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Are You Fever Phobic?

Heat Therapies
Fever phobia
is the term given by medical experts to parents' misconceptions about fever in their children.  As a result of these misconceptions, parents are anxious, give the child fever-reducing medicine when the temperature is technically normal or only slightly elevated, and interfere with the child's sleep to give the child more medicine[1,14-15].

This misconceptions also happen to adults ourselves.  At the first sign of a fever, we quickly reach for medications such as aspirin or Tylenol (NSAIDS).  The medicine represents hope and recovery.  Taking medication implies a cure.

Based on researches
[1-5], we probably should not fear fever because we know scientifically that fever is a protective mechanism.[17]

Cancer and Fever

In clinical practice, doctors observe that many cancer patients simply don't develop fevers, and cancer patients often report that they were never ill.  Two of my friends told me exactly that and one of them is cancer victim and another cancer survivor.

The Bad and Good of Fever

A fever is usually accompanied by sickness behavior, which consists of lethargy, depression, anorexia, sleepiness, hyperalgesia, and the inability to concentrate.  No wonder, at the first sign of a fever, we quickly reach out medications for relief.

We know scientifically that fever is a protective mechanism.  When body temperature reaches 101.3
oF (38.5oC), the immune system shifts into a state of alarm.  At this temperature, the level of immune chemicals in the bloodstream doubles, and immune defenses throughout the body increase.  Within 6 hours, almost every major defense within the immune system doubles its efforts[5].

This process appears to be dormant in many cancer patients, who typically report never having experienced a fever.

Body Temperature

Body temperature is regulated by the
hypothalamus.  When we are well our core body temperature has a rhythmic pattern.  It is lower in the morning and increases in temperature toward the later afternoon—the difference can be as much as 1.8oF (1.0oC) or more.  These mild fevers normally decrease as the evening progresses.  As reported by [2], the temperature difference decreases as we age.

Findings from Cancer Patients

For cancer patients, it's been found that their body has difficulty regulating temperature. They often report that they may have had brief bouts of a sore throat, a cold, or a cough, but these illnesses were never accompanied by a fever.  In other words, they cannot mount a fever and hence they are unable to activate their immune system.  The abnormalities found among cancer patients include:
  • Their core body temperature tends to be lower than normal.
    • For many of them, it is more than 1oF lower.
    • Many report that they have frequently felt chilly over the last few years and often have cold feet and hands.
  • Their temperature shows a disruption of the normal rhythmic pattern described above.
Many of cancer patients habitually use aspirin, Tylenol, or antibiotics[9]  at the first sign of a fever.  With frequent use of fever suppressants, the immune system may never mature adequately or become fully activated.[16]   Without an all-out effort by the immune system, the following consequences may result:
  • Many bacteria and viral infections tend to linger and become chronic.
  • The immune system becomes less and less adept, leaving the body more vulnerable.  This can set the stage for developing cancer.
For example, a study published in the JAMA provides evidence that the use of antibiotics is associated with increased risk of breast cancer[7] and another study shows that prolonged antibiotic use has been tied to precancerous colon growths.[26]  To further the argument, Dr. Fuhrman also stated that [8]:
I remember the first pharmacology lecture I heard in medical school, when the professor emphasized, "Make no doubt about it: all drugs are toxic and can even hasten one's death. ... 

Couple our nutrient-poor diet—and the resultant immune system weaknesses, leading to frequent illness—with the use and overuse of medications, including antibiotics, vaccines, and immunosuppressive drugs for autoimmune diseases, and we have a good reason for the explosion in cancer rates over the last seventy years.

Fever and Heat Therapy

Historically, heat have been recognized for their beneficial effects.  The following list shows how various cultures have used simple forms of heat as a way of both cleansing and healing.
Golden Gate Park (San Francisco)
  • Ancient Greek medicine
  • Roman hot sulfur baths
  • Finnish saunas
  • European and American spa treatments
  • Japanese hot tubs
  • Native American Indian sweat lodges
  • Bhutan's unique hot stone baths [22]

Gorter Model

Gorter Model[5] is designed to restore and enhance cancer patient's immune function, enabling the immune system to aggressively and effectively combat cancer cells throughout the body.  It is created by Dr. Gorter, who himself is a cancer survivor, and used to treat cancer patients at the Medical Center Cologne in Germany.

In its cancer treatment protocol, therapeutic fever is used in combination with immune therapies that include
interleukin, interferon, and various other treatments.

To reactivate the immune system in these patients, the
Gorter Model uses a process of controlled fever referred to in the scientific literature as fever-range, total-body hyperthermia—a form of treatment in which the entire body is heated to a moderate fever temperature of approximately 101.3oF (38.5oC).

Because fever is a stress to the body, it is usually not given to patients with severe cardiac decompensation or to patients with brain cancer because it potentially can evoke cardiac difficulties or an epileptic seizure.

For almost all other patients, fever-range, total-body hyperthermia has no negative side effects or risks.  Usually when patients complete the fever-range, total-body hyperthermia treatment, they feel cleansed and energized.

Dont Be Fever Phobic!

Research[3] has demonstrated that fever has several important functions in the healing process.  It can

  • Increase mobility of leukocytes
  • Enhance leukocytes phagocytosis
  • Decrease endotoxin effects 
  • Increase proliferation of T cells[4]
As advised by Dr. Gorter[5], the fear of fever is misplaced.  Next time if you have a fever and are tempted to use a fever suppressant, think twiceconsider the long-term consequences of compromising your immune defense.[16]

Be warned that: sometimes you could be seriously ill[20] and do need the aid of modern medicines.  These are the times that you should call a doctor:  
Watch for a sudden worsening of the overall condition, especially if worsening symptoms start to involve labored breathing, persistent fever above 103 degrees for three days, abdominal pain, changes in behavior or mental status, and persistent diarrhea or vomiting.

  1. Crocetti M, Moghbeli N, Serwint J (June 2001). "Fever phobia revisited: have parental misconceptions about fever changed in 20 years?". Pediatrics 107 (6): 1241–6.
  2. J.F. Duffy, D,J.Diji, E.G. Klerman, and C. A. Czeisler, "Later Endogenous Circadian Temperature Nadir Relative to an Earlier Wake Time in Older People," Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 8 (1998):275.
  3. Craven, R and Hirnle, C. (2006). Fundamentals of nursing: Human health and function. Fourth edition. p. 1044
  4. Lewis, SM, Heitkemper, MM, and Dirksen, SR. (2007). Medical-surgical nursing: Assessment and management of clinical problems. sixth edition. p. 212
  5. Fighting Cancer — A Nontoxic Approach to Treatment by Robert Gorter, MD, PhD and Erik Peper, PhD.
  6. Documentaries about the Gorter Model These videos include interviews with patients who have overcome cancer receiving the Gorter Model treatment.
  7. Velicer CM, Heckbert SR, Lampe JW, et al.  Antibiotic use in relation to the risk of breast cancer.  JAMA 2004; 291(7): 827-35.
  8. Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
  9. The Meat Industry Now Consumes Four-Fifths of All Antibiotics
  10. Antibiotic resistance a "catastrophic threat" - medical chief
  11. C. difficile
    • C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications.  Mild illness caused by C. difficile may get better if you stop taking antibiotics.
  12. 12 Home Remedies for Coughs
  13. Home Remedies for Congestion
  14. 7 Facts About Mucus, Phlegm, and Boogers
    • If you have green or yellow boogers, don't rush to antibiotics," says Satish Govindaraj, MD, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
  15. Treating sinusitisDon't rush to antibiotics
    • 15 to 21 percent of all antibiotic prescriptions for adults in outpatient care are for treating sinusitis. Unfortunately, most of those people probably don’t need the drugs.
  16. Natural Immuninity Plays Important Roles in Your Health (Travel to Health)
  17. Fever and antipyretic use in children.
  18. Superbugs 'Colonize' Australian Babies in Hospitals, Doctors Scramble For Control
  19. Health Benefits of Warm Foot Baths
    • The water temperature used in most of the published research ranges from approximately 104°F – 109 °F.
  20. Pneumonia Symptoms
  21. 要想預防癌症,請不要老在恆溫的環境下生活‏ (Chinese)
  22. Soaking in a unique bath culture
  23. 癌细胞怕热 (in Chinese)
  24. Dr. Kurt: why I will never choose to vaccinate my own son and any future kids my wife and I have
  25. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (Mayo Clinic)
    • Nearly all antibiotics can cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
    • Why antibiotic-associated diarrhea occurs isn't completely understood. It's commonly thought to develop when antibacterial medications (antibiotics) upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.
  26. Prolonged Antibiotic Use Tied to Precancerous Colon Growths