The human body has an amazing response to germs and is brilliantly designed to protect ourselves from disease and death from invaders. The response of the body to fight germs that we are exposed to comes most often in what many people call symptoms of infection. I like to think of these symptoms as intelligent responses of the body, and they are in place for the reason of protecting us. Not all symptoms we experience should be seen as damaging to the body. Let's break down some common symptoms that most people will experience with the cold or flu and the reason behind them.
Fever: A fever is often the biggest sign that most individuals will look for with sickness. Most individuals attribute a fever as a danger to the body and want to take a fever reducer right away to get rid of it (asprin/tylenol). The reason that the body actually increases temperature is to increase the rate at which our immune cells travel around the body to find the infection/germ. The process is called Leukotaxis and for every degree of increased temperature (past 98.6) the speed of our immune cells doubles. So for example a fever of 104 degrees would equate to 64x faster movement.
Increase Mucus Production: The purpose of this production is to surround the germ/infection in the body and create a wall around it so that it cannot spread throughout the body. This can be in the sinus and nasal cavities but also possible in the lungs and airways as well. The intent is to surround and stop the spread and excrete the germ following the death of the germ.
Eliminate the dead: Following the walling off of and destruction of the germ/infection we need to get the dead tissue out of the body. This is where a couple common symptoms are found. Diarrhea is used for excretion of infection from the GI tract. Coughing is used to clear infection from the lungs and airways. Sneezing is used to clear infection from the nasal and sinus cavities.
Restore and Rebuild: Once the body has been rid of infection it prioritizes rebuilding potentially damaged tissue in the region. This is vital to be done so that reinfection cannot set into the tissue and cause the same overrun of sickness and infection again.
Keep these things in mind the next time you are battling a sickness or infection that there is a specific reason for every demonstration of the body. Many times it is beneficial to let the symptoms run their course in order to shorten the duration of the sickness (within reason). Symptom reducing medication has the potential to prolong infection because they are hindering natural responses used to treat things quickly.