Feeling Warm? When to Let Your Body Fight a Fever On Its Own



Is it getting hot in here to you? Did you turn up the heat? Or is this a fever coming on? Before you reach for the thermometer and then follow with the aspirin, you may want to allow your body to do its work. That fever? It can be your body's way of fighting an invader - whether that is a flu or other virus or even an infection.

When the mercury is heading north, suppressing a fever is not always the right call, as the fever can kill the bacteria and virus on its own. Although tempting, that aspirin or Motrin you just popped may just get in the way of the fight. However, and this is important, high fevers can be dangerous - especially for small children.






When to Call the M.D.

There are many times when you should consult the pros when a fever starts. Always listen to your intuition and give the doc a call if you have that nagging feeling something is not right. Do this especially if a fever is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms like a stiff neck, listlessness, intense headache, skin rash or respiratory distress.  Here are some other times as well:


  • An infant is under three months and has a fever over 100.4 or exhibits any serious symptoms.
  • A child has a fever over 104 as this can indicate a more serious infection. 
  • A child has a fever for more than two consecutive days.
  • An infant between 3 and 6 months old has a fever of 101.5 F or more.
  • An older child has a fever of 103 degrees or higher.
  • Signs of dehydration are evident.
Remember, do not treat fevers with aspirin if under the age of 19. This could trigger a potentially fatal disease called Reye’s syndrome.



When To Not Treat a Fever

Got a fever under 102 degrees? Generally speaking, for adults, if the fever does not exceed 101 or maybe even 102 degrees, let the fever run its course. In fact, although you may be feeling awful that fever is positive evidence of an active immune system. It helps the body to fight infection and eliminate toxins. An American Academy of Pediatrics study says you may get better faster, too. Here is a great chart from the Mayo Clinic for other temperature and medication guidelines.



Tips to Withstand the Heat

Going to sweat it out without the drugs, but, still really uncomfortable? Try these tips to bear the heat before the break:
  • Drink as much water as you can in order to replace fluid loss - 8-10 glasses of water. It will also help to bring down the body temperature. Sucking on ice and Popsicles counts too!
  • Rest as much as possible. Your body is working extra hard and give it the supportive rest it needs
  • Drink hot, ginger tea, which induces sweating helping the detoxing process along.  Grate a half teaspoon fresh ginger in 1 cup boiled water that has sit for a minute or two to cool a bit. Strain, then drink. Adding fresh lemon juice and raw honey are great detoxifiers to add as well. 


  • Take a bath in lukewarm water to bring the body temperature down. Skip the cold shower or bath as that sends blood rushing to your internal organs warming your interior instead of cooling it.  If a bath is too much to consider, give yourself a sponge bath to cool off.
  • Place cold, damp washcloths on your forehead and the back of your neck. So great for headaches, too.
  • Cold or frozen grapes provide hydration and taste great.

thermometer: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/1803439079/">Leo Reynolds</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

faucet: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/daddy0h/2656418750/">Daddy0h</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

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