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Twenty five years ago, Matthew Kluger showed that because lizards are cold-blooded animals, they are more likely to die when they are infected and cannot move to a warm area to raise their body temperatures.

Fish in interconnected tanks with different water temperatures, prefer lower water temperature when healthy, and choose a higher temperature when infected to reduce their chances of dying. A rise in body temperature after experimental bacterial infection prevents death (1).

Blocking fever with drugs like aspirin increase death rate (2). Aspirin helps you feel better because it blocks pain and reduces swelling, but fever slows the growth of the bacteria and viruses in your body. Bacteria and viruses release pyrogens that enter your body and are attacked by immune cells called macrophages, which release chemicals called interleukins that raise blood levels of prostaglandins, that cause fever. Aspirin inhibits prostaglandins to lower fever, but do not cure disease.

1) Science, Volume 188, p. 166).

2) Science, Volume 193, p. 237.

3) Kluger's Fever: Its biology, evolution, and function (Princeton University Press, 1979.

Checked 8/9/05

May 30th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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