A fever is a defense response of the immune system to fight infectious diseases. Its purpose is to create an inhospitable environment for the disease-causing agent to help the body destroy it. Other conditions might also cause an elevation in body temperature, such as sunburn, some medications and immunizations. The old adage to drink plenty of fluids holds true for a person experiencing a fever. High temperatures can lead to complications that staying hydrated might prevent. MayoClinic.com warns that fevers above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, or that are accompanied by seizures, need prompt medical attention.
One of the primary reasons to drink water if you have a fever is to maintain proper hydration. If you are sweating profusely, you might be experiencing an abnormal fluid loss, especially if your condition is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea. Dehydration can worsen your symptoms and discomfort. It can also lead to more serious consequences, such as dangerously low blood pressure and rapid heartbeat.
Effects on Breathing
If you are experiencing nasal congestion, you might be breathing through your mouth rather than your nose. This change in breathing patterns can increase your risk for dehydration. Breathing through your mouth releases more moisture than through your nose. You might experience dry mouth, which can aggravate a cough. It might also cause you to snore and disrupt your rest. To restore normal breathing, you can take a decongestant if appropriate for your symptoms.
Compensate for Low Appetite
You will also need to drink more water when experiencing a fever to compensate for the moisture you might not be getting from your food. Many individuals fighting an infectious disease might experience diminished appetite. You might also find that you are sleeping more, perhaps through meal time. The extra water you drink can help ensure you are getting enough fluids despite a lack of foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which would normally provide for your moisture needs. Water also has the advantage that it is more likely not to upset your stomach if you haven't been eating normally.
You might find that drinking water will help you stay cooler and more comfortable despite your fever, which can cause a host of symptoms such as headache, muscle aches and feelings of weakness. By cooling your core temperature by drinking water, you can mitigate the effects of these symptoms. A fever signals an abnormal condition for which your body is trying to find ways to restore a normal state. By staying hydrated with water, you can ensure that your body has the fluids it needs to speed your recovery.
- "Principles of Anatomy and Physiology"; G. Tortora et al; 2005
- University of Maryland Medical Center; "Dehydration"; August 8, 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center; "Fever"; December 1, 2009