Reducing Fever Naturally Through Diet, Supplements, and Natural Activities 

Colds are caused by viruses and usually cause a sore throat and nasal congestion; some may cough, sneeze and have body aches and tiredness. There may be a slight fever, but usually not. 

A bacterial infection almost always causes fevers. 

Although having a fever does not differentiate between viral and bacterial infections, a high fever is usually associated with severe bacterial disease.

During fever, your body experiences a rise in body temperature to eliminate the virus or bacteria that caused the infection. 

Mild fevers, often with the common cold, may be allowed to run their course and do their job. After all, treating a fever will not stop the cause of the fever but will only keep your body temperature down. 

Fever is the body’s natural response to infection as it enhances the body’s immunity against infection. It kills the pathogen as they cannot survive at high temperatures. Therefore, oftentimes you do not want to interfere with this process. You also don’t want to take fever-reducing medications, which stop the natural healing process and can cause adverse reactions and negatively affect the outcome of the illness. Excessive use of these medications can also worsen other conditions and dehydration.

However, high fevers that are 40 °C (105 °F) or above can cause serious damage to the body. These are often associated with pneumonia, tuberculosis, intestinal infection, influenza A viral infections, meningitis, severe urinary tract infection, and adenovirus infection. And some people with extremely high fevers can have seizures. In such cases, do take fever-reducing medications and consult with a doctor.

Here are natural ways to reduce fever and help your body heal naturally through diet, supplements, and natural activities:

1. Intermittent fasting

Have you ever heard the saying, “feed a cold, starve a fever”? The adage has been around for hundreds of years, confusing people on how they should handle a fever. Apparently, it is correct.

Although you may have a normal appetite during colds, actually eating foods rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and phytochemicals will help you heal faster by promoting cell-mediated immunity [1-2]; this is not the case with fever. Starving the fever is a way to tilt the immune system toward an antibody (specific) immune response. [3-4]

Research from the Laboratory for Experimental Internal Medicine in the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, found that nutrient availability acutely modulates the immune response. They found that there was increased antibody response five hours after food intake. [5] 

Therefore, it is wise to take a short break from eating if suffering from fever, unless the fever is in breastfeeding babies. In this case, breastfeeding should continue when the baby requests, even though the baby may not consume as much breast milk as usual. Otherwise, intermittent fasting for 6.5 hours at a time was found beneficial for reducing fever and healing from infection. 

However, this should not be done in malnourished individuals as this will drastically worsen their condition and lead to hypothermia which may have severe consequences. 

2. Drink plenty of water 

When you have a fever, your body naturally loses fluids as it attempts to lower its temperature. And if you’re not replenishing your fluids while sweating with fever, you may become dehydrated. Severe dehydration makes it hard for your body to maintain normal body temperature and immune function. Dehydration can return fever-like symptoms. Therefore you want to stop the cycle by ensuring you stay hydrated when you have a fever. You can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at times to your water. See the chapter on hydration for more guidance on how to get sufficient fluids for your body according to your weight.

3. Have a bowl of hot soup 

Every seven hours during the first day of fever, you may consume some soup, especially a minestrone and a lentil and quinoa soup, in small portions. If fever persists past three days, visit a doctor. Making these soups is a lengthy and loving process, providing a wealth of nutrients and electrolytes from the vegetables, including potassium, sodium, and magnesium. The broth also serves as a hydrating liquid that helps replenish lost fluids and lost energy. [6] If you add spices such as pepper and capsaicin, you will also improve circulation.

4. Take a sponge bath

A study recognized cold water sponging is an effective method for reducing high body temperatures caused by fever. The research revealed that a cold-water sponge bath could bring down high fever within 30 minutes and was more effective than paracetamol. [7] The sponge bath is done in a shower while using a sponge or towel filled with cold water to sponge specific body areas. The focus of the sponge bath should be on high-heat areas of the body, such as the groin, forehead, chest, groin area, wrists, and armpits. If you do not care for a sponge bath but prefer to submerge in a bathtub, go for lukewarm water instead of cold water used for the sponge bath.

To conclude

Fever is almost always a sign that your body is coping with an infection. If you limit food intake intermittently with hot soup while drinking sufficient water in between meals, your body will overcome the onslaught, and you will feel better in a matter of hours or days. If you have no improvement after two days, I recommend visiting a doctor for a complete examination and blood tests.

All references are found at this link: I keep this list updated. 

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Dr. Galit Goldfarb


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