Since the cold and flu season is upon us, as well as the stress of the holidays, I thought I would pass on some information about fevers that you may not be aware of.

You should understand that fever is a built-in mechanism of repair. The muscles around the bones become warm in order to leach what is called IONIZED CALCIUM from the bones. Ionized calcium means that it is free and uncombined to any other element and is in an ionic form. Ionic form means that it carries electrical charges. The ionized calcium is needed by the body to activate white blood cells. Our white blood cells are our defensive cells that attack invaders of our blood such as bacteria and viruses.

Many of us were taught to panic if a fever got above 103 degrees, but the truth of the matter is that no one ever "burned up" with fever and no one ever will. Watching out for dehydration due to fever is a concern but we shouldn't be panicking just because of the fever. You can get a thermometer and heat a pan to 106 degrees and insert your finger in it and all you feel is lukewarm water. Yet we have all been taught to fear this high of a fever.

Many parents panic over the thought of seizures--called febrile convulsions--that may sometimes occur with sudden high fever in children. An article in the December 1981 issue of PEDIATRICS states that febrile convulsions in children do not injure the central nervous system which is our brain and spinal cord. Febrile convulsions, muscle twitchings from fever, are really hypocalcemic tetany, which means muscles that twitch due to low blood calcium. These muscle twitchings do not cause brain damage and do not lead to epilepsy.

Although fever is a purposeful process to release stored calcium from the bone reserves, it is still better to supply calcium in the diet rather than withdrawing it from the bone. The ability of the white blood cells to destroy invading microbes is very dependent upon a good supply of ionized "free" calcium. Don't look to milk for being a good supply of free calcium--the pasturization process alters the available free calcium.

The best source of ionizable calcium is calcium lactate. It has been shown to be very beneficial in overcoming and/or preventing calcium deficits and thus is very good at reducing fevers and the chance of febrile seizures. I've had very consistent feedback from patients who have used the calcium lactate tablets or the calcium lactate powder which I get from Standard Process in reducing their children's fevers without the need of using Children's Tylenol or running them to their pediatrician for something stronger. In my opinion, keeping some calcium lactate on hand will save you trips to the pediatrician and reduce your worry of fevers getting out of control.

For children who are still on a bottle, two to four tablets (10 grains) can be dissolved in non-fluoridated, non-chlorinated water. The fluorine or chlorine in the water will bind with the calcuim and make it not free. If you give your child soy milk, it will disolve in that very easily. For older children or adults, taking it with juice or water on an empty stomach is preferable. These dosages can be taken every hour or two until the temperature returns to normal.