We were always told by our mothers to have a hot water bath, after we have been brutally beaten by the cold rain or after playing “Rain rain, go away” with our friends. We felt better when she always placed a cold towel on our hot, feverish head. But what we or even she never knew, were the reasons why and how it affected our bodies.
On a normal day, we have bacteria that coexist with us, in and outside our bodies. The body temperature for normal body function is 37 degree Celsius. When you have danced in the rain for more than 5 minutes, your body temperature reduces from that 37 degrees. If you have a hot bath, your normal body temperature is restored and you will sleep like a baby that night. If you do not have that hot water bath as you were told, the bacteria will do “Chop amala” and will be more than happy to attack your body. Now that is where fever comes in.
Fever is actually a good thing, rather than bad. It is a way of the body fighting karate with the now aggressive bacteria. It increases your body temperature in order to prevent the bacteria from multiplying. But sometimes, fever takes things too far and goes way over 39 degrees, which is bad for your organs, especially your brain. At a temperature of 40 degrees, the brain can go into shock and you may never recover your normal brain function. So your African mother, unknowingly or knowingly places a cold towel on your head, to prevent that catastrophe. She will keep soaking the towel in cold water until normalcy returns.
There are many other ways that our mothers take care of us that we don’t know is a big deal. Like when you were a newborn and she molded your head to a nice shape just before your cranial sutures closed up, or how she gives you salt and warm water to gargle when you have sore throat, to attack the streptococcus bacteria ganging up in your throat. So when next you see or talk to your mother, just say, “Thank you doc, for saving my life, and many times”.