How to Treat a Fever Naturally
For many of us, a fever is the symptom we really watch out for. Once our body temperature goes up, we know we’re really sick and fighting off some sort of nasty infection…and it’s at this point that many of us reach for over-the-counter medications to bring that fever down right away.
But maybe we should think twice about doing that in the future! As it turns out, fevers may be a good friend during your illness.
Below I’m going to explain why we should treat a fever naturally at first – and, of course, exactly how you can do that. I’ll also explain when it’s the right time to get medical professionals involved or to take fever reducers.
Why Treat a Fever Naturally?
Fevers are important! Crazy, right? That goes against everything most people – and most understandably worried mothers – have ever believed.
A fever is actually your body’s way of defending itself against bacteria or a virus that thrives on your regular, lower body temperature. That means a fever is actually on your side. When we instantly reduce the fever once we get a bit warm, we’re essentially killing off our best solider.
Learn more about the helpful fever process with this short video:
Medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can have their place when a high, uncontrolled fever is raging, but they shouldn’t be the immediate first choice.
There are other ways to ease some of your discomfort and promote extra healing in your body instead. Of course, there are moments when fever can make a switch and become dangerous – so I’ll let you know how to watch out for that and what to do about it too!
Let’s Talk Temperature
So what temperature counts as a fever – let’s find out.
A child is said to have a fever if their temperature is at or over:
- 100.4°F (38°C) measured in the bottom
- 99.5°F (37.5°C) measured in the mouth
- 99°F (37.2°C) measured under the arm
An adult is said to have a fever if their temperature is over 99°F.
When Does a Fever Get Dangerous?
When does a regular ol’ fever (something that’s actually helpful) turn into something to be worried about? Here are a few guidelines:
- If your infant younger than 3 months old has a fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, immediately reach out to a doctor or visit the emergency room.
- If your infant between 3 months and 24 months has a fever of 100.4° F, call their doctor.
- If your older child has a fever over 104 F°, call their doctor
- Call your doctor if your child’s fever is accompanied by seizure or overly fussy/drowsy behavior
- Call your doctor if the fever lasts over 1 day when your child is under 2 or more than 3 days if your child is over 2
Worried parents may fear that their child’s high fever will lead to brain damage, but know this: generally, there will be no brain damage for a fever until the temperature has gone over 107.6°F (42°C). And most children will never have a fever go over 105°F (40.6°C) when they have an infection – even if the fever goes untreated – unless they are overdressed or in a really hot place.
And seizures that come from a fever? Most of them are super quick and harmless. They have no connection with epilepsy.
So really – there’s not too much to worry about. However, if you feel worried or concerned, calling your child’s doctor just to confirm is always okay.
What about an adult? Generally, if your fever has gone over 103°F, it’s not a bad idea to call your doctor to see if he or she wants you to come in.
*Keep in mind that a woman’s body temperature often fluctuates around ovulation (normally only around 1 degree), which can adjust the official minimum for a fever a tiny bit. Pay attention to your other symptoms and watch your temperature if you are concerned.
5 Remedies to Treat a Fever Naturally
If you’ve decided to let your fever do its job and fight off infection, there are still a few things you can do to bring some comfort. These are your go-to methods as long as your fever or your child’s fever have not reached the point where possible medical attention is needed (as described above).
1. Drink Lots of Fluids
This is the absolute most important step when you have a fever: drink plenty of liquids! Staying hydrated will help regulate your body temperature and help you heal up faster. The best options include:
- Coconut water
- Herbal tea
- Bone broth
- Homemade soup
Be sure to avoid coffee, soda, fruit juice, and sport-ade drinks. These are filled with dehydrating caffeine and inflammatory sugars – all of which are a bad idea.
This is important fever step #2. Your body is in a massive state of healing and repairing. You need to give it rest. Sleep whenever you can, but relax on the couch or in bed even when you’re not sleeping.
If you feel like you’re burning up, you may be tempted to get into a freezing cold bath to cool you off. Conversely, if you’re in the “chills” phase of your fever, you may want to get into a hot bath to warm you up.
Both are bad ideas.
Cold baths cause you to shiver, which can actually bring up your body temperature. Hot baths will – of course – bring up your body temperature as well.
This all means if you are uncomfortable, soak in a lukewarm bath.
4. Dress Comfortably
Just like taking too hot or too cold of a bath can be problematic, so can overdressing or underdressing when you’re dealing with your fever. Don’t bundle up, but don’t go completely naked either.
A light layer of breathable clothing and perhaps one sheet or one light blanket for sleeping is often a good balance.
If you are a parent taking care of a child with a fever, be sure not to overdress them. If it’s summertime and the house is warm, bring in an extra fan. But don’t make the room freezing either.
5. Take Andrographis
If your fever is stemming from a cold, the flu, or a respiratory infection (which it often is!), taking herbal andrographis may be the ticket for reducing your symptoms (including fever) and getting you healthy faster.
One study on andrographis looked at the way it could help those with respiratory infections. Scientists found it helped all of these categories:
- Expectoration (coughing up phlegm)
- Nasal discharge
- Sore throat
- Sleep disturbance
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, call your doctor before you take andrographis first. If your child has the fever, definitely get the okay from their pediatrician first.
Natural Fever Remedies
Hopefully, this article shows you that you don’t have to grab a bottle of Tylenol every time your temperature goes up the slightest bit. Allowing your body to fight off infection naturally is the best way to get over being sick more quickly and to avoid nasty medication side effects at the same time.
Plus, the natural fever remedies should bring you the relief you need.
Just stay aware. If you or your child are really suffering, if the fever just won’t go away, or if other symptoms seem to be getting worse – talk to your doctor.