Next up – Host defenses

“50% of what doctors learn in medical school is incorrect. The problem is, we don’t know which 50%.”  This is a common saying in medical education. Do you think it is true?

I suspect we can learn as much from previous mistakes as from brand new discoveries. One mistake could be the tendency to regard fever as something to be feared. Evidence now suggests that fever can be an important part of the host defense against invasive pathogens. Other symptoms commonly treated by doctors might have similar protective effects.

Read:
The Adaptive Value of Fever

The smoke detector principle. Nesse R. 2009. Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences

Writing assignment: If a two-year old comes to the ER complaining of an ear ache and has a fever of 101 F, what would you say to the nurse who asks you for a prescription of tylenol for the child? How about when the mother asks you for antibiotics, even though you suspect a viral infection (a common cold)? Defense your answer either way.

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