20 Ways To Control And Eliminate Your Fever
Fever is a natural response to infection or illness. Many illnesses thrive at normal body temperature, and a fever (even a high one) is a good indication that the immune system is functioning to ward off the infection. In fact, a fever is a good sign as it means that the body is responding to fight the infection, and in most cases it is part of a natural bodily response that should be allowed to continue.
Fever can be caused by bacterial or viral illness, or in rare cases by poisoning, heat stroke, environmental toxins, or a malfunctioning hypothalamus. For the majority of us, fever is caused by a simple infection (most often a virus) and will fade on its own as the body heals. In fact, in most cases, a fever less than 103 (39 degrees) will not cause brain damage, and a fever stemming from an infection will usually not go above this unless other factors (hot environment, etc.) are present. In many cases, those who suffer brain damage or other problems from an illness suffer this from the illness itself, not the fever. A fever less than 107 is unlikely to cause brain damage or other problems unless accompanied by more serious symptoms.
If one of my family members has a fever less than 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit that I know is not the result of poisoning, severe bacterial infection, heat stroke, or toxins, I personally find it best to wait it out, monitor symptoms and take measures to make the person more comfortable.
Why Reducing A Fever Can Be Counterproductive
There are several reasons it is better not to reduce a fever. Since fever is part of the body’s natural way of fighting illness or infection, reducing the fever can actually make the illness last longer, as it lets the cause of the illness live for a longer time. Additionally, most conventional methods of lowering a fever can do more harm than good. Tylenol and Advil (the two medications most often given to children to reduce fever) both have side effects and cause liver failure in adults and children each year, especially when given regularly. Medications are also foreign substances in the body, which must be metabolized and filtered by the body and this takes energy the body could be using to fight the illness.
While a fever can be uncomfortable, it is possible to comfort the person who is ill without reducing the fever. Often, the medications that reduce fever also get rid of body aches or uncomfortable symptoms, so the two are thought to go hand in hand. While certainly, medical intervention and medicine are absolutely warranted at times, they aren’t my first line of defense for most fevers.
When Medical Care is Critical
In the majority of cases, a fever is a natural healthy response that should be allowed to run its course. There are exceptions and in these cases it is important to seek medical care and make sure there is not a more serious problem:
- A child under three months has a fever over 100.4 or exhibits any serious symptoms.
- A child has a fever over 104 as this can signal a more serious infection or poisoning.
- A child has a fever for more than two consecutive days.
- The ill person has other symptoms like stiff neck, listlessness, or sensitivity to light.
- The person is unable to hold down food for more than a few hours or shows any signs of dehydration.
- Person exhibits any sign of respiratory distress.
- Person has been exposed to toxins or poisons that may have caused the fever.
- My mother’s intuition says there is something more serious going on, even if the child appears fine.
What Do I Do Instead?
If your forehead is fiery with fever, you could reach for acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to lower your temperature. (Don’t treat fevers with aspirin in anyone under the age of 19; doing so can trigger a potentially fatal disease called Reye’s syndrome.) But if your fever is 38.3°C (101°F) or below, don’t be afraid to let it run its course; Mother Nature has raised your temperature for a reason. While I don’t use conventional methods of treating illness, I’m also not in favor of letting an ill person suffer any more than is necessary. Fortunately, there are some easy, natural ways to comfort the afflicted without drugs or medicine.
For most illnesses, this is my protocol:
- Hydrate to beat Fever: When you have a fever, it’s easy to become dehydrated.Drink 8 to 12 glasses of water a day or enough to make your urine pale. Stick to PURIFIED water;
- Double doses of Fermented Cod Liver Oil: This greatly reduces the duration of the illness and also gives the ill person important immune boosting nutrients. We use capsules for adultsand gel for kids who can’t swallow pills. I also give this daily to all family members to help boost immune function so the body is ready to handle illness more quickly.
- Probiotics: You’ve probably heard the saying “All disease begins in the gut” and I give probioticsto support immune and gut health. We take these all the time, but especially during illness.
- Soaks: We do warm baths with epsom salts or magnesium and a sprinkle of powdered ginger to help alleviate muscle aches;
- Take a bath in lukewarm water:This temperature will feel plenty cool when you have a fever, and the bath should help bring your body temperature down. Don’t try to bring a fever down rapidly by plunging yourself into cold water; that tactic sends blood rushing to internal organs, which is how your body defends itself from cold. Your interior actually warms up instead of cooling down.
- Give yourself a sponge bath:Sponging high-heat areas like your armpits and groin with cool water can help reduce your temperature as the water evaporates;
- Dampness: When you’re not bathing, placecold, damp washcloths on your forehead and the back of your neck;
- Tea: Brew a cup ofyarrow tea. This herb opens your pores and triggers the sweating that is said to move a fever toward its end. Steep a tablespoon of herb in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. Let cool. Drink a cup or two until you start to sweat. Another herb, elderflower, also helps you sweat. And it happens to be good for other problems associated with flu and colds, like overproduction of mucus. To make elderflower tea, mix two teaspoons of the herb in a cup of boiled water and let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain out the elderflower. Drink three times a day as long as the fever continues;
- Ginger Tea: Drink a cup ofhot ginger tea, which also induces sweating. To make the tea, steep a half-teaspoon minced gingerroot in 1 cup just-boiled water. Strain, then drink;
- Sprinkle cayenne pepper on your foods when you have a fever:One of its main components is capsaicin, the alarmingly hot ingredient that’s found in hot peppers. If you like spicy meals, add a ½ chopped cayenne pepper or 1-2 teaspoons of ORGANIC cayenne pepper powder, especially to a soup broth. Cayenne peppers contain capsaicin, which has antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties to promote healing. It will also stimulate sweating to keep your body cool. People who are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, and avocado may also have an allergy to cayenne;
- Try the wet-sock treatment: First warm your feet in hot water. Then soak a thin pair of cotton socks in cold water, wring them out, and slip them on just before going to bed. Put a pair of dry wool socks over the wet ones.This approach helps ease a fever by drawing blood to the feet, which dramatically increases blood circulation. Another way to draw blood to the feet is with a mustard footbath. In a basin large enough for your feet, add two teaspoons of mustard powder to four cups of hot water, then soak;
- Reduce caffeine intake: Too much caffeine can be bad for you when you have a fever. Caffeine overdose can cause fevers, headaches, insomnia, diarrhea, irritability, and dizziness. Caffeine also stimulates water excretion and excessive intake can lead to dehydration. 1 cup of brewed coffee contains 133 mg of caffeine, and 1 cup of black tea contains 53 mg of caffeine;
- Avoid Sugar: Avoid sugary soda as well as energy and sports drinks as these can cause nausea and vomiting during a fever. Severe cases of caffeine and sugar overdose can cause nausea, vomiting, chest pain, hallucinations, difficulty breathing, and convulsions;
- Avoid inflammatory foods:A fever is a form of inflammation your body uses to protect itself against harmful substances. Foods that increase inflammation can cause your fever to worsen or last longer. They can also cause indigestion and bloating, making you even more uncomfortable. Try to avoid these foods as much as possible, especially when you have a fever: Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pastries, and donuts – Fried foods -Sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda or energy drinks – Red meat such as veal, ham, or steak and processed meats such as hot dogs – Margarine, shortening, and lard;
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods:While some foods can cause inflammation, others can help reduce it. However, if you experience nausea, indigestion, or vomiting after eating something, you should try to avoid it until your fever decreases. Lighter, non-acidic foods such as salads with light dressing, nuts, and whole grains are more easily absorbed by the body when you have a fever. Foods that help reduce inflammation include: Fruits such as strawberries, cherries, and oranges – Nuts like almonds and walnuts -Green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale, which are high in antioxidants – Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines – Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, oatmeal, and flax seed, as well as olive oil;
- Take vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important natural antioxidant that helps promote immune function, manage blood sugar, stimulate cell growth and repair, and lowers risk of various chronic diseases. Although vitamin C deficiency is rare, it can greatly affect the immune system. Making sure you get enough Vitamin C when you have a fever can help your body recover faster. Vitamin C can be taken as a dietary supplement with a recommended dose of 500 mg split into two or three times daily. Since smoking depletes vitamin C, smokers may need an additional 35 mg per day. You can also add vitamin C-rich foods to your daily diet. Good natural sources of vitamin C include: Sweet red or green peppers – Citrus fruit such as oranges, pomelo, grapefruit, limes, or non-concentrated citrus juices – Spinach, broccoli, and brussel sprouts – Strawberries and raspberries – Tomatoes – Mango, papaya, and cantaloupe;
- Take magnesium:Magnesium is a necessary nutrient for many body functions, such as energy production. It also reduces anxiety, stress, chronic fatigue, chest pain, and helps maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Magnesium deficiency can weaken the immune system and cause a number of health problems. Natural food sources of magnesium include banana, salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna, dark chocolate, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, brown rice, lentils, soybeans, black beans, chickpeas, avocado, and bananas. Beware, calcium can inhibit the absorption of magnesium.
- Try homemade soup.Drinking warm fluids such as soup can help reduce the internal temperature of the body, promote hydration, and stimulate sweating that helps keep your body cool to alleviate fever. The broth for the soup should be light and should contain no flour or grains. Here is one soup recipe: place 1 lb. of sliced potatoes, ½ lb. of chopped carrots, ¼ lb. of chopped leeks, and other leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, or red cabbage in 2 liters of water. Cook for one hour on medium heat, then strain the soup into a mug or soup bowl. Salt should only be added for individuals with low blood pressure.
- Juices: These are the most nutritious beverages, recommended for children who cannot follow a restrictive diet, or have trouble digesting solid foods. Do not give your child too much fruit juice, as many fruits contain citric acid, which can cause stomach acid reflux and lead to vomiting. Dilute these drinks by making them one half water, one half juice. If you are making homemade juice, make sure the fruits or vegetables used are ripe. Infants should only be given nutritious beverages, soup, and water until the fever comes down. Solid foods may put too much strain on the infant’s digestive system;
- Drink herbal tea.Herbal teas contain many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help promote relaxation, calm indigestion and gastric reflux, and reduce congestion associated with fever. Some teas can take up to 2–3 hours to take effect. Herbal teas that help reduce symptoms accompanied by fever are: 1) Chamomile tea can help reduce symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, inflammation, heartburn, chest colds, and sore throat.To make chamomile tea, steep 2-3 grams of dried chamomile flower in 1 cup of warm water for 5 minutes, then strain and drink; 2) Peppermint tea can help reduce congestion associated with a cold or flu and have a cooling effect on the body due to its active ingredient menthol. To make peppermint tea, steep ¼ teaspoon of peppermint leaves in 1 cup of warm water for 3–5 minutes, then strain and drink without any sweetener. This can be taken 1–2 times per day for reducing symptoms of a mild fever. Peppermint may cause nausea when taken during a moderate to severe fever (103-105ºF), and should not be given to children or infants.
Lastly, a word of CAUTION: Do not exercise if you are suffering from a fever, always make sure your nose is clear. Remember thatyou may get brain damage if your fever is higher than 106ºF (41ºC). If your fever reaches 104ºF (41ºC), seek IMMEDIATE medical attention.