If your body temperature rises above 38.3 degrees Celsius and your body reacts with fever, this is a sign that something is wrong: the immune system releases pyrogens, which increase the body temperature, in addition to other defense substances that attack pathogens directly. By heating up, the body defends itself against invaders and kills viruses and other pathogens.
But not only cold, flu and Co. can cause fever, also certain autoimmune diseases, malignant tumors and some inflammatory processes can cause heat in the body. But what are the best home remedies to bring down a fever?
Before fighting fever: search for the cause
Before you do anything about your fever, you should first find out where it comes from in the first place. You never get a fever for no reason – the immune system is doing something with it and it is a symptom that can put us on the track of a disease that may need treatment. This will require a medical examination in many cases.
If your fever lasts longer than two or three days or keeps recurring, a visit to the doctor might be advisable – but that also depends on your overall health. If fever is a typical and recurring companion of an illness you are suffering from, you should consult your doctor about whether you are allowed to do anything about fever episodes. Babies and children, by the way, get an elevated temperature and fever more quickly than adults do.
Even if you know for a fact that you are just suffering from an ordinary cold, you should consider lowering your fever as it serves an important purpose. If you’ve just come into contact with cold viruses and become infected, this will call your defenses into action. A strong immune system detects these invaders and sets defensive measures in motion. One of them is to raise your body temperature, which can already put some viruses out of action. That’s why it’s not always a good idea to take a pill or use home remedies to bring the fever down.
However, if you are suffering from the flu, for example, your fever can sometimes rise so high that it becomes threatening. Above 41 degrees it becomes alarming. Apart from the fact that medical help may be required, you should lower the fever as an immediate measure to prevent febrile convulsions. Another problem with high fevers is that sufferers no longer drink enough, which drives the temperature up further. In addition, there is then a risk of dehydration. That’s why it’s good if you know some home remedies that bring the fever down again. Here’s how you can help yourself or a family member. And if you have a high fever, do not hesitate to consult a doctor.
Lowering a fever: home remedies help just as well as medications
If you want to reduce your fever, you could take acetaminophen, for example; anti-inflammatory drugs also have a fever-reducing effect. Keep in mind that lowering your fever is not enough for your recovery if your illness is due to a bacterial infection. Then causal treatment is more important – the fever will then drop as a result.
If you want to reduce your fever to relieve your body or because it’s a little too high, however, home remedies work just as well as medication. Ultimately, you are doing nothing more than cooling your overheated body. But what is the best way to do this?
Drinking plenty of fluids helps to reduce the fever
If you are in bed with a fever, you should drink a lot, because you lose an enormous amount of fluid when you sweat. This even applies to a merely elevated temperature: from 37 degrees, your body needs 0.5 to 1 liter more fluid per day for each additional degree of body temperature – in addition to the 1.5 to 2.5 liters you should be drinking anyway.
Drinking cold water not only has an immediate cooling and refreshing effect on the throat, it also cools your body down. Fruit tea is also suitable – the tea can be drunk lukewarm or cold and with a little fresh ginger, if you like. Stay away from caffeinated drinks, even if you are craving something stimulating. Your circulation has enough to do anyway.
Believe it or not, there are also hot drinks that can reduce fever, such as elderflower and lime blossom tea, both recommended teas especially for flu and colds. In any case: drink a lot, whether water or tea, hot or cold!
Classic home remedy for fever: calf compresses
Calf compresses are the absolute classic among fever-reducing measures. If someone is suffering from the flu and has been lying flat for days with a fever and aching limbs, they will not only work against the fever, but they will also provide a welcome refreshment. Putting the well-wrung, cooling wraps on your lower legs will reduce the temperature of the blood pulsing through your veins. Thus, the gentle but effective cooling effect, starting from the calves, reaches the entire body and lowers the fever. A wonderfully relieving feeling when the flu has you in its grip!
It is important not to make calf compresses when you have chills. Also, use a little tact: Don’t force down a fever patient too quickly, but do it gradually.
How to make calf compresses?
If you are really ill, it is best to have a helpful fellow human being make the calf wrap for you. In a pinch, you can manage on your own – it’s better than not doing it at all when the fever is getting to you.
Make sufficiently large towels – for example, kitchen towels – wet with cold or lukewarm water and wring them out so that you do not flood the sick bed. Wrap the wrung-out wet towels around the outstretched legs, focusing on the lower legs and back of the knees, and then wrap dry terrycloth towels around the legs to isolate the moisture on the body and to keep the mattress and blankets from getting wet.
It is important to keep the body and feet warm during this process. Cover the sick person with his calf wraps normally. Let the wraps work for about five minutes, then take them off. You can then rinse the wraps at your leisure, wring them out and apply them again – you can repeat this two to three times after a 10-20 minute break. Alternatively, you can try vinegar stockings, which are also a proven home remedy.
Lukewarm bath brings down body temperature
If your patient feels up to it, you can also relieve his fever with the help of a tub bath. Prepare the fever-reducing bath by first running hot water and then bringing it to 25 degrees water temperature with additional cold water. The sick person can then bathe in it as long as he feels comfortable. Dry off well afterward and put back to bed.
It’s also good for when you’ve been stewing in bed for a few days and feel sweaty and sticky. While the sick person is bathing, you can certainly make him especially happy by making the camp fresh. If you can lie down in clean, smooth sheets after a soothing bath, you’ll feel just a few steps closer to recovery!