18 Home Remedies for Fevers


©2007 Publications International, Ltd. A fever is actually a sign that your body is fighting an infection.

Fever is a good thing. It's your body's attempt to kill off invading bacteria and other nasty organisms that can't survive the heat. The hypothalamus, which is the body's thermostat, senses the assault on the body and turns up the heat much the way you turn up the thermostat when you feel cold. It's a simple defense mechanism, and the sweat that comes with a fever is merely a way to cool the body down.

It used to be standard medical practice to knock that fever out as quickly as possible. Not so anymore. The value of fever is recognized, and since a fever will usually subside when the infection that's causing it runs its course, modern thinking is to ride out that fever, especially if it stays under 102 degrees F in adults. If a fever is making you uncomfortable, however, or is interfering with your ability to eat, drink, or sleep, treat it. Your body needs adequate nutrition, hydration, and rest to fight the underlying cause of the fever.

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There is quite a range in what is considered normal in body temperature. The body's natural temperature-control system, managed by a tiny structure at the base of the brain called the hypothalamus, generally keeps body temperature at an average 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (measured orally). But the normal or usual body temperature for any particular person can naturally range a degree or two above or below that. What's more, an individual's body temperature can vary by a degree or more during the course of a day, with the lowest reading usually occurring in the early morning and the highest in the evening. Fever is not a disease in itself but simply a symptom of some other condition, usually an infection caused by a bacteria or virus. When such an enemy invades, white blood cells attack, releasing a substance called pyrogen. When pyrogen reaches the brain, it signals the hypothalamus to set itself at a higher point; if that new set point is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you have a fever.

Well, now you know where fevers come from. The next thing you need to know is how to take an accurate temperature. We have suggestions for choosing the best thermometer, as well as some helpful home remedies, in the next section.

For more information on conditions commonly associated with fever, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

 

Home Remedy Treatments for Fever

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. If you have a fever, it's important to stay hydrated.

When a fever develops, what should you do? Here's some advice:

Don't force yourself under cover. Shivers are your body's way of creating heat to boost your temperature, so if your teeth are chattering or you feel chilled, by all means, cover up to make yourself more comfortable. However, once your fever is established and you start feeling hot, bundling yourself in bed under a pile of blankets will only hold the heat in and likely make you feel worse. You can't "sweat out a fever," or get a fever to break by forcing your body temperature up even higher. So if you feel as though you're burning up, toss off those covers or use a single, light sheet.

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Undress. With your body exposed as much as possible, your sweat glands will be better able to release moisture, which will make you feel more comfortable. Strip down to your skivvies -- that means a diaper for an infant and underpants and thin undershirt for an older child or adult.

Dip. Sponge yourself with tepid water or, better yet, sit in a tub of coolish water (definitely not ice cold water, which can induce shock) for half an hour. If you put a feverish child in a tub or sink of water, be sure to hold the child. Don't apply an alcohol rub, because it can be absorbed into the skin and cause alcohol poisoning.

Sip. Fever, especially if it is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, can lead to fluid loss and an electrolyte imbalance, so it's important to keep drinking. Cool water is best, but unsweetened juices are okay if that's what tastes good. Getting a child to drink plenty of water is sometimes difficult, so try Popsicles or flavored ices that are made primarily of water.

Starve a fever. The old folk advice to "feed a cold, starve a fever" may not have been off the mark. Medical experts now believe that during periods of fever caused by infection, the body may do better without outside nutrition (provided you were reasonably well nourished before you got sick). During infection, your body actually sends certain nutrients such as iron and zinc into hiding; it turns out that these nutrients are essential for the growth of many infectious organisms. So by stoking up with foods and nutritional supplements during an infection, you may be helping disease-causing organisms to flourish. (Your body will tell you when it's time to start eating again.)

Resort to over-the-counter relief. If a fever is making you or your child very uncomfortable, a nonprescription antipyretic (fever-reducing) drug can be used. Antipyretics seek out the troublemaking pyrogen and put it out of commission. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are all antipyretics. Aspirin and ibuprofen also have an anti-inflammatory action, which can be an advantage in certain illnesses, such as an abscess, that may cause fever. However, do not give aspirin products to children under 19 years of age, because of the risk of a potentially fatal condition known as Reye syndrome; stick with acetaminophen for children. Also, be sure to follow package directions carefully. For a list of precautions to take when using over-the-counter analgesics, click here.

Let it run. Bear in mind that antipyretics are designed to make you (or yours) feel more comfortable during the course of a fever. The fact is, however, that fever may do an ailing body some good by making it less hospitable to the infecting organism, so you may want to let it run its course rather than rushing to bring it down with medications.

Some fevers are mild, and can be easily treated by the suggestions on this page. In fact, you can use items from your kitchen to make yourself feel better. Go to the next page to find out what.

For more information on conditions commonly associated with fever, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Natural Home Remedies for Fever

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. This delicous summer treat helps reduce fevers.

Fever is a symptom, not an illness, and so there's no specific cure. But there are some useful home remedies to be found right in your kitchen. These fever-relievers may make you feel better for the duration.

Home Remedies from the Cupboard

Cream of tartar. Try this fever tea. Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 1/2 cups warm water, and 1/2 teaspoon honey. Drink 4 to 6 ounces at a time.

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Pineapple. Fresh is best. It's one of nature's anti-inflammatory agents that can fight fever. Pineapple is also packed with juice that can prevent dehydration.

Raisins. Put 3/4 cup chopped raisins in 7 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the water has been reduced by one-third. Drink a little of this several times a day to keep yourself hydrated during a fever.

Home Remedies from the Freezer

Popsicles. These can reduce the risk of dehydration. Fruit juice bars are good, too. This can be an especially handy way to keep fluids in small children.

Home Remedies from the Refrigerator

Apple water. It tastes good, relieves the miseries of fever, and keeps the body hydrated. To make it, peel, skin, core, and slice 3 sweet apples. Put them in a pan with 3 3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the apples are barely mushy. Remove, strain without pressing apple puree into the liquid, and add 2 tablespoons honey. Drink and enjoy.

Blackberry vinegar. This is a great fever elixir, but it takes several days to prepare. Pour cider vinegar over a pound or two of blackberries, then cover the container and store it in a cool, dark place for three days. Strain for a day, since it takes time for all the liquid to drain from the berries, and collect the liquid in another container. Then add 2 cups sugar to each 2 1/2 cups juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes while you skim the scum off the top. Cool and store in an airtight jar in a cool place. Mix 1 teaspoonful with water to quench the thirst caused by a fever.

Fruit juice. It will replace the fluids lost through sweating. Lemonade is a good choice, too.

Lettuce. Pour a pint of boiling water over an entire head of lettuce and let it steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain, sweeten the liquid to taste, and drink. In addition to keeping you hydrated, this lettuce infusion may help you sleep better.

Home Remedies from the Sink

Water. Drink lots of it to prevent dehydration. Sponging the body with lukewarm water can relieve fever symptoms, but it's recommended that you use fever-reducing medication first to reduce the possibility of chills and shivering. Do not use cold water or ice on the body.

Home Remedies from the Spice Rack

Basil. Mix 1 teaspoon basil with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Steep in 1 cup hot water to make a tea. Add 1 teaspoon honey. Drink two to three times a day.

Oregano. A tea made from a mixture of some spice-rack staples can help reduce fever. Steep 1 teaspoon each of oregano and marjoram in a pint of boiling water for 30 minutes. Strain, and drink warm a couple times a day. Refrigerate unused portion until needed, then gently warm.

Now you've got some great ideas to help you fight a fever the next time you come down with something.

For more information on conditions commonly associated with fever, try the following links:

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader's Digest, Prevention, Men's Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.

Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women's health.

Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.

Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.

ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:

Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.