What to do in a fever

 
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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

When someone gets a fever, our common response is to bring down the fever. This has been our conditioning. After all what is paracetamol for? But this can be dangerous if we consider that the fever or rise in temperature is only the body’s  response to an invading organism. In general, nature is always the wisest. Our body fights bacteria and viruses everyday since they are everywhere. Most of the time we are blissfully unaware of this ongoing battle. In most cases, we already have antibodies against the organism thanks to previous encounters.

The first encounter with any germ can result in a stronger reaction only because it’s new to the immune system and because we don’t have antibodies against it as yet. In order to give itself time to produce antibodies and fight the invader, our body, in its wisdom, raises the temperature so that the germ cannot multiply. This is fever. If we take a pill to bring down this fever that our body has deliberately created, we are doing our body a great disservice because now the germ can freely multiply. Then we naturally need a new line of defence – antibiotics etc.

The trouble with an antibiotic is that although it may kill the invading organism, it does not allow the immune system to build antibodies, which means that the next time the bacteria invades, the body will not be prepared. This can result in a series of illnesses.

The very best that we can do in any fever is to trust the body’s ability to heal, give it time and follow the guidance of the body. I’ve noticed that even cases of Covid-19 do well with this advice. What we should do every day is build our health and immunity so that we can withstand any attack or fever.

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My Tryst with Covid-19 – Nipa Mangat

I turned vegan about 3.5 years ago out of compassion for animals. My quest for a nutritionally well balanced vegan diet led me to SHARAN and since then I have been largely following this lifestyle.

In February 2021, after a social meeting with fellow marathoners, some of us came down with fever. Thanks to an alert from one of them, I immediately isolated myself at home. I tested positive for Covid-19 and so did the others. My symptoms were fatigue, low grade fever and bodyache.

I had two options – I could call my family doctor and follow his instructions and take more tests and start medication or believe in what I had learnt at SHARAN and try to heal myself naturally. I chose the latter. I started taking steam inhalations twice a day. I had lots of warm liquids like hot water with lemon and herbal infusions with lemon grass, ginger, tulsi and turmeric. I also had coconut water and sweet lime juice as all this would help my body maintain a more alkaline environment. When hungry, I ate simple fruits like papaya and banana. I decided to stay firm in my beliefs of Dr. Nandita Shah’s principles. Given the right environment and nutrition, our body will heal itself and fight the virus.

Thanks to the quick alert from my friends and early isolation no one else in my plant-based home got it. My fever lasted only a day and a half and body ache for 4-5 days, after which I was void of symptoms and was on my way to recovery.  In a couple of days I started including green smoothies and raw salads too, which help build immunity. It was only after day 10 that I started eating one simple whole food plant based cooked meal.

Most of my friends, who were at the meeting and also tested COVID positive at the same time, took the usual  medications such as paracetamols, anti flu medicines, antibiotics and even steroids. A couple of them were hospitalised and were on external oxygen too. Interestingly, a couple of friends from the group were plant-based, and they too recovered quickly and without medications.

I am truly grateful to Dr. Nandita Shah and SHARAN team for all the knowledge about the whole food plant based lifestyle which boosts my immunity and keeps me healthy.

Disclaimer: Please note that not every case of Covid-19 is without complications. Always be in touch with your doctor and if you have difficulty in breathing or any severe symptoms or oxygen levels are low, don’t neglect getting medical advice.

Basic Green Smoothie 

Green smoothies are a great, energising way to start the morning and incorporate the goodness of greens, with the sweetness of fruit.

To make a great green smoothie, mix green leaves and fruit (except melons or fibrous fruit such as citrus fruits) in the ratio 1:2 by volume (1 part green leaves and 2 parts fruit) and blend with 1 part water. Flavourings could be added as needed (ginger, mint, lemon zest). Smoothies should not be strained. Never add melons, vegetables (such as cucumber, broccoli and zucchini), nuts or seeds.

It’s best to alternate between different kinds of greens on different days – spinach, mint, coriander, celery greens, spring onion greens, bok choy, beetroot greens, basil, betel leaves, etc. Bananas, mangoes, papaya, chikoo, grapes, passionfruit and other pulpy fruits make good smoothies. You could add microgreens in smoothies to pack in more nutrients.

Here is a basic recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled, chopped and frozen ripe bananas   OR
  • 1 cup chopped frozen peeled banana + 1 cup chopped apple/pear/mango or ½ a pineapple/ papaya or any other pulpy fruit of your choice (total 2 cups of pulpy fruit)
  • 1 cup lightly packed down shredded green leaves
  • 1 cup water (use chilled water if using a high speed blender)
  • 1 – 2 soft dates (optional), pitted

Method

In a blender, blend all the ingredients together (except for dates) until homogenous and smooth. Add the dates if the smoothie is not sweet enough for you. The smoothie should be absolutely delicious. Pour into two tall  glasses and enjoy!

Note: There are 3 rules to be followed for smoothies:

  1. A smoothie should not be combined with any other food except fruit.
  2. Rotate the greens and do not stick to any one kind alone.
  3. Do not mix melons with other fruits.

Serves 1 (2 glasses)

Food for the mind

FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP

If you love Facebook, then join us to be supported on your plant based journey. We are offering two possibilities

1. SHARAN India is SHARAN’s main Facebook page which you can like and follow for getting useful daily updates and news from the plant based health world. You will also get news about the latest SHARAN events, see testimonials, and more.

2. SHARAN’s Vegan Support Group is an open support group to know more about vegan/plant-based lifestyle. Here you can ask questions and share inspiring stories, tips, recipes, etc.

All our doctors and presenters will be here to answer your questions and give you tips. If you have attended our events join this group to be a part of our family.

Please like the main SHARAN page and join the group(s) applicable to you.

 

Dos and Don’ts for fevers

Our conditioning has made us believe that a fever is bad. Instead we need to thank our body for having the energy to build up a temperature so that the invading organism cannot multiply efficiently and that we are aware that we have to assist the body to heal by giving it ample rest, plenty of fluids and only simple food if any. Here are some tips to handle any fever.

1. Take plenty of rest

When you are unwell the body automatically asks for the rest so that it can divert all its energies into healing. Taking rest at this time is the best thing that you can do to help your body heal.

2. Eat only if hungry

When we are unwell our body automatically tells us not to eat. The tongue gets coated, food doesn’t taste good anymore, and there is no appetite. This is so that the body doesn’t have to divert any of its energies into digestion and can use all the energies for healing. All too often our family members tell us to try eating just a little. This is bad advice.  Always listen to your body.

3. Drink plenty of fluids

Our body often indicates thirst.  Fluids help to cleanse the body.

4. Get a diagnosis

Different infectious diseases have different symptoms that doctors use to diagnose. Instead of getting rid of them, careful observation of all the symptoms will help in diagnosis. Blood tests can also help in diagnosing.  If we have a diagnosis then we have an idea of what to expect in terms of duration, intensity, and prognosis. And if its something that can definitely be helped with certain treatments it may even be wise to take them. A good example could be malaria or typhoid fever or encephalitis or meningitis or certain pneumonias. 

5. Avoid antipyretics

This is a golden rule. Bringing down the fever is always counter-productive. Our effort should be towards bringing down the infection or problem and not the fever which is only a symptom.

6. Make yourself comfortable

The body will tell you how. It will tell you whether you need blankets or open-air, light or darkness, activity or inactivity. Listen to the advice of your body.

7. Avoid medicines

Medicines are great when absolutely required but most of the time they are overused. In general, doctors hand out a long prescription for any fever which consists of an antipyretic, an antibiotic or two, a probiotic, a vitamin or two, an antacid, and perhaps some symptom specific medications like a painkiller. A fever treated this way often takes just as many days as a fever that is treated entirely by listening to your body. The advantage of the latter is that you will have long-standing immunity and no side effects.

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This newsletter was compiled by SHARAN Head of Mumbai, Reyna K Rupani, She facilitates the Six Weeks to Health Gain & Weight Loss program and also conducts health talks for schools, groups, corporates and more.

Edited by Deepa Ballal, a freelance writer based in Dubai.

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