Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Fever Effect

I woke up rather ill this morning and it made me think of this post, one of my most read, originally ran on May 13, 2010:

I don't know how to start this entry as this statement may seem odd. For some people these experiences might be very difficult, but for me I look forward to them. These experiences would be the best in the world, if not for the headaches, body aches, and the sore throat. Those side effects aside, a fever is a welcomed event.

Why is something that is so harsh on a body a welcomed event? I think I can say that the only time I relax is during a fever. It's a very bizarre sensation as my mind's habit of overly thinking about everything slows down.

Things seem to make more sense when I have a fever. Perhaps this is because my body's energy is elsewhere and my mental focus isn't dwelling on anything.

When I was in school a fever was like winning the lottery as it meant I would not be going to school. Could this be why I feel better, now, with a fever? Much like a certain aroma may remind you of your grandmother's house, a fever reminds me of the freedom of not dealing with school for a day.

I'm not so sure this is simply based on the memories of avoiding school. There is certainly a change in the way I process information during a fever. I know I smile more often and my rigidness to any and all things decreases. It's a shame that the side effects come along with the fever!

So, I do have a question of you whether you are or aren't on the spectrum; What is a fever like for you? I know I had a friend, not on the spectrum, that got really mean and almost aggressive when he had a fever. I was always confused by this because I associate a fever with relaxation.

Finally, I should say when I say fever I am talking about the 99.5-101 range. Anything above 101 has been truly unpleasant and it speeds up my mind to an unwanted level. When I had my bout with MRSA and my fever was 105 I could not slow my mind down. The unfiltered emotions I felt were to an almost unbearable level and this was weird because my strength in my body was non-existent.

So, again, does a fever change the way your mind processes information, or am I the only one who has this seemingly odd characteristic?

PS, I have known this about myself for a long time, and first talked about it openly in 2005. I never thought anything of it, but after writing this I did a Google search of "fever" and "autism" and many media outlets (webmd, Time, ABC News) all have had stories such as, "Fever may improve behavior in kids with autism".


  1. Being sick in general is no fun. Of course getting out of school was always nice, but I'm not sure being sick is better than going to school (it was sometimes though). And I missed a lot of days, especially in middle school. Flu and pneumonia at the same time = no school for two weeks. I literally could not get out of bed for 10 days. Not my idea of a fun time.

    Though, as you probably remember. One time I was sick was actually fun. Getting to watch every single second of the Barrett Jackson car auction on SpeedTV.

  2. I certainly slow down with a fever. Sometimes just the act of thinking hurts my head during a fever. That is why most people will just lay around and be lazy during a bout with fever. I think you're on to something, fever slows the brain down. Fever is hot so is it the hot that slows the brain? Do you slow down during a nice soak in a hot bath or shower? How about when you lay outside on a warm summer day? Any of those things cause relaxation and slow my brain down.

  3. It has been so long since I had a sustained fever (I usually spike on and off) that I don't remember! I do know that my granddaughter slows down when she has one (she is on the asd). She talks less so I imagine her thought processes may slow down.

  4. Interesting; just thought of a connection that has been explored other places, other times, that the antibody response could be involved. It would make sense if that response is focused on an actual fever, indicating an actual infection that needed an antibody response. (you can tell by now that I am not a researcher or scientist.) I saw a difference with the connection that gluten causes an antibody response in some, for some reason they don't know. Just that if gluten is taken out of the diet, the antibody response calms down. :) I like your blog; as an adult, I have asp tendencies, but no diagnosis; just difficulty making connections with friendships, social, etc. Don't recognize your 'comment as:' choices. Contact is from Autism link.

  5. I read this during great timing, since right now I'm ill and this afternoon I had a small temperature rise. During this I layed my laptop aside and just layed there being ill and didn't think about much.
    So yes, it happens for me too. Whether it makes me happy? Having slow thoughts can be fun when I'm alone, but people around me are used to me having quick thoughts and I'm good at solving problems, so they ask me a lot of questions and I can't process them. So I don't like that. When I'm alone I do like the silence in my head though, but then we have the fact that I feel ill and have nobody to comfort me.
    Also, being ill has a bigger impact on me, since I'm chronicly fatigued. I always am on low energy and being ill takes out even more energy, making me feel miserable. During this time I just want someone to hold me. Sadly this someone asks processing from me, which I can't.

    So in short: The only time I can somewhat enjoy being ill is if there's only one person around me who's just taking care of me and talking to me, without making me think about stuff too much.
    Sadly, I'm in a household of 5 people, so this is usually a no-can-do.

  6. For me, everything becomes more crisp and clearer when I have a fever. My fever must be over 102 for me to feel this. Anything below that and I get aggressive and moody. But when it is over 102, my memories just flood into my head so vividly. I can see family members that passed away years ago very clearly and I remember things with them that i hadnt remembered in quite a while. I also seem to loose the filter between my brain and my mouth, where-as I speak everything on my mind: everything!

  7. I like your post and thanks for sharing it.

  8. 105! It takes more than an ice pack for that kind of fever!It takes an IV and lots and lots of fever reducer.