We’ve all had it – a high temperature, chills, headaches, loss of appetite, and weakness that lasts for a few hours to a few days. An essential part of your body’s defence against an infection, fever is the temporary increase in body temperature. More common in children than in adults, a fever is marked by a temperature higher than 99° Fahrenheit or 55.2° Celcius.
What Causes A Fever?
A fever can be the result of a bacterial or a viral infection, chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis, reaction to medication, or even certain types of cancers. In your brain, the hypothalamus plays the role of a thermostat, by regulating your temperature to meet the ideal level. When you’re healthy, the hypothalamus is set to a higher-than-normal temperature. But when you’re affected by an infection, the toxins (called pyrogens) released into your blood set the hypothalamus to a higher temperature than normal. And this rise in temperature is referred to as a fever.1 2
Home Remedies For Fever
Some experts suggest that a fever usually does not need medical treatment unless it’s accompanied by body pain or other conditions. In fact, anti-fever drugs can prolong the duration of the underlying illness and increase the risk of its transmission.3 If you’re suffering from a fever, here are some of the things you can do at home to reduce the temperature.
1. Get Enough Rest
This might be the only time we’d actually advice you against any physical activity. If you’re a fitness buff and feel the need to throw in a few stretches even when you’re sick, stop right there and get back to bed. Also, avoid going out of the house and give social gatherings a pass. When you’re sick, moving around and working your body might cause more harm than good. After all, getting enough rest is the first step to fight a fever.
2. Drink Plenty Of Fluids
By keeping your body hydrated, you can alleviate the symptoms of a fever. Dehydration is one of the things that happen to your body when you have a fever. To replenish the electrolytes lost due to dehydration, drink a lot of fluids. Don’t just stick to water. Try fruit juice or ORS solutions. You can also opt for matcha tea, which has potent antioxidants that can treat and reduce your fever. Attempt to drink at least 2 liters of fluid every day. Drinking herbal teas made from cinnamon, ginger, or lemon can also help break the fever.4 5
3. Eat Bland Food And Probiotics
“Feed a cold, starve a fever?” No, sir. You should feed both a cold and a fever. While a fever can reduce your appetite and hunger, you shouldn’t avoid eating altogether. Go for bland foods like steamed vegetables, porridge, and chicken soup or broth. Probiotic foods are believed to be another excellent way to treat a fever. The live bacteria in probiotics can help reduce your fever and relieve you from its symptoms. Some examples of probiotics are yogurt, fermented cabbage, fermented soy products, sauerkraut, and buttermilk.
4. Take A Warm Bath
A lukewarm bath can bring down your high temperature, give a soothing sensation, and give you relief from body heat. If your fever is accompanied by sore muscles, add a few drops of Epsom salt to your bath to reduce the ache. Alternatively, you can also opt for a warm sponge bath. However, avoid taking a cold water bath as it can cause chills and make you feel worse.6
5. Press A Damp Washcloth On Your Forehead
Press a wet cloth on your forehead to reduce high temperatures. By cooling your surface temperature, damp washcloths can fight a fever. You can also wear wet socks to bed. Wet socks work like damp washcloths and keep your temperature from shooting up.7
6. Dress Light
Even though it may seem counterproductive to wear light clothes when you’re shivering with cold, it’s important that you don’t wear layers when you have a fever. If you’re getting the chills, cover yourself up with a lightweight blanket, but nothing too warm. If you’re stuffed in layers, your temperature might increase and prolong the fever.8
Usually, an untreated fever does not cross 103° F. If it does, immediately consult your doctor. If your fever is accompanied by skin rashes, swelling of the throat, severe muscle aches, diarrhea, and convulsions and doesn’t reduce even after 2 days, medical help might be required. If a child below the age of 12 is suffering from a fever, visit a doctor even if the temperature is low.
|↑1||Fever. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.|
|↑2||Fever. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑3||Flu. International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.|
|↑4||What to Do If You Have the Flu or Flu-Like Symptoms. Aurora University.|
|↑5||Ravikumar, Chandini. “Review on herbal teas.” Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research 6, no. 5 (2014): 236-238.|
|↑6, ↑7, ↑8||Fever in adults. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.|