What is it? Well, it is inducing extra body heat artificially (with a hot bath). The Artificial Fever helps the body burn up microbes, particularly of viral origin. And YES, this is perfectly safe for children.
When do we use it? Generally when the body already has a fever, we use this to help accelerate and break the fever, not stop the fever.
What? Aren’t we supposed to be looking for ways to reduce the fever? That is what medical schools teach, but that is not good healing practice. Why did the body get a fever in the first place? A fever is the body’s natural immune response to fight off infection, generally from a bacteria or virus. To reduce the fever with Tylenol or equivalent is to stop the attempt at healing. It is much more productive to help the body heal, not impede it.
When is a fever dangerous? The usual criteria for a fever that needs medical attention soon is any fever that goes over 104 degrees F or any fever that stays above 102 degrees F for more than a day. 102.5 degrees F isn’t too bad if it is “breaking”, meaning that it goes up for a few hours and then you break out sweating and it comes back down for a while. You can go several days like that without a problem, as long as you are still getting plenty of rest and fluids.
As long as you don`t have a rash that wont disappear when rolled over with a glass, or a stiff neck and aversion to bright lights, which can mean symptoms of menengitis.
105 degrees F is usually considered the heat-stroke level, where brain damage can occur. The body and organs can take the heat, it is the brain you do not want overheating. If you reach 104, you should consult a local doctor. That said, when I describe how to do the Artificial fever below, you will see that a pail with ice water and hand towels can be used to keep the head cooler. If the brain remains in the safe range, there is no danger.
How To: Draw a bathtub full of water. You will want the water as hot as you can stand it, but not hot enough to hurt you or burn you. You will be sitting as submerged as you can in this water for 20 minutes. If the air is cool in the house, you may want to run a small heater in the bathroom to keep the air very warm or the water will cool off and it will diminish much of the affect.
As the water is filling the tub and the heater is warming up the air, place a hand towel and a bed sheet in a pail or bowl filled with ice water. Place the pail within reach of the tub as you may want to keep the small towel within reach to be used on the head to keep the brain cool (if you feel you are getting too hot or feel like you might pass out). Some people get real weak in that much heat, so you may want to have a friend handy to help you with this final part.
When your pail of ice water is ready, get in the tub and immerse as much of your core as possible. After twenty minutes of soaking in the hot bath water, get out and immediately wrap yourself in the cold sheets. It sounds dramatic, but you will be hot enough by then that you will welcome that cold sheet. We are looking for the drastic temperature change in the skin, so get out of the hot water and wrap up in the ice cold sheet as quickly as possible.
The heat from the body will overcome the cool of the sheet very quickly. When it does, you may discard the sheet and wrap up in something that will keep you warm enough to sweat. A cotton sheet is a great idea. Those mylar emergency blankets that fold up to the size of a fist and cost a couple of dollars at Walmart are great to wrap around you and the cotton sheet. Those will assure you sweat and keep you from soaking through your sheet onto your bed. You may now leave the bathroom and go to your place of rest. The key after the cold sheet is to get hot again, so if you don’t have a mylar blanket, snuggle into an old sleeping bag you don’t mind sweating in. It does not matter what you wrap up in as long as you are warm enough to sweat.
The goal now is to sleep and sweat. When you wake up, or are through resting, you are finished. Try to rest for at least 20 minutes although a longer nap would be preferred. Your body has gone through the process of creating an artificial fever which is the natural process of killing unwanted germs, particularly viruses in the body. In almost all cases, you have helped the body bring the internal temperature to a point where the immune system over took the cause of the fever and your fever should break, begin to come down and you are done!