A fever is a temperature of over 100 degrees F. Most of us believe that a fever is the worst thing that can happen to a child! It must be stopped immediately before it spirals out of control, causing convulsions and even death!
When it’s our kids who are sick, we become frantic and can’t abide even the lowest temperature imaginable! We will jump right in with Aspirin or Tylenol, even before the fever reaches 100 degrees! If we bring the fever down to normal with our toxic interventions (aka “medicines”), we are really proud of ourselves! We CURED the case! Or so we think!!!!
This hysterical over-reaction to, and misunderstanding of fever actually leads to harm! Basically, everything you thought you knew about fever is wrong! The body has a way to protect itself from excessively high temperatures. Most parents don’t know this and believe that temperatures will just keep climbing and climbing, going up and up and up until we’re finally faced with coma or death; but, in fact, a normal child’s temperature will not rise out of control. It is exceedingly rare for a child’s temperature to exceed 107°F during a routine infection.
Most of you think if the fever is gone, the illness is gone! Seems logical, but, in reality, the fever is part of YOU, it’s what your immune system is doing to combat the virus or other invader. Here’s what happens: A virus, or bacteria enter your body and, in response, your immune system releases its gang of killer cells which signal the hypothalamus to turn up your body heat! Why? Not only because the heat ramps up the production of antibodies, but also for the most obvious reason in the world: germs cannot survive in intense heat anymore than you can!
Can’t you just hear them now? “What happened??? It was so balmy when we checked in — through the nose — so comfortable, temperate and relaxing… Now we’re sweltering! We’re all gonna die! (I’m melting…..melting…..)”
But then, here you come to the rescue with your Tylenol and Ibuprofen! But, who are you rescuing?
Hooray! The heatwave has broken! Now they have free reign, they can go anywhere they want! Nice job, parents! And by the way, it doesn’t matter if you break a fever with Tylenol or a cold bath, the result is the same! You bring the fever down, but at a cost! And by the way, don’t put a feverish child in a cold bath, that’s a shock to the system! And the minute the bath is over, the fever’s gonna start right up again–more likely than not!
Now, I know that regardless of how much sense I’m making, it’s all going to go right in one ear and out the other ear as soon as your child gets the slightest temperature! That’s why the topic for today is…
Safe and Non-toxic Homeopathic Remedies for Relief of Fevers!
(For instructions on how to dose in acute cases–what potency to use, how often to give the remedy–see my article “Dosing in Acute Cases”, click below:)
Homeopathy allows you to jump right in with your anti-fever remedy, just as you’re inclined to do, without spoiling the case and damaging your child’s immune system with drugs! The only thing you’re going to have to re-learn is which homeopathic remedy to give for what! So without further ado, let’s get started!
This is our most common childhood fever remedy. What illnesses do we see Belladonna in? Ear infections, sore throat, the flu, appendicitis, mastitis, headache, meningitis, rabies, strokes, boils, measles, mumps, etc. but remember, the symptoms have to match! Belladonna has high fevers that come on suddenly! Don’t panic when you see this! Children are very healthy and THAT is why they put out such high fevers, because that is what a healthy body does in the presence of harmful germs! A high fever is going to make fast work of those invaders and in short order! An article titled “Adverse Effects of Aspirin, Acetaminophen, and Ibuprofen on Immune Function…” in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that these fever-lowering drugs suppressed the immune system! They interfered with antibody production and prolonged the illness!* So remember, parents, drugs that lower fevers aren’t necessarily doing anybody any good! A child who can put out a strong Belladonna fever is a really healthy child who’s going to get better fast–and especially because now you know to give Belladonna which is going to seal the deal! Oh, and one more thing. You know what else suppresses the immune system? SUGAR! So, no sweets, no sodas, no ice cream when your child is sick!
OK, back to Belladonna. You can feel the heat from the Belladonna child’s body just by putting your hand near the skin! Usually, in Belladonna, it’s a dry heat, the face is red, the head feels congested; there’s a rush of blood to the area–usually to the head and face–with throbbing; and the patient is very much worse for noise, motion, light, exertion, being jarred or bumped, and better for hard pressure.
The child’s hands and/or feet are usually cold. He will not want to lie flat but will prefer sitting up or being propped up or standing. His eyes are glassy and pupils are enlarged. Belladonna tends not to be thirsty.
Also in Belladonna, you will feel a sense of “urgency” about the child, this is the message you’re picking up from him, that the case is urgent; he is somewhat frantic, perhaps a bit delirious, and you’ll be thinking, “I have to act fast!” When you get this feeling of urgency, think of Belladonna. This is totally unlike the laid-back manner of our next fever “remedy-person”, Gelsemium.
Gelsemium is not frantic and intense, it is very passive, unconcerned, disinterested, dull, lethargic, dizzy…they may not even tell you they’re sick! You just walk in the room and find them in bed asleep or looking stuporous, disinterested! They may have wanted to tell you how sick they were, and how they wanted another blanket or something for their headache, but they’re just too dull and apathetic to speak up or call out! You try to question them, and they can’t even complete a sentence! It’s like all they want to do is sleep. They tend not to be thirsty but they may be quite cold and they usually have a headache, possibly in the back of their head, along with body aches and heavy limbs. Their eyelids are quite droopy and they have a besotted look about them. As a matter of fact, I have to tell you about one of Shana’s illnesses. I went into the bedroom to see why she still hadn’t gotten up, and there she was, wide awake, lying in bed, obviously unwell, looking unrelaxed and uncomfortable, and the fact that she never called me and never complained made me think instantly of Gelsemium! I gave Gelsemium 200C and within no time she was fine as if nothing had happened, and we even went out that day! Well that’s how it is with homeopathy if you act fast and don’t let the case linger and worsen.
Often you see a Gelsemium state forming due to stage-fright or effects of receiving bad news; also, look for Gelsemium in flus, colds, sun-headaches, high humidity, measles, meningitis, etc.
Gelsemium is not so fearful or anxiety-ridden like our next patient, the ever UNpopular…
You can’t miss Arsenicum! They probably have a bad flu or other virus, though it could literally be anything from food poisoning to asthma to malaria to the common cold. In a serious case, they are quite clingy, worried, anxiety-ridden, scared, desperate, begging for help, pleading for you to stay with them…you’ll feel quite cornered and trapped! Everything has to be on their terms, they will not listen to reason, they do not care that you have to go home, that you have children waiting; they will refuse to go to the hospital even though that’s where they belong; they may even refuse to go home with you–which you offered out of desperation! They tend to be restless, tossing back and forth, moaning and groaning; they may be pacing; they may be nauseous, may have diarrhea, will probably ask for water and they will take frequent sips from the glass, not gulps. They may be crying and saying, “Why me?” They may have burning pains or burning sensations, but they are better for heat, hot drinks like tea, and hot compresses. They are very cold! They crave sympathy and consolation but it’s never enough, they simply have an insatiable need for company, attention, reassurance and they may also seem critical and negative about every minor little thing! Charming.
Pulsatilla is another clingy remedy but they are actually better for reassurance whereas Arsenicum cannot be reassured! They won’t believe you, it doesn’t matter how many times you tell them, “You’re going to be fine!” it’s never enough! Pulsatilla’s clinginess doesn’t make you feel trapped, your heart actually goes out to them, as they project a piteous picture, making you want to help; with Arsenicum, you just want to get away! Not surprisingly, most Pulsatilla cases are children’s cases (colds, flus, chicken pox, measles, conjunctivitis, ear infections, ailments from creamy foods or fatty foods, like too much pizza or too much ice cream…) I know that every time Shana is sick and she starts to cry, she just looks so sad and pitiful, I go right for the Pulsatilla without even thinking about it! It doesn’t matter what the illness is, it could be anything–menstrual cramps, a headache or whatever–it doesn’t matter; the Pulsatilla look is unmistakable! They’re sad, they’re pitiful and better for attention, hugging and reassurance. See my article “The Pulsatilla Child” for more information on this often-used remedy in childhood:
Compare this with our next remedy…
This is the exact opposite of Pulsatilla, nothing makes the Chamomilla child feel better! Oh, except for one thing–brisk carrying! And how long can a parent keep up with that before collapsing? At some point the child has to be put down, and here comes the crying and screaming again, their bodies stiff, practically beside themselves! The parents are frantically trying to pacify them and nothing is working–not toys, not anything that might be handed to them or even things they asked for! They throw them down as soon as they get them! Why are they behaving this way? Well, it’s usually because they’re in pain. It could be an ear infection, a stomach ache or teething, who knows, but your clue is the ceaseless, angry, crying and their unending demands to be picked up and carried.
The actual name is Mercurius viv. or Mercurius sol. Either one is fine. So here’s the Mercury person with a fever: They’re hot, then they’re cold. They’re hot again, then they’re cold. The blankets are on, then they’re off. The windows are opened, then they’re closed; opened, closed. They have a well-known narrow range of temperature tolerance! The minute the thermometer strays from 72 degrees, or 75 degrees, as the case may be, they’re uncomfortable and have to do something about it, just like a human thermometer! And what are thermometers made of? Mercury!!! The Mercury patient is almost always in bed because they are so weak and exhausted. Their illness has been around for a long time, they don’t get better. There’s a lot of sweating which seems to make them worse; , drooling, salivation and bad breath. They’re thirsty. They’re worse at night, may have bone pains, swollen glands, sore throats. Ask to see the tongue as it will probably show the imprint of the teeth around the edges and is probably coated, slimy or mapped. There’s the famous “never-get-done” feeling after stool. Stools can be bloody or slimy in dysentery. Frequent urging to urinate and urinates more than what has been drunk.
Fever comes on suddenly. You may have gone out without your hat on a brisk, windy, March day, and the next thing you know, you’re in bed with a high fever, red face (which turns pale on sitting up) and an unquenchable thirst! In fact, it may look an awful lot like Belladonna with skin being red and hot, but Belladonna is thirstless, has dilated pupils, glassy eyes and cold extremities while Aconite is thirsty with tiny pupils.
Aconite is well known for “ailments from cold dry winds”. It might just as easily be known as “ailments from aggressive air conditioning!” Shana once had a headache after I picked her up from school. I gave her and it did nothing. I said, “Where were you when you got the headache?” She said, “Sitting in math class next to the air conditioner.” I gave her Aconite and she recovered right away! Do you see how important the question, “What were you doing when you got sick?” is?
If your patient is fearful, restless with a bounding pulse and a need for fresh air and cold water, give Aconite, especially if it follows a fright! Arsenicum is also fearful and restless but Aconite has more energy compared to the weak and prostrated Arsenicum. Think of Fear, Fright, Sudden Onset, Ailments from Cold Dry Winds and a 12 a.m. aggravation time.
Speaking of air conditioning, Nux vomica can’t stand air conditioning! In fact, they are so cold, they can’t bear the smallest draft when they’re sick. And you don’t have to worry about them being clingy like Arsenicum because they will surely, rudely, throw you out of their room if you keep bothering them! They can’t stand your incessant questioning, the draft of air you create, the light that’s shining in from the hallway, the noise from your television set; in fact, you are really getting on Nux vomica’s nerves! Nux vomica’s nerves are so exposed, his senses so acute, that noise, odors, light, almost all incoming impressions, are too intense for him! And by the way, he is very impatient so if he asked you for something, you better bring it fast! He feels very toxic, probably has a pounding headache, probably has constipation with frequent urging and nothing to show for it or a bladder infection with frequent urging and, again, nothing to show for it; so, he is very irritable; just please get out and leave him alone before he starts cursing!
I’d be willing to guess that no one has this remedy, but, that would be a big mistake since this is a somewhat common “septic flu” remedy. And what do I mean by “septic”? Bad odors, bad breath, high fever, lethargy, confusion, sleepiness, besotted appearance, muscle aches, sensation that the bed’s too hard and can’t get comfortable, feels sore and bruised. This is our number-3 “sudden onset” remedy but easy to differentiate with Aconite and Belladonna as Baptisia looks very much like Gelsemium only with a higher fever, “sicker” appearance, bad smells–and thirsty–and the case comes on suddenly, not slowly as with Gelsemium. Think of it as Gelsemium, only worse, and with thirst! Like Gelsemium, they will be quite apathetic, dull, not asking for what they want, quite stuporous, not able to answer or finish a sentence and falling asleep while spoken to or in mid-sentence.
This is another one I’m guessing you don’t have. Order it! You’re going to need it for post-surgical fevers, fevers from bites, it’s another septic flu remedy like Baptisia. I actually had a Pyrogen flu once, and Shana had a Pyrogen strep throat, so, don’t think you’ll never need it! Again, think of it when the bed feels too hard and the patient feels sore and bruised making him very restless in an effort to get comfortable.
Pyrogen, like Baptisia, again, is known for bad odors and bad breath, confusion, delirium and prostration. Baptisia appears to have more thirst than Pyrogen, which may have no thirst at all. In fact, for Baptisia, the materia medica says “constant desire for water…great thirst” (Murphy). They say a keynote of Pyrogen is that when the fever is high, the pulse is slow; but, when the fever is low, the pulse is fast–completely the opposite of what it should be. I didn’t have that, but I did realize it was Pyrogen when I heard myself say, “The bed feels too hard!” Shana’s prescription was based on bad breath and Mercury didn’t work. In fact, you may have a hard time distinguishing Mercury and Pyrogen. Both can be cold, then hot, and sweating. I don’t think Mercury is restless though, and I don’t think Mercury is confused or stuporous. Pyrogen is also a great remedy for dental abscesses (so is Mercury, come to think of it), I wouldn’t want to be without Pyrogen!
So, here’s the scenario with Rhus tox. You went camping and slept out on the cold, damp ground; came home, and woke up with a fever and possibly a sore throat. Or, you were out exercising on a very hot day, got all sweaty, and then jumped into a cold swimming pool! You can probably gather that Rhus tox illnesses come about from being exposed to cold and damp, cold water and cold and rainy weather. Or being hot during the day and then being exposed to cold night air.
In any case of fever, you always have to find out the cause, the precipitating factor, if at all possible, because that might very well determine the correct remedy. How can you tell a Rhus tox illness? The patient feels stiff, is very restless, needs to stretch, cannot remain still, and is much better for a hot bath, hot shower or hot compresses and worse at night and worse cold, being still and worse in the morning after being still all night. Worse on first motion, better on continued motion. These better/worse things are called “modalities” and you always have to ask for them in order to land on the right remedy. You should be like a broken record with, “What are the modalities? What are the modalities?” Symptoms have no meaning to a homeopath without the modalities. “I have a sore throat that’s better for swallowing hot liquids, worse empty swallowing, worse inside the house, better outside the house, worse in the morning on waking, worse at night, better in a hot shower…” This is the way we need to hear a symptom. And we need to hear the sensation too. “I have a left-sided sore throat with a burning sensation.” This is how you talk to a homeopath.
This remedy is the opposite of Rhus tox. While Rhus tox must stay in motion, must keep moving or else he stiffens up, Bryonia must hold perfectly still, not even daring to breathe! Why? There is always some terrible, usually sharp, pain in a Bryonia case that keeps him from moving the least little bit. It could be a broken bone, it could be an extreme headache or lower back pain or sciatica; or a cough that’s so painful, he dares not cough or has to hold his chest while coughing. Whatever it is, when you walk in the Bryonia patient’s room, he is lying perfectly still! If you ask him to get up, he can’t! If he’s nauseous, even lifting his head off the pillow makes him worse.
Bryonia tends to be very thirsty. They will drink the whole glass but at infrequent intervals because they hate to move in order to drink. They like firm, hard pressure. For instance, for their headache or backache, they will be better if you press on the area very hard. They may want an ace bandage wrapped tightly around their sprained ankle.
Their mucus membranes are dry, they are constipated, and they will not want to talk to you; so, unless you’re bringing water or offering to give hard pressure, just go away and leave them alone, they’re very irritable.
Phosphorus is often associated with the lungs; so, your Phosphorus patient probably has bronchitis, pneumonia or a bad dry cough which may have started as a simple cold but went to the lungs. Phosphorus feels as if there’s a weight on their chest, worse open air, cold air, worse lying on left side; longs for cold food like ice cream, and ice cold drinks like ice water or soda; they will have increased thirst and even increased appetite as well, which is very unusual for a fever–to be so hungry. If you see a Phosphorus case, but there’s no increased thirst, you probably have the wrong remedy. It’s hard to think of Phosphorus and not think of thirst. Phosphorus is often so thirsty, and drinks so much water, that they can hardly keep it down. It’s not unusual to see a patient who is not drinking and assume he has no thirst when in actuality, he is very thirsty but afraid to drink because he can’t keep the water down.
The cough is aggravated by laughing and talking. Blue circles around the eyes. The voice may sound hoarse. Oh, and Phosphorus wants sympathy, company, reassurance, consolation and is better for it.
A non-descript flu, except the patient may say, “I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck!” Which explains why this is our chief injury remedy! You should always have Arnica 200C in your pocket! Bed feels too hard, can’t get comfortable, like Pyrogen. I’ve seen only one Arnica flu. Shana had it. It was the worst flu I’ve ever seen! High fever, dry heat like Belladonna, alternating with chills, coming on like clockwork! Shana did say, “The bed feels too hard,” but I gave the wrong remedy–Pyrogen–and never came back to consider Arnica! It took me 6 days to finally try it! I’ve learned my lesson!
Loose cough. Lungs full of mucus, hard to breath; bronchitis. Pneumonia. Tongue thickly coated white. Rattling cough but no expectoration is possible, or very little; phlegm can’t be raised. Rattling respiration. Face cold, blue, pale, covered with cold sweat. Worse warm room, better cold, open air, better sitting up, worse lying down. Drowsiness, inclination to sleep like Gelsemium. Thirst for cold water, little and often. Gelsemium is thirstless. Nausea, better for vomiting.
Influenzinum and Oscillococcinum
These two are given as prevention in flu season, just pick one. Shana and I are now taking Oscillococcinum once a month during flu season. Take it instead of that God-forsaken flu shot (which contains mercury). Shana did have a flu once where Oscillococcinum was the remedy and I had a flu once where Influenzinum was the remedy. You pick these when nothing else works or you have nothing, no clear remedy picture, to go on. They’re general flu remedies.
Non-descript flus or colds. Take this at the start or first sign of any cold in the 30C potency and it could nip the illness right in the bud! I keep Ferrum phos. next to my bed and if I get a sore throat in the middle of the night, I take a dose, go back to sleep, and that’s the end of it!
Eupatorium perf. is for any flu-like illness where the symptoms match but especially for Dengue Fever. The keynotes of Eup-perf. are: bone pains. Bones feel as if broken. Painful soreness of eyeballs. Prostration. Insatiable thirst for cold water but drinking causes vomiting. Moaning, restlessness. Chilly, worse open air. Wants to be covered.
Are there other fever remedies? Yeah, but, it’s past my bed time and I’m pretty sure Firuzi wants me to go to bed!
See ya next time!
*The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 1990; 162:1277-1282.
Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine takes online cases! Write to her at [email protected]
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