Treating a Fever Without Meds

by Sarah Healthy Pregnancy, Baby & Child, Natural RemediesComments: 103

treating a fever

Many parents panic when their child has a fever. I did too the first time my child spiked a temperature of 102.5 F. It is a scary thing to hold your child and they are hot, flushed and obviously very uncomfortable.

It is important to learn ways to manage your child’s fever and not lower it artificially with over the counter medications. It would be best if you just threw these drugs away and don’t even have them in your medicine cabinet because even infrequent use of an over-the-counter drug like Tylenol has been linked with serious, lifelong illness like asthma.

Instead of panicking, honor your child’s fever and learn to use it constructively to improve your child’s health and vitality over the long term, because, believe it or not, fevers are fabulous and accomplish important things in a child’s developing body.

I am one of seven children, so we had a lot of fevers going around our home during cold/flu season. Despite this, my Father who is a retired Family Physician never succumbed to treating a fever with meds.


He taught us that bringing down a fever only prolonged the illness and weakened vitality for the next illness to come. I remember him saying, “No, I can’t bring down your fever because you’ll get sicker quicker and next time it will be worse.”

Repeated forced reduction of childhood fever has been linked to childhood cancer. And eliminating fever will usually cause a secondary infection. When you bring down a fever you start a domino effect toward antibiotic use. In other words, if you want to avoid antibiotics, don’t bring down the fever. Fever reduction suppresses the immune system. Your child is trying to get well himself with the fever and when you bring it down you are opening him up to a secondary bacterial infection that will further entrench the virus or bacteria. It cannot be stressed enough that fever has an important role to play in your child’s overall wellbeing.

Why Do We Get Fevers?

Why do our bodies produce fever? One reason is that fevers greatly slow down pathogens.  Fevers are a highly beneficial immune response that we suppress to our detriment.

The “germ” – bacteria or virus causing the child’s distress typically replicates every few minutes and the fever slows this process down. Fevers work to slow down the spread and severity of the illness and are your friend in avoiding a secondary infection (usually respiratory illness), a trip to the doctor and a script for antibiotics.

So treating a fever with meds to bring it down gives free license to the virus or bacteria to spread in an unrestrained manner. And don’t panic if your child’s temperature gets to 102-103 F degrees–this is the ideal range for a fever.

I can’t tell you how many times my children have spiked a beautiful fever of about 102-103 F for a few hours with no other symptoms whatsoever.

When the fever resolved, the illness was over.  No cough, no rash, sinus congestion, no nothing.  Just a fever and that’s it. I can almost guarantee that if I had forcibly brought the fever down with meds, they would have gotten a secondary illness on top of the fever – probably a cough or sinus congestion and the illness would have morphed from an afternoon of chills and discomfort into a two week ordeal with a trip to the doctor and prescription meds.

Treating a Fever With No Meds

I find that holding your child is the best home remedy for fever. When they are feverish, they want to be with you. Put on a light robe and crash on the couch with your child and hold her for hours if you need to. If you let the fever go and just let the child’s body do what it is trying to do, the fever won’t last very long — just a few hours.

You can take their temperature if you want to, but it is not necessary. Put your lips on your child’s forehead, and if the child seems hot, you know she has a fever. I can tell within a half a degree what the temperature is using this method with no thermometer required (which children typically find distressing to use when they are ill anyway). My dad taught me this trick–he never took our temperatures. He knew the temperature.

Sometimes a fever will go for three days. It will go up and down, with peaks and valleys, and it usually peaks about 4-6 in the afternoon. If your child has a fever in the afternoon followed by a good night’s sleep and no fever in the morning, that doesn’t mean he is over it. Don’t send him to school until you know what happens at 4-6 in the afternoon. The fever is likely to come back in a lot of cases. Until you’ve passed a late afternoon with no fever, your child is not yet on the road to recovery.

Should You Feed or Starve a Fever?

My father taught me that food will naturally drop a fever within about 20 minutes and this drop will last for an hour or two. My father always believed that it was fine to feed a child with a fever if the child was willing to eat. But don’t force food if he doesn’t want it. And you don’t have to give your child a lot of food. Just a few bites of scrambled egg or a few sips of homemade broth can bring that fever down a bit. It will not make the fever go away but will manage it hopefully within the ideal 102-103 degree range.

If a child’s fever is very high–over 103.5 degrees–then you need to take steps to bring it down down. One method for treating a fever naturally to bring it down without any meds is a cool water enema. Enemas have such a bad rap! Nobody likes them but they are a very effective remedy for many things. You can get an enema bag from any pharmacy for about ten dollars and they’re incredibly easy to administer. If the fever is getting really high, just get a thick beach towel and put it in the tub. Lay your child on his side without taking clothes off. Slide their pajamas down a little. Place 1/2 to 1 quart warm filtered water in the bag and insert the enema nozzle lubricated with a bit of coconut oil. Your child will start to feel pressure and will want to go to the bathroom–the water usually doesn’t run out. Then gently put him on the toilet and let him go. This will bring the fever down by a degree or two.

High fevers– those that range between 104 and 105 F – are not dangerous in themselves, but they make the metabolism run very fast and increase the risk of dehydration. Blood sugar often drops with the metabolism running at this high level, which can lead to convulsions. To prevent this, have your child sip fresh fruit juice diluted 50% with filtered water to keep tissues hydrated and blood sugar levels in the normal range. If your child is too lethargic or won’t take anything, you can administer about 4 ounces diluted fruit juice rectally using a $2 bulb syringe. Again, this is so easy to do!  The body will absorb it rectally very quickly. Don’t worry – it won’t run out and make a mess. This may save you a trip to the emergency room.

Fevers rapidly deplete vitamin A so be sure to give your child drops of fermented cod liver oil under the tongue while the fever is running its course.

Fever Baths To Hasten Healing

On the other hand, if your child is running a low-grade fever day after day and not seeming to get better, you can help her generate a higher fever to help resolve the illness more quickly by giving her a fever bath. Put her in the tub. Fill it with water as hot as she can stand. You can get it hotter for them if you put them in it while you are filling it. You want it pretty hot, but still comfortable. Leave her in the bath for 10-12 minutes, then get her out, dry her quickly and wrap her up tight. Put her into bed, well covered up. This should help the fever rise to the point where it can be effective in resolving the illness and by morning, she may have a normal temperature.

I have used the fever bath method for treating a fever on myself with great results too!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


For Clued-in Moms, Fever is a Friend

Tylenol Just Once a Month Raises a Child’s Risk for Asthma by 540%

Reviving the Amazing Wisdom of an Old Time Doctor (My Dad!)

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare, p. 220

Picture Credit

Comments (103)

  • Chris

    If you’re convinced you need to reduce a fever, please consider a non-med approach. One solution is to wet tennis socks and put them in the freezer. When they are crispy, but not too stiff, put them on feet and wrapped the rest of body and head in a nice warm comforter. Heat travels to feet to warm them and escapes. Fever reduced to low, tolerable levels. I’ve heard of socks drying within 2 hours due to the amount of heat drawn from the body.

    March 27th, 2015 9:42 pm Reply
  • Jane Metzger

    You need to have a little common sense here. There are devastating diseases out there that if not treated can be deadly. I had a fever of 103 and finally got to the doctor. I also had blood pressure of 76/56. I had ehrlichosis (a tick born illness) and spent the night in the ICU. Babies still die from meningitis and pneumonia.

    March 27th, 2015 10:34 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Indeed. Parenting without common sense is a dangerous thing!

      March 27th, 2015 1:46 pm Reply
  • Spencer

    This is really bad advice. Any fever over 103, ESPECIALLY a child, definitely needs to go to the hospital or at least take medication.

    January 7th, 2015 4:11 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Old time doctors (like my Dad) were taught not to worry unless it was over 105F. I had a knee infection 6 years ago and ran a fever between 102.5F and 105F off and on for several days with no problem. Actually, when the fever was over and the infection resolved, I felt AMAZING. High fevers are beautiful things … burn off so many impurities and toxins from the body. Fear based treatment of children and running to the hospital when they spike a beautiful fever is counterproductive to their health in the long run.

      January 7th, 2015 9:16 am Reply
      • Em

        This fever may have affected your brain. My children and I use holistic cures. However, it’s imperative to take take your child and have them checked out if it’s over 104. You may not know what’s going on in there bodies and a temp remaining too long can cause long term effects. Sure, what u do works most the time but what if your child has a serious problem and you didn’t know.
        I would NEVER resort to giving my child an enema instead of a Tylenol. One pill once in a blue moon is far less painful and tramatizing.

        September 23rd, 2015 11:13 am Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Please do not spread disinformation about enemas. They are neither traumatizing nor painful!

          September 23rd, 2015 11:21 am Reply
  • Alisha Anne

    What if he is in so much pain? Like his eyes even swollen. I think bad sinus infection but his fever was fluctuating from 98.9 to 103.6. I wasn’t sure how high was too high but then he cried bc of the pain in his face. Swollen with green mucus coming out corner of his eyes. Is that strange?

    December 29th, 2014 8:51 pm Reply
    • Alisha Anne

      Then I feel like a bad mom to not have let the fever ride out. I gave him ibuprofen. I felt horrible for the pain he was in.

      December 29th, 2014 8:54 pm Reply
      • Em

        This site reccomends giving ur child an enema. I use holistic cures, however a pill once in a great while is far less painful and tramatizing to a child. Yes, let the fever ride a bit but if it continues please do not give your child an enema!

        September 23rd, 2015 11:17 am Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Enemas are not traumatizing or painful. You can even use the small, ready to use enema bottles from the pharmacy that cost a couple of dollars that can be used right on the toilet.

          September 23rd, 2015 11:19 am Reply
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  • Julie Newmeyer via Facebook

    I get so delirious and I’ve been prone to faint with fevers. I would also get chest pains and my heart starts to murmur and I get heart palpitations after a certain temperature . I have to treat it quick. Tylenol doesn’t ever work. Def take Motrin after 100.

    July 17th, 2014 10:17 pm Reply
  • David Collins via Facebook

    Fevers can lead to horrible side effects such swelling on the brain, long term organ damage and even death to young children. Don’t risk your child’s health by following advice circulated via social media.

    July 17th, 2014 9:35 pm Reply
  • Barb

    I am wondering what anyone here would have to say about antibiotics for a child w/a heart condition, and a child who is prone to ear infections in spite of all precautions.

    July 17th, 2014 2:43 pm Reply
    • Jen

      My daughter has a congenital heart defect. She has had 2 open heart surgeries. Be very careful with any medication and always double check with your Cardiologist. There are problems a heart baby can face that would not be an issue for a heart healthy child. As heart Moms we can’t take anything for granted. Before following any well meaning advice found online always check with your child’s cardiologist .

      May 22nd, 2015 11:32 pm Reply
  • Colleen McCaffrey via Facebook

    I am a Mom and have been a peds nurse. For those of you who are squeemish about the enema – if you take your child to a hospital we may give them Tylenol rectally for faster absorption or if they are vomiting and an iv to avoid dehydration. The iv is much worse on a child and the mom. A caring nurse/mom can administer rectal meds without waking the child. I would absolutely try the suggestions in this article before resorting to a hospital trip!

    July 17th, 2014 9:10 am Reply
  • Charles Clark Peebles via Facebook

    I don’t all kids are healthy enough to let a fever run it’s course; it takes a lot to fight illness. If you’re already unhealthy in general, it’s not east.

    July 17th, 2014 8:35 am Reply
  • Becky Nicklas via Facebook

    Interesting. Especially about the timing. I know that fevers serve a purpose. But as mentioned above a bad headache usually accompanies a fever..and I hate to see the grandkids in pain. :/ I’m more apt to reach for the ibuprofen (I threw the kids Tylenol away). And while a few of my grandkids are used to some of nanas kooky ways..I doubt I could talk them into an enema. 😉

    July 17th, 2014 8:10 am Reply
  • Lisa Outhwaite via Facebook

    If the fever is up in the head and they’re getting irritated place their feet in a tub of warm water with some lemon oil in. Settles them right down. The food is a good tip for reducing a fever…not sure about the enema!

    July 17th, 2014 8:01 am Reply
  • Andria Rakus Dowie via Facebook

    Tylenol caused my daughters seizure, so I will never use that again.

    July 17th, 2014 7:53 am Reply
  • Tiffany Coley Speir via Facebook

    I had such a high fever when I was under 2 that I had seizures and fell into a coma. I treat my children holistically but sometimes there is a need for chemical meds.

    July 17th, 2014 7:52 am Reply
  • Heidi BoBidey via Facebook

    This is sage advice in an age of quick fixes. In such a short time we’ve forgotten that this was commonly done for fevers. I always let my kids ride out their fevers. With 4 kids, I see plenty of fevers and each child has their own pattern. Once while at a wedding my mom was watching my kids. One of the kids woke up with a high fever and slept for an entire day. It scared my mom, but I assured her that he’d be fine. The next day he was back to normal and felt fantastic. It was almost like a cleansing day for his body.

    July 17th, 2014 7:48 am Reply
  • Lani M Dingman Siciliano via Facebook

    I wouldn’t use enema. Just a tepid bath to cool body if fever at 103 or very uncomfortable. I have six kids and have hardly ever used pain/fever reducers. I prefer homeopathics if I must but usually we just ride out the illness. And those are few and far between. A strong immune system doesn’t get very ill often.

    July 17th, 2014 7:47 am Reply
  • DeeDee Kreplin Kirby via Facebook

    I was interested in this info up until the enema part……no thermometer because its upsetting but an enema?????? Geez

    July 17th, 2014 7:16 am Reply
  • Cassie Haga Meadows via Facebook

    Sorry, I’ll stick to ibuprofen and acetaminophen. I don’t do well with fevers and I would never make my children suffer through it when I have meds that can bring it down in 30 min.

    July 17th, 2014 6:35 am Reply
  • Gina Snow via Facebook

    Matitza if the fever becomes alarming that would be good symptoms for an experienced homeopathic practioner. :)

    July 17th, 2014 6:31 am Reply
  • Bethany Leisure via Facebook

    I think plain old peppermint oil would be more pleasant than an enema. I know it’s effective

    July 17th, 2014 6:26 am Reply
  • Brianne De Leon via Facebook

    We do coconut oil and sometimes a few drops of peppermint oil. Brought fevers down overnight with no return and no illness.

    July 17th, 2014 5:46 am Reply
  • Anita Morgan via Facebook

    I always leave a fever to play out. I get nervous when it gets high and i hover in and out of their room, measuring the temp with my lips to their forehead in kisses, saying to myself “If this gets any worse, i’m taking them to the hospital!” And then the fever breaks :) like clockwork, right after i start to really worry. And soon after, they’re well.
    I’ve noticed it takes my kids three days to get over what it takes my friends’ kids two weeks to get over!

    July 17th, 2014 5:16 am Reply
  • Aj Seeto via Facebook

    Hmmm must say I have never heard of administering fruit juice rectally.

    July 17th, 2014 5:11 am Reply
  • Nicolle Karsten via Facebook

    My kids get bad headaches with it, and that would bother me leaving them in pain. I like the sound of it though it really does make sense ,but again l worry about febrile convulsions in younger kids.

    July 17th, 2014 4:33 am Reply
  • Maritza Villafuerte via Facebook

    Here’s my concern: when my son gets a high fever, he starts acting in a way that scares me (hallucinating, and waking up scared and wide-eyed, sometimes not recognizing familiar faces). Is this a sign that I’ve let his fever go too high? Also, never having been exposed to enemas, the idea frightens me!

    July 17th, 2014 2:50 am Reply
  • Marcia Jackson via Facebook


    July 17th, 2014 2:43 am Reply
  • Angie Anderson Weedon via Facebook

    At my kids’ first signs of fever, I rub garlic oil on their feet & lymph nodes. We rarely have a fever come back once it’s broken.

    July 17th, 2014 2:26 am Reply
  • Maria Cullum via Facebook


    July 17th, 2014 2:23 am Reply
  • Meredith

    My 18mo daughter is going on her third day of a fever, which has left her, as you described, only wanting to cuddle. Someone just told me about the wet sock treatment. Do you know anything about this? Is this considered hindering the fever? Thanks.

    January 3rd, 2014 8:43 pm Reply
  • Mary

    I’m just getting over what appears to be a short but intense bout of the flu. After reading this, I decided not to use a fever reducer. I had one horribly sick day (yesterday) with fever, headache, and nausea, but feel so much better today. My fever didn’t get too high, but today I’m noticing patches of what appears to be prickly heat at my ankles, wrists, elbows, and underarms. Is this common? Is it cause for concern? How long does it usually take to go away?

    December 31st, 2013 10:47 am Reply
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  • Fawn

    I usually let a fever run it’s course. But my son had a fever that was 105 and crept up to nearly 106 when we reached the hospital. He had bacterial spinal meningitis and if I hadn’t trusted my gut and decided that a fever over 104 was too much, he would be dead.
    Don’t assume that fevers are ok all the time.

    December 19th, 2013 12:15 am Reply
  • Tina

    I like this article — I agree with most of what you said, except your method for cooling down the fever. My 7-year-old just had a 3-day fever that we let run its course, and it did in fact peak between 4-6 in the afternoon. Here is a link to the method we use to bring the fever out of the head and help it be more effective through the body:

    Also, in my experience, after a good fever, children go through a developmental growth spurt. Our bodies are pretty darned amazing….and mysterious!

    December 14th, 2013 9:48 am Reply
  • Mary Walkes

    If your baby is not amenable to the cod liver oil under the tongue, it can be applied to his/her skin at diaper change.

    December 13th, 2013 11:34 am Reply
  • Alison

    All this talk of beneficial fevers … please, can anyone else explain low temp fevers? I have had this since childhood. With scarlet fever at age 5, my temperature went down while my sister’s soared. There have been times as an adult when I went to the ER, very ill, once with two different sources of infection, and the triage nurse took my temp and said “95?!?” I have been denied treatment for not having an elevated temperature, sometimes not even registering on the disposable thermometers. The thing is, I feel hot, flushed, sweaty, and feverish when my temperature dips. Go figure! Normal for me is 96.3-97.7.

    December 13th, 2013 1:46 am Reply
    • karen

      I have a daughter who experiences the same drop in temperature when sick. The school nurse never believed her …. Her norm is 97.5. I’d like to know how to treat these types of temperatures too.

      July 17th, 2014 8:57 am Reply
  • Pingback: Why Medicating A Fever May Not Be The Best Choice | Dr. Joshua Gelber | Toronto Chiropractor

  • Marcie

    What do we do if they are in pain and uncomfortable? I am dealing with a feverish little girl that is congested. She just turned 2.

    November 7th, 2013 9:40 pm Reply
  • Martha

    The only fever I’ve had in the last 20 years (I’m almost 60) was very mild. I’ve had a few cases of strep and not run a fever then. That being said, I have’t been sick in over 2 years and very rarely get anything. Does the fact that I don’t run fevers when I’m ill mean that my immune system is compromised?

    November 1st, 2013 8:16 am Reply
  • Tricia

    Like others I have not been quick to break my kids fevers. I would give a touch of Tylenol to help them sleep, but after reading her thoughts no more of that either. Plus here are a few things I have done to help, tips I got from a Naturopathic Dr. Soak a pair of socks in ice water, quickly put them on and then put on a second pair of wool socks on top. Leave them on until the icy socks are dry or almost. Dr. said this helps bring the heat out of thier head and make them more comfy. I do a version of this with those little bo bo buddies you put in the freezer to use on bumps. Put on a pair of thin socks and using a second pair to hold the bo bo buddy on the bottom of the foot. You can also wrap cold wet cloths around the wrist and the lower leg, about a third of the way down from the knee. Dr. Also said lemon grass tea would help too. I have used all of the above with success. I mainly use the cold feet tricks. It has brought the fever down a bit and has helped them sleep and feel more comfortable at least. Having sick kids is such a struggle, parents always want to do what is best and there is so much information to consider. I pray a lot for God to help me see what is the best path to take and so far I have not been steared wrong. My oldest who is six has never been to the dr sick. Child #2 only once and he is 4 12. He did need antibitics, i made the dr use penicillin and gave it to him in lower doses than was told and it worked fine. Child #3 who is three, only once at one month old. He only had a fever and was sleeping a lot and I only took him in because he was born with one kidney enlarged and dr told me that could make him more likly to get UTIs. Fever was coming down by the time he saw a dr. No meds of course and no UTI. I have spent years researching health topics and have found westeren medicine has its place but that it is riddled with a lot of bad advice and advice given for the interest of money. There is a balance that we all must find. Good luck to all on their path to health and well being.

    October 31st, 2013 4:13 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    Great article with some great information.
    I have never brought down a fever my toddlers have had. Never. The highest one was 104.
    What I do is, keep them close, sleep with them, make sure they’re hydrated, give lots of cuddles and put peppermint oil on their temples and bottom of feet.
    It always works and they always come out better for it

    October 31st, 2013 1:28 am Reply
  • Bonny

    Just last week my 10-month-old had a fever of 105. I kept him next to me all night and watched him closely. He was sleeping off and on and still nursing fine, so I didn’t do anything. The fever broke by early morning and he was fine the next day. My 2-year-old had strep throat and a high fever for several days last spring. I took him to the dr. because he seemed lethargic, but I didn’t give him the antibiotics. He slept a lot and recovered on his own. He didn’t act like he was in a lot of pain, just very tired (he’s a tough little guy). I also skipped the antibiotics when my baby had an ear infection. I just messaged his ear with warm oil (combination of olive and lavender), took him to the chiropractor twice, and waited it out. He was fine after a few days.

    October 30th, 2013 9:56 pm Reply
  • Crissy

    Look, I think here is some really interesting information here. There are suggestions offered but at some point, common sense has to prevail and the assumption when posting something like this, is that people will take on board some new information and may possibly have a new idea for next time.
    I don’t think it was intended as advice to forgo medical advice or attention.
    One would think that you would run any new ideas by a medical practitioner rather than ignoring their advice, anyway.
    Thank you for your post, I think you have some great ideas which go really well along with medical advice and to replace mainstream “fix it” meds, when symptoms can be managed naturally.

    October 30th, 2013 9:17 pm Reply
  • Carrie

    What if you’re an adult who has brought down fevers with Ibuprofen their whole life? Should this method still work?

    October 30th, 2013 1:20 pm Reply
  • Sally

    I let my 18 year old son’s fever run it’s course till the evening of the 3rd day. He started to spike rapidly to over 104 and was no longer lucid.
    I did the Aroma Touch Technique with essential oils on him and by the time I was finished it had dropped 2 degrees. He fell into a deep sleep and woke the next morning a completely new person! He had not been this bright and perky for days!! He was totally over the problem and was inspired to use the experience for a paper he had to write called “Fighting fire with fire”.
    Best part is I got a good nights sleep that night too! So that made two of us happy in the morning!!LOL!

    October 30th, 2013 1:11 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Fevers are highly cleansing for the body and burn off a lot of toxins. I ran a very high temperature a few years ago due to a knee infection. The fever ranged from 103-105 F on and off for several days. When it was over, I felt like I was in a new body and was 20 years younger. Fevers are amazing and spiking a good strong fever is a sign of strength and vitality, not something to be feared unless the person has an underlying medical condition. Most folks don’t realize is that many cancer patients can’t even run a fever at all .. their immune system is too weak. Not a good sign to go for a long time without a good fever.

      October 30th, 2013 2:01 pm Reply
      • Nora

        I wonder if this cleansing effect of fevers is why I always notice a leap in my kids’ development after having a high fever. My two year old just had one last week and gained several new words in her vocabulary and started talking in small sentences right after being sick…

        I also remember reading somewhere that for every degree higher your body temp is- the white blood cells reproduce exponentially (can’t remember the exact amount) and that a high fever is ok as long as the person stays hydrated. We don’t try to reduce fevers as long as he/she is drinking lots of fluids. Thanks for the great info!

        October 30th, 2013 7:00 pm Reply
        • Jass

          I’ve noticed the developmental leaps following fever as well. My 20 mo. old recently had a fever over a couple of days and ran pretty hot. I never gave him meds for it. It got scary, but when the fever went away, he started saying lots of new words and more clearly than before. It’s really amazing how our bodies work and grow in times of stress!

          October 31st, 2013 7:49 am Reply
          • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            YES! Great point! Children frequently make a huge developmental leap following a good strong fever. I’ve noticed this with my own children as well. My first son actually started to walk the day after his very first fever (which of course I did not bring down).

            October 31st, 2013 9:39 am
  • Anna

    Seriously? I definitely would not post medical advice online. Say someone listens and their child dies….then you are liable because they got medical advice from you. Anyway, my kid gets fevers that top out at 105 and there is no way in hell I would resort to any of these methods when it comes to that. Sorry, I will not risk my child having convulsions or going into shock. I think it is fine and great for you to do it your way since it is your life, but I would not recommend anything to anyone online….especially medical advice.

    October 30th, 2013 1:04 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      That’s why there is a Disclaimer page on this blog … these articles are for information only and should not be construed as medical advice.

      October 30th, 2013 1:58 pm Reply
  • Amanda

    I use catnip to reduce fever, what are your thoughts on that?

    October 30th, 2013 12:13 pm Reply
  • Jacqui

    Thank you Sarah, I will be sure to look this post up if I ever need it! I did read it all the way through and hopefully the information sunk in…

    October 30th, 2013 11:18 am Reply
  • Fawn

    Your link to what I thought was a study on childhood cancers increasing due to reducing fevers just lead to a link on amazon for the book Nourishing Traditions…….while it is a good book, can you please post the link to the actual study that shows this correlation? Thanks!

    October 30th, 2013 11:11 am Reply
    • trudy


      At the bottom of the article it says that the info is on page 220 of the book. The only thing I see on that page about cancer is the very last sentence that says that there are scientific papers that document the regression of tumors in patients who contracted an infection and had a high fever. The book then cites:
      “Hoption Cann SA and others. Dr. William Coley and tumour regression: a place in history or in the future. Postgraduate Med. 2003 79;672-680; Hobohm U. Fever therapy revisited. British Journal of Cancer. 2005; 92:421-425.”

      Unless, I am missing something, the book doesn’t actually say these papers document “childhood cancers increasing due to reducing fevers”, but that tumors regressed in patients that got a high fever. Then the book says, “How much better to develop immunity to cancer by having the occasional fever during childhood”. I’m not really sure how the connection is made between tumors regressing with a fever and building immunity to cancer through childhood fevers, but I haven’t read the papers either.

      October 30th, 2013 3:14 pm Reply
  • Kamala George

    I can see how the normal fevers we all get due to illness should usually run there course if there are non of the bad red flags. I have a situation with my daughter born in 2010. Every time she cuts a tooth she has three nights and four days of fever 103+. My husband and children also run cold by 2 degrees. Not only is there fever but she wont eat, cannot sleep longer then 30 minutes and crys and grasps and kicks and sleep talks and thrashes all night. I bathe her in hot water and she shivers and crys, will not drink much and nothing cold, i concentrate on coconut water. Then during the days she is lethargic and hot with short periods coolness and clarity (1/2). Then after three nights and the tooth cuts she is wonderful again. I have asked every living relative about others present and past and noone has ever heard of it. So in this fever case I do give her meds on the second night and once during the day, thee night fever is always the highest and we need sleep to heal, then during the day once so i can try and get her to eat and drink as much as possible. Every time I took her to the dr for this fever they would try and do a cath on her for a urine sample. After doing this once to my 6 month old daughter, who otherwise was fat happy and breast fed, with a negative for U.I. They had no clue what was up. Next fever i bring her again, they want to repeat their useless tests. No, and they about had a fit, I said check the records and left, I’m not torturing my baby for your lack of reason. Would love to hear if anyone else has any “HOT toothing” babies. BTW my first daughter never showed a sign of toothing they just magically appeared, no fuss no muss. Go organic non gmo grow a garden eat local and vote with your dollars.

    October 30th, 2013 6:46 am Reply
    • Angela

      Both of my boys got a fever with every new tooth. Recently I found that rubbing a drop of Lemon Essential oil on the soles of their feet helped reduce the discomfort and allowed them to sleep. I give them water with ginger and honey to sip while awake. They get the same treatment on the rare occasion they get sick. They are back to normal in no time. Peppermint oil is supposed to reduce fevers if needed. I never do that though.

      October 30th, 2013 1:03 pm Reply
    • Amanda

      DS2 would get a 104.5 fever every time he cut teeth. He would always cut at least 2 at a time. It scared me the first few times, but then I learned that was just how his body dealt with it. He would vomit anytime I tried giving him fever reducers. I started using catnip tea when he seemed particularly uncomfortable and couldn’t sleep. It would bring it down and relax him just enough that he could get some rest.

      December 13th, 2013 3:38 am Reply
  • Cyn

    Your article would be more believable if you cited evidence for any of your claims at all, besides “my dad said so”. Kids could DIE if their parents take your dangerous advice!

    October 30th, 2013 3:15 am Reply
    • Derrick G

      No. She’s absolutely correct about everything she says in this artical ESPECIALLY about fevers being a natural pathogen fighter. The prime temperature for most bacterial growth is right around 98.6. Hmmm healthy body temp eh? Your body’s response? Kick up the thermostat! Even now as an adult I let a fever do its job and avoid meds. It drives my girlfriend crazy to watch me sweat and shiver it out but I militantly refuse medication.

      She does cite more than just “my dad said so”. She has the most compelling evidence to support her claims and that is personal experience. Both from direct experience and employing the method on her children.

      October 30th, 2013 5:11 am Reply
      • Stephanie

        If a fever is high 104 and above.. then it is a cause for concern in both children and adults. I developed sepsis after I had surgery, my fever got up to 106. I was delerious and convusling. It needed to be brought down and I needed those IV antibiotics to save my life. I am all for using natural remedies when possible, But there comes a time when modern medicine should be sought and has it’s purpose. It is about balance and common sense. The reason we are having issues with antibiotics and resistant bugs, is because of our overuse of them. If they were used when they were supposed to be and very sparingly, we would not have the bugs that we do. I take prescribed medications that I use in combination with supplements. They work great for me and I will continue to do so. Not all medicine is bad and not all home remedies are good. I am more than happy to lance a boil or using a drawing salve to avoid antibiotic use. But I am very glad that antibiotics were available when I needed them in a life threatening situation.

        October 30th, 2013 12:23 pm Reply
  • Kim @ Raising Babes Naturally

    Thank you so much for this great post…I had not heard of some of these ideas, and they give me some comfort in knowing I have some options should I need them for my kids.

    I’ll be Sharing this on my blog…thanks to you and your awesome Dad!

    October 30th, 2013 12:10 am Reply
  • Alissabeth

    I love using essential oils to bring down fevers and boost moods and make them feel better!

    October 29th, 2013 11:16 pm Reply
  • Heather A Nurse’s Wildflowers

    I love this post. LOVE IT! Sorry for the long comment in advance. As an ER nurse I do not usually medicate my children for fevers…even at 104. Unfortunately when parents present to the ER or their doctors office with a “fever” it creates liability for the doctor and a lot of them follow the crowd about managing it with a “work up” or medications. My pediatrician is better than most and does not immediately resort to meds or tests. But I think he knows where I stand and feels more comfortable being more natural with my children.

    I do have some things to add…

    If a child is “lethargic”…truly medically lethargic, this is a big deal. IF they are not acting mentally normal or are so sick that they can’t walk, can’t focus on you, communicate, etc…I would never give a sugar enema and not take to the ER. Lethargy is described as significant ABNORMAL drowsiness. This can indicate not only low glucose (sugar), but also electrolyte imbalance, or other very serious infections. However the use of the sugar enema is a great piece of knowledge to use if there is no ER around or in an emergency. This would actually be a great resource to keep in your emergency preparedness kit.

    As a nurse, I also would be hesitant to give a cool bath. This creates shivering and angry children which increases metabolism. I think it would really depend on the situation for me. You want to avoid shivering. There are certain viruses like Roseola which create extremely high temps (105-ish) for 4-5 days. My children have had this and I did not treat for it. At the end of 4 days a rash developed and they get better. Even with treatments this fever doesn’t drop easily so I just chose to let it be and take advantage of the calm children. I did take my children to the doctor on day 3 of having high temps to make sure of ears and urine but (only with the little non communicator did I do a Urine test). I don’t normally give antibiotics either but wanted to make sure I shouldn’t be doing extra stuff like warm compress on the ear, etc.

    The most important thing is not just fluids but sugar and electrolyte management. Make the kids drink something other than water. You can freeze fluids too. How about a broth pop cycle? or is that too weird? 😉

    October 29th, 2013 11:03 pm Reply
    • AnnB

      I HAVE taken a child to the emergency room for a high fever and they put my child in a tub of ice, thereafter, I administered cool baths (sans ice) at home on my own when fevers get unbearable.

      P.S. the broth pops sound like a great idea!

      October 30th, 2013 8:18 am Reply
    • rebecca c

      what about coconut water for fluids and electrolytes? I think I heard that is good for electrolytes, such as drinking it after heavy physical activity. would that be good to administer when a fever occurs?

      November 1st, 2013 1:54 am Reply
      • Jen

        I keep a stash of coconut water on hand to use in case of illness for myself and my children, as an alternative to electrolyte solutions. It works great!

        November 6th, 2013 6:41 pm Reply
  • Shannon

    Where are your citations for all of this information? Aside from your old time country doctor dad? We all know fevers are a sign that the body is “fighting” something and can be beneficial when low grade, but high fevers can cause permanent brain issues in infants and children. Research statistics before spreading old school “remedies”.

    October 29th, 2013 10:52 pm Reply
  • Amy

    While I mostly agree with you, I seriously doubt that the cause of fever-induced convulsions is a drop in blood sugar. In fact, I would assume a high fever would raise blood sugar. I googled it and could not find anything. Your articles would be more credible if you cited sources of information.

    October 29th, 2013 10:44 pm Reply
  • Amy

    Thanks for sharing, your tips to help manage a fever are some that I have never heard of. Hopefully I won’t have to use them anytime soon but good to know. Wish more Doctors were as smart as your Dad.

    October 29th, 2013 10:42 pm Reply
  • Rachel

    I absolutely hate giving the over the counter meds, my 20 month old has strep throat and yes is on antibiotics which I also hate. His fever was 106 the other day. I will try the water enema but it’s such a struggle when they’re in so much pain, I know how strep feels, I’ve had it more than once (long before I ever had him) I know fever is the immune system response but it’s scary at 106.

    October 29th, 2013 10:36 pm Reply
    • Carissa

      propolis… it tastes like what comes after the enima but its my first defense against strep. I started using it while pregnant. Everyone at my college was sick with strep, there were some kids on their second or third round of antibiotics. I got better first and have never used anything but propolis for strep since.

      October 30th, 2013 11:05 am Reply
      • Rachel

        Interesting. I have some honey with propolis and bee pollen added. Maybe that would also help boost his immune system after the antibiotics…

        October 30th, 2013 5:07 pm Reply
    • Melissa

      Homeopathic belladonna 6 or 12 c will resolve a fever naturally and is great for strep throat as well

      March 27th, 2015 10:54 am Reply
  • Manda

    I’ve found that medicating a fever makes my child feel better … and then he runs around and doesn’t rest and feels twice as awful in a few hours. But let the fever go, cuddle on the couch, give cool water and whatever he is craving and it quickly runs it’s course. And it makes him sleepy and he gets lots of healing rest.
    I find that folks get so alarmed by any fever at all and tend to ignore me when I say that it’s a sign the body is working to kill the invaders. I wish there were more docs like your father around today.

    October 29th, 2013 9:45 pm Reply
  • Anya

    I agree with everything you said here Sarah, but how can I proceed with a child who has had a febrile seizure when he was 2. He’s 8 now and hasn’t had an occurrence but perhaps that’s partly because I administer meds to him as soon as he gets a fever. I know, totally counter intuitive to what we believe but I feel like the risk is too great. His doctor said that if he gets another seizure the chances of him developing a seizure disorder doubles.

    October 29th, 2013 4:06 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Have you sought a second opinion, particularly from a holistic physician who sees beyond conventional suppressionary treatment of a beneficial immune response like a fever?

      October 29th, 2013 4:37 pm Reply
    • Carissa

      What I learned in an EMT class that febrile seizures are due to fever reducing medicines. If your giving your kid fever medicine you need to keep up the dosage otherwise the drugs wear off and the fever spikes quickly going from a happy high 90s to the mid-hundreds in around an hour. From what I know that is the leading cause of Febrile seizures and the first job of an EMT on the scene is to ask if the child has been re-dosed following the seizure or just beforehand. Check the temp and administer fever-reducing drugs enroute to the hospital if none had yet been given.

      October 30th, 2013 11:00 am Reply
    • Janeen

      Febrile seizures are alarming, but not damaging. Fevers can go higher that that even (a friends baby when to 106F and even the doc said ‘let it go’) the end result will be the same as she said…quick recovery and you won’t need antibiotics

      December 13th, 2013 12:50 pm Reply
      • M

        Ha! My disabled daughter had a major febrile convulsion that left her in ICU and after an MRI was taken the DR’s were shocked at the damage it caused the right side of her brain. They didn’t expect her to recover very well, if at all, her development at age 4 was reduced to almost the skills of a young baby. Even today she still can no longer take fluids by mouth despite being trained regularly and struggles to use the left side of her body. Before her febrile convulsion she had a perfectly healthy brain other than missing the corpus callosum. So please inform me as to how febrile convulsions apparently do not cause damage? I rarely use fever reducing medicines at our house. But in my daughters case I’d rather give some to her than cope with another bad seizure and 5 1/2 weeks in hospital wondering if she will live or die. And the usual fever reducing methods did nothing, putting a child in a bath during such an event is dangerous, and mopping her down with a wet face washer wasn’t working at all, she was drenched in sweat. Even paramedics couldn’t stop it. I agree with most of this post, but extremely cautious in my daughters case.

        December 14th, 2013 7:05 pm Reply
  • Angel

    How do you deal with herpes?

    October 29th, 2013 3:05 pm Reply
    • Jill

      L-Lysine. I can’t remember the dosage, but taken at the first signs of an outbreak of herpes or shingles (which is related), it can nip it in the bud and prevent a full on outbreak. Google it and you should find lots of good info.

      October 31st, 2013 8:04 am Reply
      • Beth

        Iodine supplementation is also great for keeping the herpes virus at bay. Since I started supplementing with it a year and a half ago, I think I’ve only had one cold sore. I used to take L-Lysine at the first sign of a tingle, but it stopped working for me. I have a prescription for Valtrex that I used to always keep filled in the event of a cold sore. No need for that anymore! Google “iodine herpes” for lots of good information. Apparently you can actually inactivate the virus entirely!

        October 31st, 2013 4:40 pm Reply
    • Karen

      I get shingles on my face and neck; I started taking L-lysing but so far have not noticed that helping.. I got two cases back to back b/c Its a stressful time for me at holidays… Im a photographer… lots of people want things NOW. So the bubbles showed up.. I happened to be at the chiropractors and he put this little electronic acupuncture tool on it.. Im not going to lie that hurt b/c the nose is so sensitive… but the bubbles dried up that night.. and in three days I looked like they never happened… and I’ll tell you those things usually last FOREVER. The pain was gone that afternoon too! I’ll be going back to him if I get another one!

      December 13th, 2013 10:13 am Reply
  • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    Wow … antibiotics don’t harm good bacteria in the body? How clueless! It is alarming how many doctors spout things they have no idea about but their high intelligence and white coat makes them think they are infallible. Unfortunately, high IQ does not mean good critical thinking skills. Not by a long shot. Time for you to perhaps find another pediatrician that does have some critical thinking skills perhaps? :)

    October 29th, 2013 2:31 pm Reply
    • Eliza

      Another reason to find a new doctor is (not to be paranoid, but…) if you are not following the established protocol, they may report you to child services for neglect. This happens…

      October 30th, 2013 11:20 am Reply
    • anonymous

      Your father very well could have been one of these physicians.

      November 1st, 2013 7:18 pm Reply
  • Kate S.

    My pediatrician raised his eyebrows and said, “that’s an interesting way to do it” when I told him that I let my child fever through an ear infection and it was gone the next day. He had a 104 fever, but no symptoms of febrile issues. When I told him that I didn’t want to go the antibiotic route and have him get used to the antibiotics or deal with the harm of them, he said that you can’t get used to antibiotics and they do not harm the good bacteria in the body. He even drew me a little picture to show how they work in the body. Ok. Maybe so, maybe not. All I know is that sweating through a fever fights infections. I only brought my baby to see the pediatrician to confirm the ear infection was indeed gone.

    October 29th, 2013 1:09 pm Reply
    • Heather @ A Nurse’s Wildflowers

      Wow, you need a new doctor. This is why we are having so many antibiotic resistant super bugs. Just googling this subject will pull up lots of studies. Even my western medicine pediatrician agrees that waiting it out is best.

      October 29th, 2013 11:12 pm Reply
    • Joan Lottner

      Definitely look into getting a different doctor. What you were told about the antibiotics is an outright lie. I myself have in the past taken rounds of antibiotics for sinus infections and the last time I had to switch to a “stronger” one because my body was not reacting to the one I had been given many times and this infection episode was a mild one. That was a good 5-6 years ago now as I have been sampling more holistic treatments and have found that because I know myself and my usual symptoms I can catch it early enough so the holistic treatments work most efficiently and effectively, quicker than the antibiotics did. Your body builds up tolerances to ALL medications which is why on chronic meds you have to take higher and higher doses as you get older. It is not necessarily the medication that is the problem but the body’s reaction to it. I compare it to having to eat your favorite food every day for a month or year, after that long you get sick of it and it no longer tastes as great as it once did and never will again so it loses its effectiveness to make you happy and satisfy you whereas if you eat your favorite only once a year or 2 years it will always make you happy and satisfy your tastebuds and probably always will.

      October 30th, 2013 7:08 am Reply
      • Marianne

        You people are all crazy. First of all your body does not build up tolerance to antibiotics. The bacteria mutates and builds up resistance to them. The drugs that are body builds up tolerance to are things live narcotics, benzodiazapams and so forth.
        On the subject of fevers, a fever is a symptom of something else. Most of the time it is a virus in a child which antibiotics are not or should not be used for. The researchers are finding more and more ear and sinus infections are viral. So there is no need for an antibiotic. As far as treating a fever, it does not hurt to leave it untreated unless of course your child develops a febrile seizure from it. Your child will be more miserable but will get over it. If they do not get over it in a couple days and seems to be getting worse you just may have something worse such as meningitis that can cause permanent damage or death.
        A cool bath rather than an enema is far better. The rectum was not really created by God to have things inserted in it unless absolutely needed.

        October 31st, 2013 12:55 pm Reply
    • Susie Nurse

      Why bother going to the doctor in the first place. Do you know your child’s eardrum can burst if infection not taken care of. Damages the hearing then.

      November 1st, 2013 4:24 pm Reply

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