Being sick can be a very unpleasant experience and having a fever makes it worse while the bacteria or virus runs its course. Fevers aren’t illnesses by themselves, but they do typically indicate some issue with your body. Fevers are your body’s method of fighting off illness to maintain your overall health, but you still have to suffer through them and avoid possible complications. Most colds won’t involve a fever, but other illnesses, including the flu, frequently do so. In this case, it helps to know how to break a fever so you can quickly get on your way to feel better.
How to Break a Fever
Evaluate Your Situation
Before you can try to break the fever, you need to take time to evaluate your situation. Take your temperature, remembering that a normal body temperature is typically between 98.6° and 100° Fahrenheit (36.6° to 37.7° Celsius). Rectal thermometers will give the most accurate results for children, while adults can use a rectal or oral thermometer. If the temperature gets between 102° and 104° Fahrenheit (38.8° and 40° Celsius), you should rely on one of the following methods to break the fever and reduce body temperature. If the fever rises above this temperature, you should seek immediate medical care.
Don’t Cover Up
One of the first symptoms of a fever is chills and shivering and this leads to a typical cold response: the desire to cover up. Keep in mind, however, that after you develop a fever, you need to avoid all covers if there is excessive heat or sweating. This means that one method of how to break a fever is to avoid covering up or just cover up with thin, soft fabrics. This way the individual can stay cool as the heat escapes.
Try Cold Compress
Cold compress is a great solution to how to break a fever. Take a clean cloth and soak it in some cool water. Wring out the cloth and use it as a cold compress, changing it every 10 or 20 minutes. Another option is to take a pair of clean cotton socks, soak them in cool water, then wring them out and put them around your ankles. You can even try placing an ice pack underneath your groin or arm. There will be an initial shock, but then it will provide relief.
Submerge in Water
If you have a bathtub, fill it with cool water (avoid ice cold water as it can lead to shock) and sit inside for half an hour. If you don’t have a tub, try sponging yourself using tepid water. Remember to keep an eye on children in water and avoid applying alcohol rubs, which may lead to alcohol poisoning when absorbed by the skin.
Try OTC Medication
In cases where you are very uncomfortable, you can try to break a fever with the help of a non-prescription fever-reducing (antipyretic) drug. These medications include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin, all of which can find the pyrogens and end the suffering. Remember not to give those under 19 aspirin due to the risk of Reye syndrome; instead use acetaminophen. Always carefully follow the instructions on the package.
Drink Lots of Fluids
Most of the time, you can break a fever naturally by giving it time and plenty of fluids. This means that you should drink at least the recommended amount of water each day. For adult men, this is 13 cups (or 3 liters) and for women it is 9 cups (or 2.2 liters). Drink more water than this if you have diarrhea or are vomiting as this reduces your level of fluids.
Get Great Rest
When you have a fever, a key part of breaking it is to rest as much as you can. Try to sleep whenever you can as this will allow your immune system to recharge, giving it the strength it needs to fight the infection. This means you should try not to exert yourself. Best of all, it is easier to bear the symptoms of a fever when you are asleep.
Starve Your Fever
Some people say the phrase “starve a fever, feed a cold” is an old wives’ tale, but it might be true. This means that you should avoid eating a lot when you have a fever; instead drinking or eating healthy, clear liquids. This is because certain infectious organisms rely on the body’s iron and zinc to survive. If you want to eat something, try to have a liquid-based food that is fairly bland, such as chicken soup.
Let Teas Help
Drinking tea can help break your fever, which makes you sweat or opens up your pores for a brief period of time so your body temperature can drop. For the best results, pick an herbal tea that contains anti-bacteria and anti-virus properties. Try brewing some catnip tea; in humans, this is natural sedative. It also naturally reduces fever and helps with digestion. You can also make Echinacea tea or tincture. This natural anti-inflammatory also has anti-fungal properties and can boost your immune system. You can also boil a cup of raisins in a saucepan with 7 cups water. Continue simmering until only two-thirds of the liquid is left, strain the liquid, cool it down, and enjoy ½ cup of this tea.
Wait It Out
In some cases, the best method of how to break a fever is to simply wait. Most of the time, the presence of a fever is a good thing as it makes your body less welcoming to the organism causing the infection. As such, it can help to simply let the fever run its course instead of using medications to force it to break.