Why I Don’t Reduce A Fever- And What I do Instead

Why I dont reduce a fever and what I do instead natural ways to speed illness recovory greatinfo Why I Dont Reduce A Fever  And What I do Instead

With school just getting started, and the increased incidence of illness in the cooler months, I’ve gotten several emails and Facebook questions lately about natural ways to bring down a fever, especially in young children. My personal solution is somewhat unconventional, but it has helped my family fight illness more quickly and usually prevent recurring infection… Here’s what we do:

[Note: I am not a doctor, nurse or medical professional and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises]

What Causes A Fever?

Fever is a natural response to infection or illness. Many illnesses thrive at normal body temperature, and a fever (even a high one) is a good indication that the immune system is functioning to ward off the infection. In fact, a fever is a good sign as it means that the body is responding to fight the infection, and in most cases it is part of a natural bodily response that should be allowed to continue.

Fever can be caused by bacterial or viral illness, or in rare cases by poisoning, heat stroke, environmental toxins, or a malfunctioning hypothalamus. For the majority of us, fever is caused by a simple infection (most often a virus) and will fade on its own as the body heals. In fact, in most cases, a fever less than 103 will not cause brain damage, and a fever stemming from an infection will usually not go above this unless other factors (hot environment, etc.) are present. In many cases, those who suffer brain damage or other problems from an illness suffer this from the illness itself, not the fever. Even Medicine Plus, as service of the Natural Institutes of Health and U.S. Library of Natural Medicine states that a fever less than 107 is unlikely to cause brain damage or other problems unless accompanied by more serious symptoms (though I don’t like letting them go this high and have never had a child with a fever anywhere near this high).

Even fevers high enough to cause Febrile Seizures do not indicate a severe problem in themselves: From this article: “However, most febrile seizures are over quickly, do not mean your child has epilepsy, and do not cause any permanent harm.”  I highly recommend the book How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor for a more detailed explanation about the benefits of a fever and why reducing it can be harmful.

If one of my family members has a fever less than 103-104 degrees that I know is not the result of poisoning, severe bacterial infection, heat stroke, or toxins, I personally find it best to wait it out, monitor symptoms and take measures to make the person more comfortable. This is my personal preference in this situation, and while I’ve never found temperatures at this point or lower to be harmful, it is always important to do your own research and talk to a medical professional if you feel the situation warrants it. In my experience, the majority of fevers from illness hover in the 101-103 range and are an effective part of the body’s response to illness.

Why Reducing A Fever Can Be Counterproductive

There are several reasons it is better not to reduce a fever. Since fever is part of the body’s natural way of fighting illness or infection, reducing the fever can actually make the illness last longer, as it lets the cause of the illness live for a longer time.

Additionally, most conventional methods of lowering a fever can do more harm than good. Tylenol and Advil (the two medications most often given to children to reduce fever) both have side effects and cause liver failure in adults and children each year, especially when given regularly. Medications are also foreign substances in the body, which must be metabolized and filtered by the body and this takes energy the body could be using to fight the illness.

While a fever can be uncomfortable, it is possible to comfort the person who is ill without reducing the fever. Often, the medications that reduce fever also get rid of body aches or uncomfortable symptoms, so the two are thought to go hand in hand. While certainly, medical intervention and medicine are absolutely warranted at times, they aren’t my first line of defense for most fevers.

When Medical Care is Critical

In the majority of cases, a fever is a natural healthy response that should be allowed to run its course. There are exceptions and in these cases it is important to seek medical care and make sure there is not a more serious problem. While I personally let the majority of illnesses run their course in our home, I don’t hesitate to seek medical help immediately if the situation warrants it.

In general, these are the times I seek medical care for a fever, but a parent’s intuition/research and conversation with your own doctor are important for determining when a fever is serious. I seek help when:

  • A child under three months has a fever over 100.4 or exhibits any serious symptoms
  • A child has a fever over 104 as this can signal a more serious infection or poisoning
  • A child has a fever for more than two consecutive days
  • The ill person has other symptoms like stiff neck, listlessness, or sensitivity to light
  • The person is unable to hold down food for more than a few hours or shows any signs of dehydration
  • Person exhibits any sign of respiratory distress (Seek immediate help)
  • Person has been exposed to toxins or poisons that may have caused the fever
  • My mother’s intuition says there is something more serious going on, even if the child appears fine

What I Do Instead

While I don’t use conventional methods of treating illness, I’m also not in favor of letting an ill person suffer any more than is necessary. Fortunately, there are some easy, natural ways to comfort the afflicted without drugs or medicine. For most illnesses, this is my protocol:

  • Lots of fluids to ward of dehydration and help the body flush the illness. We stick to water, herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, or catnip.
  • Double doses of Fermented Cod Liver Oil, which seems to greatly reduce the duration of the illness and also gives the ill person important immune boosting nutrients. We use capsules for adults and gel for kids who can’t swallow pills. I also give this daily to all family members to help boost immune function so the body is ready to handle illness more quickly.
  • Probiotics- You’ve probably heard the saying “All disease begins in the gut” and I give probiotics to support immune and gut health. We take these all the time, but especially during illness.
  • Homemade elderberry syrup to boost immune function and make the ill person more comfortable. Here’s a recipe to make your own much less expensively than store bought options.
  • Lots of bone broth and homemade soups to nourish and provide nutrients that aid in healing.
  • Small doses of coconut oil mixed in to food or smoothies for its antibacterial and antiviral properties.
  • We do warm baths with epsom salts or magnesium and a sprinkle of powdered ginger to help alleviate muscle aches. Peppermint tea also works for head/muscle aches associated with an illness.
  • If the person is achy or having trouble resting comfortably, I’ll sometimes give a natural sleep tincture or chamomile tincture to help soothe achy muscles and promote relaxing sleep.

TIP: I highly recommend printing out a version of this and keeping in on hand in a cabinet with the remedies in case you become ill. While I am prepared to help a family member who doesn’t feel well, I’m often not the best at remembering to do these things myself sick. This way, my husband can help me remember to do these things when I’m under the weather.

What do you do when a family member is sick? Have any natural tips or tricks? Share them below!

Reader Comments

    • says

      Depending on how it is made, it can be and fermented foods can also be a good addition. I still keep the probiotics on hand though for during pregnancy since gut bacteria is so important, and during illness when we don’t feel like eating. My kids will actually chew the capsules of the one I linked to above.

  1. Christine says

    I share this view completely. Help your body get rid of the cause; don’t just smooth over symptoms! The last few times my husband or I had a fever, we bundled ourselves up — blankets, heater, herbal tea, sweatpants, socks, the whole shebang — till hot and sweaty, and then just tried to sleep as much as possible. Helping the fever along broke it sooner, and we always woke up the same night with sweet relief . Of course, since going paleo, this never happens to me anymore. But I’ve recently gotten pregnant and have fallen off the wagon. I’m hoping a summer of crackers and bagels doesn’t set me back too far for another illness-free fall and winter!

  2. Sara Pratt says

    Thank you!!
    My little pie (14mo) had a fever and I wasn’t concerned about it, but the screaming that came with it alarmed me and I sensed pain. I’ll keep these strategies at hand, although I hope it’s never repeated!

    What about vitamin C? Do you take it? Is it overrated? Thanks :)

  3. says

    Several years ago I started upping my water intake during illness, and I discovered that the illnesses went away much more quickly without much fever. I was still a bit uncomfortable, but the fever was much less than it usually was and the illness (a sinusitis/croup thing that takes away my voice when I contract it) cleared up much more quickly than I would have without the water intake. I’m going to try the elderberry syrup and the cod liver oil this winter and see if I can prevent the little colds I occasionally come down with!

  4. Janknitz says

    Personally, as a fever gets over 102, it’s quite painful, so I will give my child something OTC to relieve the discomfort if it’s getting above that level. But I don’t give anything for a fever 102 or below. My daughter spiked a 104 fever last week, and it was frightening because she was agitated and irrational–she has mild neurological issues and this happens when she has fevers, but fortunately she is rarely ill. I definitely want to bring fevers like that down!
    Warm baths (not cold) below the level of the fever can help bring a fever down a little and help your child relax. I use a thermometer to measure the water temperature to make sure it’s not too warm or cold.
    I have the same approach to colds–I think the sneezing, coughing, and low grade fever are your body doing the job it was designed to do and I don’t try to interfere other than simple comfort measures like warm tea and broth, saltwater gargling, and 100% saline nasal rinses.

  5. says

    I am an R.N. and I have quite a bit of experience working in the Emergency room and ICU…I am also quite holistic in my own personal approach to life and health. I’ve four homebirths and treat a variety of ailments with herbs, tinctures, and good food, but this article leaves me with some very serious concerns.

    In my 20 years of experience working as a registered nurse I have NEVER heard of ANYONE endorsing doing little to nothing about a fever above 104, ESPECIALLY in a child. AND the only people I’ve treated with fevers in the range of 105-107 (and yes, I’ve seen both of these numbers) died. I think it’s dangerous, especially in the case of kids to ignore high fevers. High fevers like that usually indicate something much more serious is going on.

    I really believe in the general theory…let your body work itself out, but that majority of the article left me with some real concerns.

    • Andrea says

      My then1 year old son had a temperature of 105.4, I rushed him to the hospital and they just sent us home, told me to give him a bath at home. I thought that with it being so high that they would keep us or make a bigger deal about it, but they didn’t seem all that worried.. That has happened again since then, and every time it was the same… Or antibiotics were given. They never once told me his fever was so high that he could have died.

      • says

        Sweetheart, I am not saying that many fevers, esp. in children, are not benign, rather, I am saying that when you have 17,000 facebook followers and you post an article (that has now been edited) that downplays the potential danger and significance of high fevers it is irresponsible.

      • Deborah says

        My child’s fever went to 105 also when she was little, and I was told to take a cloth with rubbing alcohol and continue to wash her feet with it; it was to bring her temperature down one degree. I did this and it worked. Then my husband and I took her to the hospital and they gave her a shot and she got better. I hope this helps.

    • Sunny says

      I suffered with a fever of over 105 from strep throat (which I ended up getting antibiotics for- much to my dismay), and made it through all right. My oldest son also suffered from a fever of over 105 due to a viral throat infection- 10 years ago. Not saying that I agree/disagree with anything/everything the author says, but maybe “the only people I’ve treat with fevers in the range of 105-107 die” is a bit of an exaggeration?

      • Heather Beeler says

        she said in HER experience the two times she saw those numbers the people who had them died…she did NOT say that if you have a fever of 105 or 107 you are going to die…

    • erin says

      I had the flu a few years back and my fever reached nearly 106. I had to crawl on the floor to get to the phone as i was very dizzy. The hospital stated that it was a very bad flu that was going around. Take a lukewarm bath and Tylenol and re take my temperature again. I did just that and within an hour or so the fever began to go down. I did not die… nor did the hospital believe I would die. I also did not suffer from any other side effects from the fever.

    • Manda says

      You must have read something in the article that I didn’t, cause I don’t see her endorsing people to not do anything for a fever 105 or more.

    • Riley says

      Well Mary, the reason this article left you with some real concerns is because unlike the writer, you have sense. The OP suggests using your ‘parents intuition’ to gauge the seriousness of the fever. What a wacko….

      • christina-lyn says

        I have 3 boys, one is 15, one is 9 and one is 1 and so far MY mothers intuition has been right 100%. If you are a mom and you don’t have it, then I feel bad for you. I had a friend that didn’t have it either. And guess what? She was a wacko…hmmm makes me think. She also said if a fever is over 103-104 you may want to be seen by your Dr. … I read something earlier on Dr Sears site (from the show the Doctors) and he said the same thing. If its under or at that range, no need to rush to the doctors. And theres no need to bash her and call her a wacko because you have a difference of opinion. That just makes you RUDE and IGNORANT, just sayin

        • Ashley says

          I know a woman who doesn’t have the mother’s intuition. She had to give her baby away because she literally can not love children even her own… yet mother’s who have “feelings” are the wackos. pfft. I know when something is wrong with my child. Right not he has a fever of 102 but he’s alright. He’s breathing good and feeling well enough to tell me to go away. A mother knows her child…that is not wacko. When you live with someone for so many years (plus the 9 months that person not only lived with you but inside you) you know when something is wrong. I was told when I was pregnant if I ever get a feeling of “doom” to rush to the hospital no matter what…because doctors, good doctors, believe in “feelings” too and even if occasionally the feeling is wrong it’s always better safe than sorry.

    • Katherine says

      A) The blogger states in the article to seek medical attention for fevers over 104.

      B) I am also an ER nurse and we routinely see kids with fevers around 105…none have died.

      C) Fevers are not the problem. They are an indication of something else. Sometimes that something else needs to be investigated and sometimes…it’s just a virus and the fever is going to help kill the virus.

      As mothers we should let the fever stay…keeping in mind our kids comfort.

  6. Lisa O. says

    This is a great . Every time someone gets sick in our house, I have to try and remember all of these natural remedies that were taught to me, instead of panicking and rushing to the doctor, which can be a difficult switch if you grew up with the other, I’m sure many can relate. Anyhow, having 3 kids, we’ve never seen a fever over 104, and when we feel that the child needs to be seen, we usually go to the doc and make sure it’s nothing serious. Most of the time it has been due to a virus, and there’s nothing that they can do for that, so having this information, which I’m sure your regular doctor isn’t going to recommend is an awesome reference. I have always wanted a natural way to make my family feel more comfortable without reducing a mild fever with Ibuprophen. We have been to the ER before, told we had a virus, but were offered antibiotics, “just in case” something bacterial came up. After seeing a Naturopath, we realized most of the times we caught a virus, or so we thought, the fever was the bodies reaction due to food sensitivities (dairy and many others). Well, I’m glad to have found your blog :)

    • Tabitha Teeter says

      Same here. We also have three kids. I occasionally use OTC for my son bc he is so miserable at 102-103. My youngest goes to 104 for 2-3 hours and then it’s over.

      I get the RN commenter’s concern, but I think the moms who read this blog are probably very aware of their kids responses to pain, skin issues and even elimination. My youngest could only sign so I we took the extra step of visiting the dr bc I wasn’t sure if she had a UTI. My son gets clingy but doesn’t cry even with a double ear infection. (we’ve since eliminated some foods from his diet and he hasn’t had one in two years AND we know clingy means probable ear issue for him)

  7. Rinheenan says

    This is very interesting. My daughter is autistic and she has always run a little hot. When she has a fever she becomes more lucid, conversation is easier and she is more coherent. I’ve always thought this was because the fever was burning whatever is blocking her. Something to think about…

    • Crystal V says

      You know what, my daughter is autistic and she has always run a little hot as well. her normal temp it 37.9. And when she doe shave a fever ( she just got over the flu this weekend and her fever went up to 102.6) she is more coherent as well and easier to talk to. Weird.

      • Anna Tennis says

        Wow, so curious. This is really intriguing. Neither of my kids is autistic, but one of my cousins is. I wonder, if, when their fever is up, if you could ask them what it is they’re experiencing that makes it easier for them to communicate. I wonder if Oliver Sacks has anything to say on the subject.

  8. Amanda says

    Peppermint essential oil on the feet work every time …lots of fluids.. Especially Coconut water… And fruit when my daughter is sick. Hasn’t been since 3.5 and she’ll be 6 in October . I know it’s not luck but the times in which I let her body heal on its own as well as the fact we juice and her diet is much better than the normal six year old diet.

  9. Jennifer says

    I am surprised echinacea was not mentioned. I can personally vouch for it’s healing capabilities. When I was sick with strep throat and no other alternative remedies worked Echinacea came to the rescue. When my toddler had a urinary tract infection, with a fever for over a week, not eating but nursing, she would puke if we tried to give her echinacea. I took it instead so she could get it through my milk and it cleared it up. Two instances when antibiotics are routinely given but were avoided with echinacea. Make sure it has augustifolia not just purpurea echinacea and make sure you take it a lot if you are fighting infection. I took it every hour for the strep throat.

    • Hillary says

      Strep throat NEEDS to be treated with antibiotics or the bacteria will go to your heart and eat away at your valve. This is the cause of rheumatic heart disease. Very serious condition that could be prevented if people would just take the simple penicillin for strep pyrogenes. Just saying, sometimes antibiotics are definitely warranted.

      Also, I completely agree with everyone about not necessarily decreasing a low grade fever (100.4-103) if it’s not necessary. If you or your child has a temperature but are able to hold down fluids, then there’s no real need to decrease the temp. I tell my patients that some kids run around with a temp of 104, but you would never know it because they are acting fine and dandy. Then there are some kids that look like death and they don’t even have a legit fever, just a temp of 99.9, but those kids need to be treated because they can get dehydrated very quickly. Okay, I’m stepping off of my soap box now. :)

      • Tricia says

        I got rid of strep throat by immune boosters and Echinacea and Goldenseal. Your body has an unbelievable system for fighting disease: your immune system. When you work with it not against it you’d be amazed what it can do.

  10. says

    In theory, I agree with you. I don’t give my kids Motrin or Tylenol, but 102 is also about the extent of my comfort zone. Fortunately, there are wonderful natural plant-based remedies that can be used to reduce fever and kill viruses, so I don’t need to give my kiddos OTCs. I make Tea Baths with Herbs and Essential Oils. I use medicinal grade essential oils (not aromatic oils – big difference) which can be used internally as a supplement. Therefore, they get the oils internally and topically. One study out of University of Oklahoma suggested certain oils (like a blend of Cinnamon, Clove, Orange, Eucalyptus, Rosemary) were 90% effective in stopping the replication of the Human Flu virus. So, if there is something natural that can stop the virus from replicating, you shouldn’t have to suffer through it. I’ve also found Peppermint and Eucalyptus to be very effective in reducing fevers – at least a couple degrees – which can usually keep most kids well clear of the danger zone. For stubborn fevers, I’ll add lemon with Peppermint. I love that God has placed all of the medicine we need in the earth, if we’ll just slow down a bit to learn and use the tools He has given us. Unfortunately, most people want the quick solution that quiets the symptom, instead of meeting the body’s needs so the body can heal itself. Love this quote: “Drugs never cure disease, they merely hush the voice of nature’s protest and pull down the danger signals she erects along the pathway of transgression. Any poison taken into the system must be reckoned with later on even thought it palliates the present symptoms. Pain may disappear, but the patient is left in a worse condition, though unconscious of it at the time.” Daniel H. Kress, M.D.

  11. says

    Great article!

    We all have our comfort levels and it can be tricky to know if there is something more serious going on or not. I think if there is any question about the seriousness of it and/or other symptoms, a call to the doctor is warranted.

    My son just had a fever this past week and this is what I did:

    Belladonna Homeopathic tablets- these are for inflammation and fever. I find it helps to take the “edge” off of the discomfort, while not greatly reducing the fever.

    Catnip, spearming, elder flower- both as a tea and for compresses.

    Elderberry elixir- similar to your recipe but easier- basically a mix of elderberry tincture and honey. Honey itself is great for all types of infections and so soothing and nutritive.

    Spearmint essential oil in a base of almond oil applied to the soles of the feet- cooling, comforting and refreshing.

    Chicken noodle soup and pure water

    He really only had the temp of 103 for 1 day and the next day (after all of the above) was down to 100 and his behavior was back to normal. I’m pretty sure he caught something off of a friends child, and she ended up being sick for much longer without the natural therapies.

    • Emily says

      Interesting that you’ll use belladonna (with lots of side effects and not regulated in homeopathic treatments) on a child and not tylenol or motrin! Seems much more dangerous to me…

      • says

        I agree with you, I should have been more specific on this. I was actually referring to the trend among some people I know to give both or alternate to bring down the fever faster, which is even more dangerous.

      • says

        It’s homeopathic Belladonna! Homeopathic medicine is energetic in nature; the actual amount of the plant is miniscule- not even measurable on a chemical scale. I’m sorry you are under the impression that homeopathic Belladonna is dangerous; the plant itself certainly is, but not the homeopathic preparation.

        Additionally, I never stated that I wouldn’t use conventional medicines. I do nothing first, then move to the least harmful/most gentle support for the body. If my child continued to have a high fever, I would use medication at some point.

        • Clina says

          If it’s not even measurable on a chemical scale you may as well just be drinking water. It won’t be doing anything noticeable.

          • Kylie Evans says

            I use homeopathic belladona on my child since he was 2 and he is 7 now. Its has worked every time. Never had to use conventional medicine. It doesnt take fever away but reduces it enough for them to be comfortable.

      • Barbour says

        I agree. I’m seeing children suffering with to high of fever do to this natural homeopathic stuff. Need to make sure parents know up to 103 can be dangerous and your child miserable. You want them to feel better soon. At least use Tylenol or advil keep that fever down. These holistic natural medicine site have caused my daughter to be a fanatic. She thinks she can cure all now and not use an dr or Tylenol. Caused my granddaughter to suffer with unnecessary high fever . Please some tell them this is not a cure all and one or two dose of Tylenol to keep the fever down is not going to poison them for life.

        • jay says

          Postmodern thinking is the culprit. Everybody’s opinion is just as valid as reproducible, confirmable data and “science” is bad. Try the opinion that red is green and see how far down the road you can drive.

  12. Rachel Herriott says

    I do and always have done, treated fevers exactly as you do! Thank goodness someone else has the same understanding of the human body. I believe in the long term this makes for a much healthier person in general. Keep up the good work. It works every time and my children are now 18 and 14 and I have never brought a fever down yet – they are now incredibly healthy and robust :)

  13. Jackie says

    I just want to note that just because it’s “natural,” that does not necessarily make it good for you. Tobacco and arsenic are both “natural.” Many supplements and stuff have not been studied in children and have no oversight as far as packaging and purity- they also still get metabolized just like the big bad OTCs.

    OTCs have been studied, have a ton of oversight, and when used correctly rarely cause problems. I’m a fan of letting the fever run it course also, but I don’t want OTCs to be ignored when they are needed.

  14. says

    At the first sign of a fever we put some apple cider vinegar on some cotton balls and in the socks they go. ACV helps to pull the fever down from the head, where it is dangerous, but lets it do it’s work. I will let it go to about 103 before I resort to motrin. I’ve rarely had to do that in the past 8 years with 4 kids.

    • Leslie says

      I will have to try this one! We treat naturally & we rarely have illnesses around here (4 kids between 2 &12!). We use ACV for sunburns, eczema, I use it for toner, conditioner, detangler & many other things. ACV & coconut oil are absolutely amazing stuff!

  15. says

    Anything over 104 gets a bit dodgy for me. My daughter had a fever of over 106 when she was just about 4 and it was possibly one of the scariest times of my life. The nurse took the temp with two different thermometers to make sure the thermometer was not malfunctioning. DD was hallucinating and incoherent. She also had at least one febrile seizure. Even once the fever was reduced, she was still “out of it” for the rest of the night. We were kept over night at the hospital. She was sick for almost a month afterwards. She had some hearing damage from the high fever. It was “just the flu”.

    I almost always try for the natural route, but I do not fool around when it comes to fevers now. I try the mechanical methods of cooling like, cool compresses and baths, but I’m not adverse to using pharmaceuticals to help.

    • Michelle says

      I feel the same way. A couple years ago my daughter was running a high temp 103. I called the after hours dr. and she said to keep with my cooling methods and keep an eye on her, but kids can go up to almost 107 with a fever and still be okay. I thought that was pretty high, but since this was from the dr. I trusted the advice. An hour later, my daughter had a febrile seizure! Scariest thing I’ve ever experienced! I never want to go through that again!! Since then, anything close to 102 I start medicating with OTC. I love to learn about natural remedies, and will use them, but I still have to do what I feel most comfortable with. That day has me traumatized!

  16. Zara says

    Thank you for this post, I read this yesterday and then last night, my son woke up with a bad headache and a fever. I put him in some cooler pj’s, turned his fan on low and gave him a thinner blanket to bring his temp down. After about 4 hours he was still waking up crying so I put a cool wet washer on the back of his neck and gave him some Dr. Brauer Homeopthic Pain and Fever Relief. Basically, i’m wondering if giving him that would have the same negative effect on a fever that the panadol and nuerofen would?

  17. emfull says

    Just a correction… Tylenol/Acetaminophen and Advil/Ibuprofen are COMPLETELY different- they have different mechanisms of action and are metabolized in different places in the body. Advil is excreted by the kidneys, tylenol by the liver… so the statement ” Tylenol and Advil … are both leading causes of liver failure in adults and children” is incorrect- only tylenol would be capable of producing liver failure. One of the major problems is that people don’t pay attention to dosing or frequency (especially in children since it’s weight dependent), they feel bad so they take more or take it chronically, or use multi-symptom products that have extra acetaminophen in at but don’t pay attention and give their kids additional doses of the same medicine.

    Febrile seizures are not a result of the height of fever, but rather how quickly the temperature rises. I’ve taken care of kids who had a febrile seizure at 101.

    But I agree with the general idea, fever means you have an immune system and it’s working!

  18. Gran says

    I couldn’t believe what I was reading here. A fever can be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS if left to run it’s course! Fever means something wrong and that something needs to be diagnosed by a doctor. My son had a high fever and I did just what you do, let it run. Except that he had a severe ear infection and his eardrums BOTH burst and never repaired themselves. He then grew up DEAF with hearing aids because I listened to the same advice you are dishing out.
    Also last year I had a fever and soldiered on, eventually ending up in hospital with multiple organ failure and doctors telling me it was the fever which caused it!. People died years ago doing what you do until doctors realised the fever needed COOLING not breaking. This is very dangerous advice. Sorry but that is how I feel.

    • says

      Certainly you are entitled to your opinion, and I I said above, there are definitely times when medical attention is necessary, but a fever is a sign that the body is fighting an infection. Yes, something is wrong, but a lot of times, the body is capable of handling it. There is also a lot of mis-information about what actually causes the problem. For instance, it was the ear infection, not the fever itself, that caused your son’s eardrums to burst. If a fever gets to dangerous levels or if the person is already immuno-comprimised, it does need to be lowered, but my point was that the majority of fevers for children are a sign of the body’s natural response and don’t need to be hit with fever reducing drugs (which have their own share of problems), antibiotics (which diminish gut bacteria) and other medication unless they reach a certain point.

      • geekyrn says

        Yes, the ear infection caused the eardrums to burst, but the fever is a key symptom of an ear infection. I have to agree with “Granny P”. Your advice is dangerous. You should not be giving out any sort of medical advice if you don’t have the degree to back it up.

        Source: I’m a nurse.

        • says

          Her advice is not dangerous; it is sound. Why don’t you look up the statistics on how often people die from the suggested use of their medications (especially including OTC ones) compared with how often natural fevers injure, maim, or kill. Reducing the temperature of a fever only prolongs the infection; your body knows what it’s doing. She does qualify her statements by mentioning to keep an eye out for more dangerous symptoms and then to contact your physician such as temperature maximums and signs of other more serious distresses. I know the statistics and I know the human body and what she is saying has immense merit and I personally preach this to all of my patients.

          Source: I’m a doctor.

        • Rachel says

          They should’ve taught you in nursing school (i just graduated from an RN program myself) that fevers ARE beneficial and the body’s natural defense against microbes (who prefer the stable “normal” body temperature to survive). A rise in temperature = death to the microbe.

          An she is dead on about the ear infection example. The infection in the ear caused the tympanic membrane to burst, not the fever that was the result of the infection.

        • Mini says

          Interesting thought EXCEPT if the fever were brought down with a pain reliever…..no one would have noticed the pain in the ears and the drums would have still burst. So the fever was a symptom but many times we run a fever over a cold or a virus….I hate hospitals and would never want to be there every other week with a sick kid or grand kid or whatever just because of a fever. MOST of the time it is viral and will pass. I DO treat fevers if over 102.5 or in a family member that is prone to high ones (even normal colds and flu viruses)….105 and climbing…..ugh! Mostly because of severe headaches, vomiting at about 104 which leads to dehydration….yes I have a daughter like this that makes me very nervous but the other 4 kids, my husband and I, all typically let the fever go until we begin to feel sick. If we can’t keep fluid down, we can’t stay hydrated. THAT is an even bigger problem. Balance is the key and a healthy immune system to start with is better than most forms of intervention. Granny P, why did they say your organs were failing? What caused the fever? How high was it? Just curious ;o)

      • Pete says

        This article is flawed. In children, many of the bacterial infections they contract will not be able to be fought off easily/well with their own immune system. That’s why just riding out the fever and “letting the body heal itself” is not always the correct plan. If they have a sinus or ear infection, it is better to take antibiotics than to let the child suffer through pain and agonizing symptoms. However, if it’s viral then antibiotics do not help and doctors can’t help with viruses.
        To further confound this issue, many parents don’t vaccinate their children today which is completely ridiculous and putting their lives at risk (Hib, Measles, Neiserria meningitis can kill). Therefore they can contract lethal bacterial infections, and the mother could have no idea and her “herbs” and supplements wouldn’t work.

        • Joy says

          To my knowledge, the vaccines we have today are not for “lethal bacterial infections”—they’re for viruses, the majority of which are not lethal illnesses (in a developed country where we have clean water and hygienic living arrangements). So your rant is a tad bit off there, sorry to say.

  19. Stephanie says

    A fever of 104 for just 30 mins can cause hearing loss in children. My son is hearing impaired because of a fever of 104.. While I agree with letting a low grade fever run its course, I don’t mess around with anything over 102.

  20. says

    Great post! I’m comfortable letting anything under 105 run its course, provided there is no accompanying lethargy, hallucination, etc. (which no one in my family has ever experienced). My husband once had a fever go to 106, so he went to urgent care, where they just told him he had the flu, and sent him on his way.

    On the rare occassion that I feel a reducer is necessary, we use Herbs for Kids’ Temp Assure.

    Thank you for the tip about peppermint tea for body and headaches. I get terrible body aches with fever, so I will definitely drink that the next time I have a fever!

  21. says

    My daughter knows that if she has a fever she only gets something to break it at night to help her sleep. Now that she is 17, she does this on her own. She knows that the fever is helping to kill whatever bug is making her sick and wants to be better as fast as she can. Thankfully we’ve never had do deal with a serious or scary temp. I think the highest she’s ever had was 103. Since we seriously limit chemical medicine and she was breast-fed, she has a kick butt immune system and is hardly ever ill. We like to eat cold oranges straight from the fridge for vitamin c and I make a yummy chicken noodle for when we’re feeling bad. We also use golden seal for it’s antibacterial properties. Good stuff.

  22. Kimberly Long says

    Please so NOT believe the things you are reading in this. a fever is indication of an infection…. small or big it needs to be treated. do NOT ignore a fever! regardless of age. a fever… at any grade… can cause brain damage, hearing loss, infertility, rash, etc. this person is obviously highly under educated and the “hippie method” as i like to call it is NOT safe!!!

    • Joy says

      “Infection…small or big, it needs to be treated.” Why? Why should I take my child to the doctor with every little fever (even 101), only to have them tell me, “Oh, it’s just a virus. Give them Tylenol.” How is Tylenol helping treat the infection? It’s not. Many infections are viral and cannot be “treated” as you say. All you’re doing with Tylenol is palliating the symptoms. That may help the child feel a bit more comfortable, but it doesn’t treat the cause of the infection. In fact, it suppresses the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
      To say a fever at any grade can cause brain damage, hearing loss, infertility, rash, etc. is scare tactics, plain and simple. A fever of 101 or 102, even 103 (GASP!) is not going to cause brain damage or infertility in an otherwise healthy child. Perhaps in a medically fragile child, I suppose. But parents of those kinds of children know that normal run-of-the-mill illnesses can be quite serious for their children.
      I hate how the medical community thinks it has the corner market on diagnosing and treating illness. As if they are almighty God themselves and no one else has the brains to know when something is serious or when it’s just a little bug. Give educated parents a little credit for having the wherewithal to observe their children and know when they need to be taken in to the doctor. And whether that doctor is an MD, a DO, or an herbalist or homeopath, is their choice.

  23. Wilma says

    What do I do? I give Advil because my kids won’t drink, take natural remedies, eat or do anything else when a fever hits.

    • Joy says

      What about lowering their fever using essential oils rubbed on the bottoms of their feet? Also you can wet some socks with rubbing alcohol (I’ve also heard apple cider vinegar works), then put them on their feet and cover with another pair of socks. This helps draw the fever down to the feet. This might help lower the fever enough so your child would be willing to drink fluids and maybe take an herbal remedy. There are many other home remedies to try for lowering fever, such as a tepid bath or other things, just Google it!

  24. Holly says

    I agree with this post, and dont give meds under 102.but as soon as my kids get sick/fever I also make an appointment with the peds. This way they can check to see if there is something other than a bug (ear infection for example) . They check for these things and that’s why they send some ppl home and others they treat. The key is to get your child seen as soon as u can get them in.

  25. Greta says

    1. Tylenol does not cause liver failure. Look it up in any drug book. It is particularly a very safe drug to give to children. Tylenol works in the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature. If your goal is to decrease a person’s body temperature, it is probably the most direct way of doing so.

    2. Anything that’s eaten must be metabolized, whether it’s Advil, Tylenol, Fermented Cod Liver Oil, or soup broth. If it’s ingested, it must be metabolized. Metabolism uses energy, but the amount of energy used is relatively insignificant in the course of an illness – especially if you’re loading someone’s belly up with all that other stuff you mentioned.

    3. Additionally, a fever increases the body’s basal metabolic rate, so if anything, a medication can be broken down, absorbed, and effective more quickly. That means if you give a febrile person Tylenol, their body should break it down and help the hypothalamus decrease the body’s temperature fairly quickly.

    Understanding these facts helps me see that the benefits of giving an antipyretic medication far outweighs not only the risks of NOT giving it, but it also appears to me to be the best option for getting a fever under control. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on the matter, but people deserve an honest representation of antipyretics.

    • says

      Yes, Tylenol DOES cause liver failure. My husband just spent 3 months in the hospital, 1 month in ICU due to liver failure from TYLENOL! Both Tylenol and Advill are extremely toxic to the liver, even in small doses if they are given regularly over time. We still don’t know if my husband will need a liver transplant, but we do know 100% if he does it is because of the damage Tylenol has done to his body.

      • Sara says

        Does this mean you will be suing the makers of Tylenol very soon…or perhaps joining in on a class-action? One question though…you want us to believe that your husband has been so strict and disciplined with his body that he has never done anything or ingested anything that could contribute to his liver failure? He’s never had hepatitis or did not drink alcohol in his life, never has been diagnosed with any disorders causing his body to store too much iron? If he truly has been that clean with his body and that disciplined, then I highly doubt he would have used Tylenol either. Additionally, acetaminophen has only been shown to contribute to acute liver failure, which is the result of overdose. Studies of prolonged use have not been done to a point that indicates Tylenol as a viable cause of liver failure because of small usage over time. This is an “old-wives” tail. So if his liver did fail, and it was because of Tylenol, then the two of you should take better care of following the dosage instructions before using any type of medication, whether OTC, herbal, or prescription. By the way, many herbal remedies have been shown to be just as dangerous and harmful to the liver and cause acute liver failure as has Tylenol.

    • says

      You sound like you know what you’re talking about, but you are wrong about the tylenol. It’s not the wonder drug that everyone used to think it was. It can cause liver failure, and recent studies have even linked it to autism and asthma in children. http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/OpEdCommentaries/201204160101 & http://www.autismspot.com/blog/Acetaminophen-Use-Autism-You-May-Think-Twice and there have been numerous times I’ve been told by a doctor to limit how much I take due to its effect on the liver. http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm168830.htm

      So you see that it might be YOU who does not understand the facts. :)

      • Hillary says

        Tylenol and Motrin, if used as directed instead of on a regular basis, should not cause liver or kidney failure. However, if you take them on a regular basis, i.e. daily, and/or if you take more than directed, then yes, it definitely can cause liver and kidney failure. But most parents don’t give their children Tylenol and Motrin every single 4-6 hours every single day of their lives. However, adults tend to abuse almost every medication or supplement out there. We tend to never read the actual directions or dosing information and then we end up in a heap of trouble by damaging our bodies. I have patients that take SIX 200 mg Motrins at a time on a regular basis! I get on to them and tell them that they are burning their kidneys up! But just saying that if taken how they are supposed to be taken, then they shouldn’t harm your kidneys or liver.

  26. says

    Girl, the BEST thing for ear infections (ear aches) is garlic oil in the ear overnight, and cover with a cotton ball. 9 times out of 10 it will be healed in the morning. And also if you have a cold in the eye or pink eye (conjunctivitis) I put a drop or two of Colloidal Silver in each eye a few times a day, and 9 times out of 10 it’s cleared up in a day or two. :)

  27. Brianna says

    You may also want to add “if a child has a history of febrile seizures” to the list of reasons you should treat a fever.

    • Joy says

      I have read several different articles that said febrile seizures are generally not harmful to the child, though they may be scary for the parent.

  28. Marie B says

    This is really bad advice! I understand the whole natural remedy thing, but this is extreme! A fever over 102 should always be taken seriously and you should NEVER asume that a child or adult for that matter, having ANY type of seizure isnt in extreme danger! Both myself and my child have had siezures from high fevers, while yes we lived and did’nt suffer any long term affects it is something I never want to experience again. I get frustrated by how extreme one will go to avoid medications the they consider dagerous while putting children at risk. I have heard of people becoming ill after using herbs and vitamins too. While yes we all have our own opinions, advice like this could be ever so much more harmful then the dreaded tylenol and motrin.

  29. Crystal says

    I’m really surprised Chiropractic wasn’t mentioned. I never knew much about it, but got a part time job at an office & the sheer # of kids & infants he sees (& their fever breaks) is simply amazing!

  30. says

    Good article. I see some comments arguing the dangers of high fevers, but you clearly expressed that you are referring to fevers at or below 103, and have a list of “when to seek medical attention” that mentions higher fevers and infants younger than 4 months old. The important thing is to look at the bigger picture rather than one symptom, as a fever alone isn’t the best indicator of how severe the illness will be. I especially appreciate the mention of “mother’s intuition” as that has been my biggest ally when having sick kids. My oldest son was chronically ill as a baby/toddler. He’s almost 7 now and is rarely sick, but back then it wasn’t uncommon for him to have higher than average temps even with minor bugs. I would rush him to the ER in the middle of the night (at the advice of an on call Dr) for temps around 105.7 just to be told “fever not with standing, he looks completely healthy, just let it run it’s course” by the third time that happened, I quit calling, and would just follow up with his Dr over the phone during business hours. He’s never had a febrile sezure, hearing loss, brain damage, etc. This doesn’t mean I ignore the fact that he’s sick. I make him comfortable, encourage sleep, and watch closely for signs of dehydration. I won’t hesitate to take him in if he develops resiratory issues (he has reactive airways), complains of ear pain, or isn’t well within a couple days. But in most cases, those things don’t happen and he doesn’t need any advanced care.

  31. Ashley says

    Just came across this post on Pinterest. Just wanted to share my personal experience. I have 4 year old twins and when they had their first fevers, I of course, gave them Tylenol or Motrin to make them feel better and I’d call their doctor, a couple of times in the middle of the night because high fevers in little ones can be scary.The advice the doctor gave me was not to bring them in unless they presented other symptoms. The doctor also said a high fever is not dangerous unless other symptoms are presented. So now I don’t treat a fever, I just try to keep them as comfortable as possible and let the body do what it was designed to do.

  32. says

    My mother always put a rag that had been wrung out of ice water on our foreheads to keep the head cool but allow the fever to run its course. She would put us in a really warm bath. Often it would break the fever. I do both with my own children and have found that they are sick for a shorter amount of time than when I give them medicine. I also give their immune system a boost with vitamins. I especially like goldenseal/echinacea. I will open the capsules and mix them with honey.

  33. Rachel says

    You have a lot of really good information in this post! I am actually a pediatric advice nurse and fevers are our #1 call topic. One more important thing, that is well worth mentioning is that the behavior of a child at any body temperature is the best indicator of the severity of the illness. Some kids can be completely knocked down at a low 101 or 102. Other kids can be running around like nothing is wrong at 103. This is important for parents to keep in mind when dealing with fevers. If behavior is concerning, always call and check in with your pediatrician’s office despite the body temperature.

  34. Tabetha says

    probably not the best advice but personally whenever im sick or have a fever i put on some thermals (at least to cover up, but nothing so heavy its uncomfortable) and work out like crazy. And yes, ive done this even when I am so sick I feel dizzy just getting out of bed. And essentially sweat it all out. Of course I drink A LOT of water to keep from getting dehydrated. But very single time the sickness/fever goes away within the hour after working out. And then I continue to each/drink foods rich with antibiotics throughout the day. Again, probably not the best advice for most people let alone children but it has worked for me since I was a little girl and continues to work today. My mom also thought that the fever is fighting off the illness so getting rid of it would be a bad idea. The one time I tried cooling my fever down I was sick for a few days instead of just the one. Just food for thought.

  35. Sarah says

    Love this! The last time my husband and I were sick we ‘achieved the fever’!!
    When it broke, I was sooo proud! I have read about enabling the fever through Weston A. Price, Nourishing Traditions and Jordan Ruben.

    And boy does homeopathic and ancestral healing and practices make people mad sometimes! They shouldnt take it out on your site- you have a disclaimer, so people can consider what they want!

    I hope you feel encouraged to keep spreading the word about natural ways, I just stumbled on your site and have bookmarked it.

    Thank you for your facts Wellness Mama!!!!!

  36. Kristen Romanelli says

    I warn all readers about this post. As a pediatrician, I must say that any child under the age of 6 with a fever should be treated and should not be left with a temperature greater than 100.4F. In this population, not only can a low temperature rapidly progress to a much more dangerous temperature, (e.g. one that can cause brain damage) but is linked to febrile seizures. Additionally, as the previous poster said, high fever can be a sign of a dangerous infection, but so can a low one. So any fever above 100.4F should be treated with either tylenol or motrin (motrin is more effective on higher fevers), but the child should see a doctor for adequate care.

  37. says

    A fever means the body is fighting something. It doesn’t mean it is something dangerous. I also do not take my child to doctor for fever. I do vinegar baths and arnica. I also do a mix of teas to flush the body of toxins and then water to hydrate. However, granny p- she is not saying you can’t take them to a doctor. If I try everything with no luck or my children have other symtoms that are not normal then I will take them to the doctor. As for eardrums bursting that could happen at any time and even if you go to the doctor. I have been involved in the deaf community for years and know this first hand. Last if you were having organ failure then you would have had other symtoms besides just a fever. Sorry but i hate when people give natural medicine a bad rap because they didn’t listen to their bodies.

  38. Shav says

    I’m a physician and this article is very concerning. I understand in limiting the use of certain things such as cough medications which often are of no benefit, but please do NOT read this and withhold fever reducers. This is a pretty bogus article.

  39. Megan Yoder says

    My son had a fever 10 months ago (age 3) it got to 103. The book I have and get information from is called, “be your own doctor” and it said: soak 2 washcloths in ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (with the mother) and place one on child’s forehead and the other on his tummy, it will break the fever in a n hour.I tried it… in an hour the fever went down. He was good as new the next day. Praise the Lord. :)

    • Mary says

      I hope you realize you kept him sick longer by reducing the fever, which was his immune system’s natural way of dealing with a virus.

  40. Lori says

    I have a very respected, traditional pediatrician. When I took my first child there in 1982, he educated me on the importance of fever as the body’s natural way of fighting infection. Then and now, this doctor is regularly written up in journals as one of the top 10 pediatricians in our urban area.

    I agree with nearly everything written up. Although I am not a medical professional, what I think here is learned from them in my years as a patient and parent. I would add to the list of times to see the doctor tondo so if your child is clearly in pain (as would be the case if the eardrums are so infected they are at risk of bursting). Also, we generally did choose to medicate at night, both so the chiod and we could get much needed rest and because, if the fever has been on the high side, we would be less able to monitor it at night. But that’s a personal choice, not a requirement.

    Yes tobacco, arsenic, belladona etc are all natural and very toxic. After years of using that quote myself to support the ‘natural doesn’t mean safe’ statement, I am now modifying it. I was given aspirin as a child (which, by the way, is a product that comes from willow bark), but when my kids were youg, aspirin had become unadvisable (Reye’s Syndrome) and we were told to use acetominophen (i.e., Tylenol) instead. Now there are growing concerns about Tylenol. This is true of so many things – one generation thinks they are safe, the next finds out they were not.

    So my new mantra is that while there are plenty of natural toxins to be avoided, natural products in use are often safer because they have beeb around so long humans have

  41. Theresa says

    I was wondering if you could add to the reason to seek medical attention anyone with a pre-existing condition such as cancer. I read through some of the comments and didn’t see that mentioned. But as a patient myself who had to deal with what would be considered a low-grade fever (100.5) while undergoing treatment, a fever at that level is incredibly dangerous. White blood cell counts are significantly lower and the body is not capable of fighting at a normal level. I just feel it’s important to make that distinction.

  42. says

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I thought I was the only one that let a fever ride. I just got over the flu myself after a week and the only time I took any medication it was for the uncomfortable pain in my joints and muscles. Of course it took my fever down and made me sweat uncontrollably, but within hours my fever was back up and I let it run its course. I take a lot of heat, pardon the pun, from a friend of mine who swears I should treat the fever immediately with Tylenol, instead of letting the body do its job. Certainly, if a fever rose up over 39.9 C I would use medication to bring it down and if it went back up immediately, I would have my child seen by a doctor, but by and large, it’s okay to let a fever ride if there are no other symptoms like a severe sore throat (strep), pain in leg (bone infection), etc.

  43. says

    Fantastic resources for treating fever. Ever since I read that fever is the body natural reaction to infection, I have done my best to let the body recuperates on his own with lots of fluid and fruits and vegetables. It may take longer to heal at time … yet it is natural.

    • christina says

      I don’t treat any fever in my daughter until they hit 103 and then I employ
      naturopathic medications to bring it down and even than I dose on the low side since I am only trying to lower not kill the fever. The hate you are getting about this article is a pretty good indication you are correct since it seems to be the good information that gets the medical establishment all up in arms. I hope it doesn’t discourage you from spreading the word about healing ourselves naturally because people truly need the facts set before them. I know , When my daughter contracted mrsa from her doctor’s office, was cut open and basically tortured with nothing for pain for the longest 10 minutes of my life, was than given the wrong antibiotic for it therefore sending it into overdrive and her poor 2 year old system into chaos, had them ignore me when I tried to tell them she was getting worse until their precious 10 days was up at which point they wanted to admit her and prep for surgery ….I well freaked out. I pulled her completely out of mainstream care and we jumped down the rabbit hole of online information together. We surfaced about 6 months ago after a long long year with her 100 percent better (no outbreaks for 6 months and counting) but I have a very different understanding of how hard it is a frantic scared to death parent trying to separate false/dangerous information from the information that could literally save your child’s life. We need trusted sources for information when we are so scared we can barely make sense of what we are trying to read. Feeling like you are all alone with no one to trust and nowhere to turn fighting for your child’s health and/or very life is hands down the worst experience ever. Please don’t hesitate to share what you know…what seems small may be the missing piece in a bigger battle some parent somewhere is fighting and too often is fighting alone.

  44. Sasha Grigsby says

    My son never runs a small fever. For his last ear infection, he ran over 105! He rips a high fever for the smallest of things. What would you recommend?

  45. karla blanco says

    Why do kids get a fever so often. .. in my case my 3 year old gets a fever every month it take a week to go alway

  46. Aj Garcia says

    I’m curious. I am 26 and I was recently diagnosed with mononucleosis (ebv virus). I am currently in the recovery stage as my blood tests indicate that I am not fighting of an infection. Although I feel a little better every day I still get fevers. Nothing that goes over 102, but I’m still a bit worried about the consistency of them. I take Tylenol or Motrin if they start getting close to 102, but I really don’t want to depend on these meds to solve the problem as they can be hard on your liver and or kidneys. Any advice out there?

  47. Rodney Slovakas says

    Well this is a little concerning, especially regarding children. I note that you say “in most cases, a fever less than 103 will not cause brain damage”. In most cases….so what happens if your not most cases, its a bit late if your child does end up with brain damage. Also the casual way in which you refer to Febrile Seizures is a worry as well.
    Now you may say “what do you know”…well I am one who when I get a fever it rises and rises till it either kills me or someone brings it down. So far it has bought me very near death 5 times in my life, the last time being the worst. I start off with a normal fever of around 38-39 degrees, which when its ready spikes into the mid 40’s within an hour. When this happens the onset of delirium accompanies the rise in temp, along with crippling pain and very rapid dehydration.
    Now I know that not everyone is going to react as severely as me but I do feel the need to point out that some do, and if your child is one of them imagine how rat sh!t you will feel afterwards if the child does end up with brain damage, or dead.

  48. Luna says

    Thank you for this
    But I’ve been so sick lately and I don’t know why I haven’t been running a fever or anything! Why?

  49. Hong Doo says

    your info is vastly incorrect and inept much like most of the medical community. a fever is simply caused by heat heating up your body. Active sweating is a sign of rising and extreeme high bloodpressure and fever. You may give yourself one going jogging or doing cardio and check yourself. you may also visit a hot steam room. fevers accelerate weight loss wich causes dehydration symptoms and heat exhaustion.go jogging/biking then check your bodytemps please then bloodpressure.the more weight you loose, the longer you keep your bodytemp high, the worse you will feel when you have verified this excersizing this is happening. fevers cause heat exhaustion/stroke and can lead to hypothermia/coma situations. you may go jogging for 3-4 hours straight and watch what happens to your body. during a fever blood is lost in the form of sweat, water is starved from the body. dehydration symptoms in an illness are animec reactions to loosing blood in the form of sweat from evaporation by heat and sweating. your body can generate and store heat from its environment through friction, blood rubs against arterie walls generating bodyheat increases.

  50. Razel says

    Homeopathic remedies can do wonders for all kind of fevers. I recommend Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants by Dana Ullman.

  51. Paula Holland says

    As from studying in nursing school my text books say different. Seizures and potential brain damage is not something I play with. Although I hate giving my kids tyenol I do only when nothing else works to bring down fevers.

    • Mary says

      Millions of years of evolution of the immune system overrule your textbooks. Fever isn’t a problem unless there’s something else seriously wrong with the body.

  52. Stephanie Warrad says

    I will put peppermint oil mixed in a carrier oil on my children’s feet, forehead and neck after a bath. I also feed them only raw fruit and vegetables during sickness, I heard to do this from Woody Harrelson who follows Dr.Cousen’s.

  53. Jessica Kannel says

    Love your page! I am currently working on a website myself and you are very even with my beliefs on many things! Just thought I would stop in and say hi! :)

  54. Mary says

    I generally agree on letting the immune system do its job. Fever is a good thing, and many pediatricians will even tell you there’s no need for concern until it gets into the 104 – 105 range. But the garbage about “toxins” and natural remedies is a load of crap. The only truly natural method is letting the immune system work the way it’s supposed to. Using goofy herbs and supplements is anything BUT natural.

  55. Morley says

    I can appreciate most of the pointers in this article, however I believe that we should leave the medical advice to the medical professionals.

  56. Dani says

    I have a five year old granddaughter who has survived without vaccinations or ever having taken medication of any kind (including, but not limited to the hepatitis shots that are given AT BIRTH and the erythromycin eye ointment placed in a newborn babies eyes “in case” the mother has an infection). When she has a fever the only thing my granddaughter is given is water – any other substance given (tea with processed honey, etc.) has ALWAYS resulted in immediate regurgitation. When she has an allergic reaction (which, in my own personal experience is not necessarily a reaction to a particular substance but an overload of toxins in the body that comes to a head when a certain capacity is reached) she is given water. I shudder to think of what could happen to her if she were given some hideous otc medication during this urgent yet cleansing crises. Yes, cleansing.
    Most, if not all children get a fever IMMEDIATELY after being innoculated with various quantities of mercury, msg, formaldehyde and a host of other things contained in vaccinations. We read labels on everything in the grocery store (that’s another topic altogether) and yet never question “healthcare professionals” about what’s in the vaccination. The author of this article has explained what a fever is. Ask yourself why your baby gets a fever after given a vaccination at their “wellness” visit to the doctor.
    I take offense to the “healthcare professional” who has said that she never heard anyone say they should “do nothing” in response to a fever. Only someone in the billion dollar “healthcare” industry or someone who has done no research or experimentation (yes, experimentation, what do you thing the “healthcare professionals” are doing to you and your children?) could say this – it’s a natural response in defense of their position. But that’s besides the point. What’s wrong with doing nothing? A fever in itself is not the problem, it’s the cure for the problem. Why do something to hinder it’s work? Drugs, on the other hand are a bandaid solution that never addresses the real issue. If it did, the pharmaceutical companies would go out of business. Know anybody on medication for an illness? I do. It never cured them. How do I know? They’ve been on it for years and will probably be on it for the duration of their life. Your health and the health of your children are your responsiblity. Don’t put it in the hands of an industry that stands to make billions from your demise. “Healthcare professionals” don’t make money when you are healthy. They only make money when you are sick.
    At the very least, I’d say It’s worth looking into.

    • Jay says

      Again… look at infant mortality in the third world. The fact that your granddaughter is healthy has a whole lot to do with the fact that children have been immunized. Diseases like polio are “natural.” The bubonic plague is natural. Western medicine has made childhood much less lethal than it used to be. But for people like you, whose idea of history is what you had for breakfast, science is evil. I bet that evil science doesn’t keep you off your satellite TV.

      • Holman says

        Ummm, have you ever even been to a third world country?? The sickness there is almost always a result of poor diet, bad hygiene and/or unsanitary living conditions. My brother lives in Honduras and sees these kids in the “cleaner regions” taking baths AND having bowel movements under the same spigot in a hole in the ground. But if surroundings get cleaner or “healthier”, equip them with sanitation knowledge and better diet, and ultimately the people get healthier. Vaccines are all in theory. Never had one stitch of evidence or proof. Australia’s mandatory vaccinations got shut down, 50% of the people opted out, 50% of diseases dropped…look it up. Theres been MANY more instances in many different countries, of course no one will advertise that on google. Coincidence…not a chance.

    • Allison says

      You get a fever when you have a vaccination for the SAME reason you have a fever when you are sick. Your body is mounting an immune reaction to the vaccine. Which means you make memory cells so that next time you come in contact with the bug, your body “knows” it even though it has never seen it. Vaccines are NOT bad for your kids. The diseases we vaccinate against ARE. Occasionally there are adverse reactions due to allergies, etc. But that does NOT discount all the good that vaccines do. You know what else can cause adverse reactions that can kill people? Peanuts. Are peanuts bad?

      I am ALL for natural stuff. With the exception of vaccinations. You don’t know what it’s like to watch a baby die from pertussis because some fool allowed their unvaccinated kid to be around the baby when they had a cough which turned out to be pertussis. BABIES DIE FROM THAT. And, the erythromycin eye drops you rant against? Given because MANY women carry group B streptococcus in their vaginas. (You know what else women carry in their vaginas? The strep that makes the toxin causing toxic shock syndrome.) And if newborns get GBS in their eyes, they can GO BLIND.

      But, by all means, continue to eschew all medical knowledge because “medical professionals” make SO much money off you when you are sick. (P.S. There are increasing numbers of resistant bacteria and fewer and fewer new antibiotics because they are NOT profitable. AND, vaccines are one of the LEAST profitable aspects of medical care that can be given. You know who DOES make boatloads of money off you? The anti-vax “doctors” who sell you all sorts of products that do nothing.)

      Going all natural is commendable. Foregoing vaccines is NOT. Saying doctors are trying to keep you sick to make a profit is EXTREMELY offensive to them. They have spent DECADES going to school, learning how to SAVE YOUR LIFE. They are human and sometimes make mistakes, but EVERY doctor I’ve EVER met has had a good heart and has done everything they do to try to make your lives easier. If they just wanted to get rich, I guarantee there are easier and more lucrative ways to do so.

  57. Sarah says

    Katie, I love your website! My sister was the first to share it with me. This article in particular has really helped. I’m currently battling a sore throat/fever and while it might take longer to endure the fever, I’ve found all your remedies help soothe and comfort me as I ride it out, epsom salt baths, herbal teas, etc. I also LOVE your morning protein smoothie recipe. I’ve got my family hooked on it as well. I really appreciate the work you do in sharing your natural remedies. God bless you in all your endeavors.

  58. John says

    Here’s where I have the problem. In most instances they say to let a fever run it’s course if there are no other “concerning ” symptoms. Yes, fevers are natural. But how many times has your child had a fever and no other uncomfortable or frightening symptoms? It’s also been said that an unexplained fever ( meaning out of the blue with no apparent other symptoms), Is an even bigger concern. So yes again they are natural, there are so many unknowns about fevers I can’t seem to figure out why you would wait around to let them break? Let’s be honest, you cannot say for sure what is causing your child’s fever until you have been to a doctor or had whatever the necessary tests needed, completed. Should we rush to see doctors everytime we suspect abnormal? No, use your judgement. Not everyone is as comfortable as some of the people with higher fevers. Just be ready to accept the consequences of your actions. I’m all for natural , but remember just because something is “natural” , you can’t substitute natural for safe. Is Tylenol and ibuprofen 100% safe? Probably not. Once again, please educate your selves on how these drugs actually work in the body and how to dose them. I am a big believer of trying to let things work out, but accepting pharmacological help is not failure. There are some things our body simply cannot fight off without them. Also remember that our infections are constantly changing and evolving, your home “remedy” that might have worked when you were little, May not be effective on your little ones. Diseases can adapt and change the way they affect the body. Bottom line, exercise your judgement and right to use whatever you choose, but remember your situation is yours alone, parading what worked on the internet is fine ,but it’s what worked for her. Every child is different, everyone responds differently.

  59. deidra gorgos says

    Unless my child is really uncomfortable, I have stopped giving the fever reducers. One because I too think they prolong the fever. Second, if they reduce the fever to where my child’s temperature is close to normal, he feels better and doesn’t rest. Without the fever reducers, he will usually take a nice long nap(2-3 hours) mid-afternoon and then go to bed by 7pmish sleep 12 hours and wake up with no fever! I will take the nice long nap with him which is something I never get to do! =)

  60. chris says

    A very well written article I must say. However I have a few things to add (my two cents cause its what we all do right?) Here’s the deal, all these vitamins, probiotics and fish oils etc. are not evaluated, tested or regulated by the FDA. so you actually have not much of an idea of what you’re giving your child, the side effects or long term effects. you’re taking it based on the word of other moms and people who have majored in holistic medicine. which i am not knocking motherhood experience or holistic medicine, I thrive on it and do it for my child as well. However I believe you are misdirected in your care. Yes the most important thing for your child is TLC but that’s always the case and a fever is not something to worry about unless its unresolved after some time and accompanied by other symptoms. basically I’ll keep this short as I can, I am a paramedic and have seen the good and the bad with pediatric calls (no one likes them, they’re scary) and have seen the effects of what you would call a preventative medicine save lives i.e. a child having an allergic reaction and given benadryl a drug which is no more harmful to the liver than Tylenol and have it stop the process thus saving the child from anaphylaxis a life threatening condition. That is just an example and a rare incidence. most times the real sick ones have had fevers accompanied with other symptoms, its called the negative feedback mechanism of the body and its when your body is doing what its supposed to do (ie fight the fever) and your body works against you, it overloads your system and your body cannot respond due to the infection. it especially happens in children who are hypersensitive to disease and infection, they compensate, compensate, compensate then suddenly you’ve got a real sick kid on your hands and need an ambulance. so a fever CAN and DOES cause irreparable damage again in the instances of prolonged fevers with accompanying symptoms and in smaller numbers. I agree with a lot of what this writer has said in a sense about not curing just your everyday fever it can be harmful if a child is given Tylenol or any drug for that matter time and again. but the deal is in the end unless you’re pouring this stuff down their throat at any sign of a 100.0 degree fever its not going to have long term renal or liver issues. so please look into the holistic natural medicines/vitamins/homeopathic remedies you use to prevent or care for your child, there have been many home remedies in the past that have turned out to be more harmful than good. use these remedies (we do) but be careful and do not feel guilted out of giving your child a medicine they may very well need. thank you for letting me rant and I’m not trying to come off offensive if I have i apologize I’m just trying to share my experience and be informative.

  61. Mia says

    I have been unanle to take care of my own fevers naturally. As soon as my temperature rises above 101F they are downright torturous. I have no idea why, but I respond with severe body aches, dizziness and headaches. I would not be able to function if it wasn’t for ibuprofen. I wish I knew why I respond like this…

  62. Jenifer says

    My children have gotten several viruses with temps in the 105-107 range and every time except one single time and I stress once (her temp was so high the thermometer only read high then they did more tests) did an ER doctor ever take it seriously or act like it was a big deal. In fact I had that child in an hour before with a 106 fever and was sent home. It was pneumonia but with the fever was stuck other lung wall and you couldn’t hear it. My oldest children were rarely ill but our youngest four get every virus it seems. Even when all of us have viral meningitis they just sent me home with the kids with temps still over 106 and told me I was an over reacting mother and if they had any other issues, breathing etc to bring them back in and viral meningitis was going around our area. That was it. It made our ped angry. I am thankful for your article because other than Tylenol or Motrin we aren’t given real advice to help children with fevers. I’ve been told by ER doctors that a high fever in and of itself isn’t considered alarming. It’s other symptoms with it that can be a cause for concern. Or any young infant with a fever always warrants an ER visit. The problem comes in because most parents don’t know the signs of a more major illness and at times don’t present themselves as with my daughters pneumonia. The advic in the article is sound advice.

  63. Susie Weiss says

    I find for me and my family that peppermint essential oil (Young Living is the brand I use) on the bottoms of the feet is very effective for children (over 2 yrs) and adults. The body uses the oil, like it uses organic veggies, with intelligence. It doesn’t force the body to do anything, but offers molecules that the body knows how to use. You can put a drop in warm water to make a peppermint tea. Works great for headaches too.

  64. Meagan says

    What about echinacea? I was recently informed by a friend to use a few drops of echinacea in my green teas or orange juice at least 3 times a day when beggining to feel sick or when the sickness hits you hard. I noticed I was able to recover quicker and less troubled by the virus. Does echinacea not have the same amount of nutrients/health properties as your suggested remedies or was I misinformed by my friend about using when sick?

  65. Ken says

    Great post. Have you ever tried reflexology? I use it every time for my family. It definitely beats using over the counter meds. My mother who’s a nurse ask me all the time to practice it on her whenever she has a problem. I love reflexology!

  66. Torrance says

    The home remedies mentioned are not a 100% fool proof . The stuff posted on this page are placebo treatment methods.Please visit a doctor for treatment.

  67. Jason says

    For kids and adults with stomach flu/bug
    Peppermint tea with fresh/organic turmeric and ginger. Worked every time with my children, thankfully they are very healthy and in 7 years only needed this 2 times or so. Also colloidal silver has been a life saver in my mind, can be used for cuts,food poisoning, really anything.

  68. Fae says

    Thank you for this article. A lot if great information and ideas.

    I do think Chiropractic is an good addition to help with fevers, even after its run its course. I did that with my son. My chiropractor described a fever as a way to inform you that the body is fighting something. And that the high temperatures therefore “kill the bugs”.

    I would like to add that one of the things we do in my family for fevers, colds and respiratory infections is we do the wool socks method (usually at night).

    You wet a normal pair of socks – put them on and add a paid of wool socks over.

    It helps because the body realizes that your feet are cold, therefore trys to warm your body by adding extra blood flow. Which helps fight what’s in your system. I just thought I would share since its pretty much magic. Its actually the nickname we call it in my house ” magic socks”

    Thanks for the post.

  69. Frantz says

    I believe in natural ways. If Tylenol and Advil give you liver damage why risk your child to give them it just to rid a fever when there are natural ways to get rid of fevers and sicknesses that work. Try some honey and lemon with sugar heated in the microwave taste great and is natural.

  70. Julia says

    I had an average fever and did some recommendations on this page. Within 20 minutes, the fever had gone away. Two degrees lower than average, but I feel like it’s all resolved now. I tried a million websites. I need to get on this page ALL the time. Thanks for the great article! :)

  71. Joseph says

    I have a B.S. in chemical engineering, a masters in cell and molecular biology, and am nearly through my thesis work for my PhD at UPenn.

    The premise of this article is correct. Low grade fever is am effective defense mechanism against many pathogens.

    However, there are caveats.

    1) Fever weakens both the host and the pathogen. This is fine as long as the host is able to maintain normal functions such calorie and water intake. If fever is inhibiting these functions, lowering the fever to strengthen the host is advantageous.

    2) Fevers above 103 should be reduced, as the damage done to the host is usually more substantial than what is done to the pathogen. Fevers of this grade often cause a loss of appetite, uncontrollable shakes, and sweating. These actions are draining over time, rendering any advantage gained by inhibiting the effectiveness of the pathogens enzymatic processes moot.

    3) Tylenol and Advil cause liver damage after being administered at high doses for long periods. The odds of them causing liver damage when used in recommended amounts for a few days is near zero. Additionally, I assume you have no real idea as to how these compounds act on the body’s systems or how they are metabolized. The amount of energy required to metabolize them is infinitesimally small and to use this as a rational is absolutely ludicrous.

    PLEASE: Some holistic approaches do have merit, but fear mongering about effective medications and providing scary speculations on areas that you clearly know nothing about (as you did about tylenol and advil above) spreads falsities which are counterproductive to our concerted medical knowledge doing the greatest possible good.

    Remember, you may have a lifetime worth of experiences to draw on, but those of us who specialize in the various medical disciplines have thousands of lifetimes worth of experiences we have witnessed both in person and in text. We aren’t trying to hurt you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

  72. David says

    Thank you for your insight. Re: your note “Lots of fluids to ward of dehydration and help the body flush the illness. We stick to water, herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, or catnip.” — isn’t chamomile (and many herbal teas) a mild diuretic? For hydration, we use water + electrolytes (e.g. pedialyte).

  73. Jernae Klover says

    Hi, I love your website! Thankyou for doing such a great job, with research & EVERYTHING you do, to make it So Reliable & Educational.
    I quickly skimmed through your Fever page, & thought you might want to add this tip to it, for “borderliners”.
    I also try to ride out a fever, but I keep a cool wet hand towel on their eyes & forehead (I know a man who is blind, because of such a high fever, when he was a baby). And the back of their neck, as a preventative measure. It soaks the heat up off that area of the body, and probably cools the blood running through to the head. I give it 5 or 10 minutes, pick it up, air cool it, by fanning it in the air, or hanging it in front of a fan, & put it back on. Back & Forth. And that usually helps them feel better too.
    While we on the subject, I also very much believe in Icing injuries. Especially when a child bumps their head…Put an ice pack on it, right away, & it doesn’t even Turn Into a bruise, the next day. And of course any damaged, swelling muscle tissue area. But even in a back strain, where you might have a pinched nerve. An ice pack on the painful area can shrink the nerve, back into the protective part of the spine.
    Anyways, whether you you can use this info or not, I just wanted to say Thankyou

  74. Chloe says

    I dont think people without any type of medical degree should be giving medical advice. Granted it’s just a blog, but still… hopefully ppl who are smart enough check their sources before believing someone’s claims.

  75. richard rowland says

    soup, water,vit c on the hr. warm bath.. peppermint essential oil on feet , ears and back of neck, white fir essential oil same and ginger essential oil..great combo..(doterra oils have very high vibration because of purity) rest infuse oils in bedroom also good, same oils as above, body clearing spit all phlegm out put tissues in separate bag or down the toilet, onion open in room, can also be emotional clearing, freeze tea towel in freezer take out wrap around neck before sleeping and then wrap a long woollen scarf over the cold tea towel…my mother did this to me cleared throat.. bella donna homeopath good. peppermint and chamomile tea..good thoughts…

  76. Natalie Desmarais says

    Hey Mamas (And Dads)!

    I agree with this woman about fevers, as I do not reduce low-grade fevers either. However, still take your kids to the doctor to get checked out. I know of a woman whose child died of unknown reasons, and her only symptom was a fever of 102.8. My Daughter, Hadley, was 5 months old and had a fever of 103.8, no other symptoms, and I took her in to Elliot Hospital in Manchester. The staff had the good sense to catheter Hadley, and it turned out that she had a terrible kidney infection, and was hospitalized for 4 days. At the end of the day, I still let fevers do their job, but ALWAYS do this with a Doctor on my side.

  77. Wanda King says

    I think you’re correct that fevers occur in the body as a natural remedy for infections. I’m not a doctor either, but I’d read that after WWI, when aspirin was first introduced in the army; boys returned from the war bringing this “miracle” drug home to their families. When the flu started breaking out, aspirin was given to reduce temperatures. It has been theorized that fever destroys bad microbes; and without that natural occurrence, many people died from an overwhelming buildup of bacteria. Just a theory, but interesting. On the other hand, too high a temp can also be dangerous. – I think we probably use too many “miracle” meds these days; but it’s a personal choice that needs due consideration.

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