Written by Dr. Mark
If you’ve spent much time around our office you’ve heard this term “expressing health.” Last week during the winter break the 5 people in my house were doing just that. In other words, we were sick. My apologies that we had to close the office 2 days last week because of the flu virus we were battling and Dr. Eric was out of town. We’ve written about this before, but it’s an important topic to understand.
Why expressing health when we’re sick? Well first, what is health? Health is our body functioning optimally. Part of our normal function is to fight infection. So when we do catch something, we want our body to respond, and when it does, this is expressing health. The symptoms of being “sick” are our bodies natural means to get over it.
The first thing I noticed for this flu was the increased mucus production and the sore throat that accompanied it.
A major function of this mucus is to protect against infectious agents such as fungi, bacteria and viruses. The average human nose produces about a liter of mucus per day. Most of the mucus produced is in the gastrointestinal tract. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mucus
This lead to the cough, which is our way to expel the infection.
The next thing that started was the achy joints and muscles.
Why Does the Flu make my Joints Ache?
When you are already suffering from fever, coughs and headaches, it seems unfair that aching joints should be added to the list of symptoms. One task of white blood cells is to repair and rebuild muscle fibres which are damaged from day to day. However, when you have the flu, your immune system diverts the white blood cells from this function to fight off the flu virus, thus leaving your muscles and joints feeling sore and achy.
In addition, white blood cells produce a chemical called cytokines when fighting the infection. This causes inflammation in muscles and joints, resulting in pain in a similar way to mild arthritis or rheumatism. However, this achy feeling is temporary, and once your body has fought off the infection, symptoms of achy joints will ease. - http://www.avogel.co.uk/health/immune-system/flu/symptoms/aching-joints/
After dealing with the sore throat, cough, aches, and mild fever for a few days, the real fever hit me. As uncomfortable as it was, I was happy when it happened because I knew this meant I was almost done.
Scientists found that the generation and differentiation of a particular kind of lymphocyte, known as a “CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell” (capable of destroying virus-infected cells and tumor cells) is enhanced by mild fever-range hyperthermia. Specifically, their research suggests that elevated body temperature changes the T-cells’ membranes which may help mediate the effects of micro-environmental temperature on cell function. To test this, researchers injected two groups of mice with an antigen, and examined the activation of T-cells following the interaction with antigen presenting cells. Body temperature in half of the mice was raised by 2 degrees centigrade, while the other half maintained a normal core body temperature. In the warmed mice, results showed a greater number of the type of CD8 T-cells capable of destroying infected cells.
“Having a fever might be uncomfortable,” said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, “but this research report and several others are showing that having a fever is part of an effective immune response. We had previously thought that the microbes that infect us simply can’t replicate as well when we have fevers, but this new work also suggests that the immune system might be temporarily enhanced functionally when our temperatures rise with fever. Although very high body temperatures are dangerous and should be controlled, this study shows that we may need to reconsider how and when we treat most mild fevers.” - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111101130200.htm
I always think it’s pretty amazing, as awful as it is, that my body can raise it’s own temperature, and I really have no conscious control over it, for a short time to finally kill this thing so I can move on with my life. The morning after that happened I knew I felt different, I felt better. Still weak from the battle, but knew it was done.
The point, trust your body, it is smart and awesome. Don’t get in it’s way. All those awful symptoms have a purpose to aid in fighting off the infection. Don’t fear a fever, let it work for you. The best thing to do is support yourself, drink plenty of water, get in nutrients if you can, and rest. Monitor how you’re body is doing, if you spike a fever, just watch it and be in awe of how awesome you are.
Hopefully you wont catch this anytime soon.