First Aid Refresher: Working with Your Body, part 1

November 16, 2011

First Aid, Frontier Medicine

first aid kit

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I can forget in the intervals between using my knowledge.  “Red then yellow, kill a fellow” or was it “black then yellow…” for a coral snake?   Another amusing example came as a friend of mine quoted again recently, “It’s those intervening years between babies that allows me to forget just how bad childbirth is so I sign up again.”

Anyway, with that in mind, I thought it might be good to do some occasional refreshers on first aid types of topics.  I hope you have all gotten at least some basic first aid and hopefully much more than that.  Joe and I have both attended the fantastic Medical Corp class in OH that we need to give a review of sometime.  But still, we have been blessed not to have many medical emergencies and that allows us to get rusty on some important stuff.

For this first posting, I want to focus on one of the natural defenses God put in place for you that is generally beneficial.  Understanding its purpose may help us to use it to our advantage.


When we get sick and have a fever, we rush to the medicine cabinet for ibuprofen or acetaminophen.  We try to quash that natural response right away.  But why?  Our body is trying to kill off the bacteria and viruses that are causing the sickness.  It is not the germs that produce the fever-  it is your body’s response to the temperature sensitive germs.

The illness causing germs usually need a particular environment in which to live and thrive.  Warm and moist is often perfect for them.  When these invaders are detected, it is the body’s natural way of combating them to raise the temperature in an attempt to kill them off.

Does this mean you should never use fever reducers?  No.  Certainly, high fevers are thought by many to be dangerous in themselves so I hope you have non-battery operated thermometers to help you gauge temperature.  A low-grade fever may help the illness to pass faster, but it should be monitored.

Fever reducersThe main reason we really rely on fever reducers is for our comfort.  We feel better when we aren’t feverish-  we rest more easily when we are more comfortable.  For that reason, I would lean toward allowing a low grade fever during my waking hours  (resting as much as possible), but getting relief when I sleep because I will overcome sickness quicker if I am getting adequate sleep.

This would become even more important if  we were in a time without readily available antibiotics or medical treatments.   Joe and I both recently got terrible sinus infections from what were already terrible colds.  Fortunately, we were able to get antibiotics to wipe out the bacteria, but it was still weeks before we felt “well”.  What if good old amoxicillin wasn’t available?  How long could an infection drag on if we didn’t allow our bodies to use one of its best weapons?

Another thing to consider-  as parents, we want to help our children feel better.  We can’t actually take the illness in their place or remove the germs, so we do what we think is the next best thing- we medicate them.  But take heed-  many children are accidentally overdosed every year by well-meaning parents who either don’t read the dosing directions carefully or give medications that were not intended for small children.  This can cause liver damage among other things.  Please use caution when medicating a child especially.  A common practice is alternating acetaminophen with ibuprofen so there is no “wear off” time for the child.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends we not do this.

Just a few things to think about.  I am not an expert or even professionally trained in medicine.  These thoughts just comes from my own research, a frontier medicine-type course, and extensive consideration about how I would handle health issues if I had no modern medicine to rely on.

Do you have any “chicken soup” type remedies to speed along recovery from cold or fever?  If so, please share them in the comments section.

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12 Comments on “First Aid Refresher: Working with Your Body, part 1”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Mine is very basic…

    Rest and water. Water is so critical to your bodies correct functions especialy its temprature regualtion systems.
    If you don’t HAVE to do something then take the time and rest up. I always end up pushing myself to the point that my body MAKES me rest, so i try fight my nature and take the time to rest at the beginning rather than get “knocked out” by it!


    • Laura Says:

      Good point about the water. I really should have mentioned fluids here because you are so right that they can make the difference in many situations. I think I may do a whole posting on water and fluid intake eventually. Thanks for pointing that out.


  2. Laura Says:

    I came across another article with references for many of the things I mentioned above. Here is the link:



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