ua en ru

Higher temperature during illness means better immunity: True or not

Higher temperature during illness means better immunity: True or not Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Many people's body temperature rises when they have a respiratory infection or flu. There is a common belief that this is a good sign, as it indicates the body's resistance to viruses. Infectious disease specialist Yevhen Dubrovskyi explains whether this is really true or not.

Is it true that the higher the temperature, the better the immunity?

"Immunity should be normal, not super strong. It should ensure recovery without a prolonged or complicated period. The best immunity is when we don't get sick often, even when someone sneezes or coughs on us," says the doctor.

He explains that mothers usually worry when their child has a high temperature, but there is no need to fear, as it is a normal reaction of the body.

"However, if the immune system is weak, if the temperature is low, and there is no adequate response of the body to the pathogen, there is a risk of prolonging the process or complications. The most dangerous thing in respiratory illnesses is not the viruses themselves but the uncontrolled immune reaction," says Dubrovskyi.

The doctor notes that various "antiviral" medications were once very popular, but these were typically immune stimulants rather than true antivirals.

"These are not exactly antivirals in the classical sense. They are drugs that boost the immune response, induce the production of interferon. But are they needed for the flu or coronavirus? Definitely not," says the infectious disease specialist.

According to him, patients with severe flu and coronavirus in hospitals were saved by hormones. Their action is fundamentally opposite - they "turn off" the immune system.

"These are extremely important things. Experience and acquired knowledge allow us to confidently state - to avoid trouble, don't tamper with or stimulate the immune system when a person is sick with the flu or COVID," warns Dubrovskyi.

At the same time, he points out that real antivirals are a different matter. They are usually used for high-risk groups and in cases of severe illness. And it is crucial to remember that antivirals are most effective when taken within the first 48 hours.