’s friends. 🙂
3. Do not gossip about why they are ill, again like Job’s friends. Do not gossip about what you disagree with in their choices. Unless you stand there, be cautious in your words.
4. Do not shoot down their treatment plans, they may be very well aware of their long shot and be holding on a thread. Don’t dangle scissors by it.
What to do…
1. Pray for them. Their burdens may be greater than they let on.
2. Let them know you are praying for them and a card is most always welcome.
3. Be a shoulder to lean on, an ear to sound off and a bringer of the tissues.
4. Considerately ask them how they are doing and care about the response. It is not always good news, but you do not have to make them better.
5. If they miss church, notice, ask, care.
6. Encourage them. Remind them that Romans 8:28 is still true and God is still on the throne.