Fever occurs in response to an infection, illness or disease. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a fever is present when the body temperature rises above 99 degrees F. A mild fever usually requires no treatment. If you become uncomfortable, begin vomiting or have trouble sleeping, however, natural home remedies can help reduce the fever. Consult a physician if your body temperature reaches 105 degrees F or higher, or if the fever lasts longer than 72 hours. For treating children younger than 3, seek medical attention when the fever reaches 100.4 degrees F or higher. In children 3 months to 12 months old, see a doctor when a fever of 102.2 F occurs.
Wet Socks, Covered by Dry Ones
This hydrotherapy technique can be performed at home and can help reduce a fever, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Before going to sleep, soak a pair of thin cotton socks in water, wring them out well, and place the wet socks on your feet. Put on a pair of thick, dry, wool or cotton socks over the wet ones, and wear both pairs to bed. While you sleep, your body will begin to circulate lymphatic fluid and blood to fight off the wet feet, which also stimulates the immune system. The socks should dry by morning. Repeat the treatment for five to six nights in a row as needed to reduce your fever.
Taking a bath in lukewarm water helps reduce fever gradually and safely, according to Alexa Fleckenstein in her book "Health20." At the height of the fever, immerse your body in a tub filled with water about 2 degrees cooler than your body temperature. Slowly add cooler water to the bath, which lowers the body temperature. Conclude the bath after about 20 minutes, or whenever you begin to feel cold. Dry off with a towel, quickly return to bed and cover yourself with blankets. Sweating should begin, which is the desired effect after a fever bath. The body temperature will lower by about 2 degrees. Repeat no more than once a day, preferably in the afternoon, until the fever subsides. Don't use this treatment if you have a fever that's still rising.
The herb feverfew derives its name from its reported ability to reduce fevers. In her book "Gentle Healing for Baby and Child," Andrea Candee explains that chamomile, yarrow, elderflower and lemon balm herbs also induce perspiration, which may help bring down body temperature. Use any of these herbs to make a tea by steeping 2 tbsp. of the dried plant material in 2 cups boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes, and then straining. Sweeten with honey if desired, and drink 1 to 2 cups of the herbal tea every few hours as needed. Always consult a physician before taking herbs, however, especially if you take prescription drugs.
In his book "Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide," Burton Goldberg recommends applying a cold compress to the body to help lower a high temperature. Make a cold compress by soaking a clean, cotton washcloth in a bowl filled with ice and water until thoroughly saturated, wringing it out, and then applying it directly to the forehead and trunk of the body. Remove the compress when it warms to body temperature, then soak it in ice water again and reapply it. Repeat the treatment once or twice an hour as needed to reduce fever.
Is This an Emergency?
- The University of Maryland Medical Center: Fever of Unknown Origin
- “Health20: Tap Into the Healing Powers of Water to Fight Disease, Look Younger, and Feel Your Best”; Alexa Fleckenstein; 2007
- “Gentle Healing for Baby and Child”; Andrea Candee, David Andrusia; 2003
- “Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide”; Burton Goldberg; 2002