Why You Shouldn’t Lower a Fever {And What to Do Instead} |

Why You Shouldn’t Lower a Fever {And What to Do Instead}

Katie September 14, 2012

It’s that time of year again where colds are starting to spread like rapid fire. It’s tough to see your kids sick, especially when they have a fever. It’s even worse when you have a fever too. Believe me, I know, a feverish Mama with three sick girls and the rest healthy and running around is tough.

Next time someone in your house has a fever don’t immediately run for the doctor or pop a painkiller. Fevers can be beneficial. Now, I know you might think it sounds crazy but it’s true. They help you realize that something else is wrong. Fevers are the body’s natural defense system to destroy the infection, which is the real problem.

Before you do anything it is best to first recognize the underlining cause of the fever. Treat the illness first. I am a strong supporter for letting a fever run its course. There is no need contact your doctor until a fever is over 104.

You might wonder what the harm is in using over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen? They actually harm the body instead of aiding it. Drugs like these may lower the fever for a period of time but once the effects wear off fevers may spike even higher to get rid of the illness. When a fever is lowered synthetically it prevents the body from doing its job. Fever reducers weren’t made readily available until less than  100 years ago.  Why turn to them now? Kate shared more about the dangers of using fever reducers in her post Fevers: Good or Bad?

In many traditional societies, it is still quite common to sweat out a fever. The Mexican mamas that I know make sure their children stay warm until the fever breaks. I think we can learn from these traditional mamas.

So, you’ve decided to forgo the fever suppressants now what?

Keep Comfortable

Go with what is comfortable. Some of my girls prefer to bundle up while others like to wear light, loose-fitting clothing. I just check to be sure that they don’t get chilled. If they do I’ll have them put on something a little warmer.

Try some of these ideas:

  • A warm bath with Epsom salts to soothe and relax the body.
  • Wheat or rice bags with soothing herbs such as lavender, chamomile, and rosemary, in them, offer soothing comfort.
  • Make your own massage oil of almond oil or olive oil with a few drops of essential lavender oil. Rub on temples, back, shoulders and forehead.


If your kids want to sleep, let them! Rest is one of the best medicines! Cuddle with your kids, read stories watch a movie. As long as they are up to it allow them to play or even go outside for a little while, as long as it’s not too cold. The fresh air will do everyone some good.

Keep Hydrated

I cannot emphasize enough who pertinent it is to keep hydrated. Often when you have a fever you will have little appetite. Focus on keeping fluids in your body. Dehydration can be a greater danger than the fever itself.

My top three fluids are:


What more needs to be said about water?

Herbal Teas

There are different tea blends that you can make that will help heal and offer relief. Herbs to pick from would be elderflower, yarrow, ginger, and catnip. Some of these herbs do not have the greatest flavor but when combined with peppermint and sweetened with raw honey, they go down much easier. You could also try making popsicles out of one of these teas.

Bone Broth

Bone broths are full of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to get well. Sipping a warm cup of bone broth a few times a day will give you extra strength and nutrition to speed up the healing process. Canned broth is not a sufficient substitute because it lacks the nutrients needed. Bone broths are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that heal and nourish the body.

Boost the Immune System

Be sure to boost the immune system with foods such raw garlic, raw milk, breast milk and bone broth.

Take herbal tinctures to heal the body and strengthen the immune system. Echinacea, elderberries and olive leaves are perfect for this job.

No refined foods period! It is always important to avoid refined foods like white flours and sugars but it is even more vital when combating an illness.  They will weaken the immune system making it hard to fight the illness.

Why Not to Treat a Fever

How to Lower Fevers Naturally

If you decide to lower your fever naturally here are some suggestions instead of using fever reducers:

  • Take a warm bath with ¼ cup apple cider vinegar. Dry off and put on warm, comfortable clothes.
  • A cool wet cloth with apple cider vinegar wrapped around feet also brings a fever down.
  • Again herbal teas made from herbs such, as elderflowers and catnip will bring the fever down a bit.
  • Stephanie from Keeper of the Home has used Ferrum phosphoricum, a homeopathic remedy with success.

 What do you do when you or your child has a fever?



This is the writings of:

Katie is a dorm “mama” to 16 amazing girls ages 5 to 18 at a home and school for the Deaf in Baja California, Mexico. She is happiest in the kitchen creating nourishing meals and home remedies or outside with at least one of her girls at her side. She grew up using herbal supplements but didn’t discover the joy of making her own until 2008. Katie is passionate about real food, herbs and simple living. You can find her blogging about all these things and more on her blog, Mexican Wildflower where she is living simply by God’s grace.MexicanWildflower
  1. Thank you for these wonderful tips, it’s funny how we forget that people coped with many things before and did good without pills. I just have one question, about how long would the fever last until it is gone or almost gone?


  2. We have used a garlic infused oil on our kids feet (covered with socks) and it seems to really help the kids feel better quicker. I love the ideas you listed here too! Thanks for sharing:)


  3. I use peppermint essential oil on the bottom of their feet. It brings the fever right down and has natural analgesic properties.


  4. I concur with not treating a fever ’til it’s over 104. I have an article bookmarked somewhere written by a pediatrician, basically stating the same. I skimmed this article quickly so I missed if this was already mentioned, but letting a fever run it’s course will actually shorten the duration of the illness, precisely because you’re allowing the immune system to do it’s thing and not short-cutting it. (A fever is actually an indication that the immune system has kicked in.)
    The only problem with letting a fever go untreated is the *miserable* body aches/chills that go along with a below 100-101F temp. Bundling up will actually drive a fever higher, so if you can bundle up and get that temp over 100 or so, the feverish person will actually feel better (but keep them well hydrated!). It all sounds counter-intuitive in our current (conventional) medical atmosphere, but it works! 🙂

    A personal anecdote: I actually pray for a fever to go over 100 so I’ll feel better, and am happy when it reaches 103 – because at that point I feel like I’m in what I call a “heat bubble”: nothing hurts anymore and there’s no more hyper-sensitivity to cold, like with a lower fever. 😉 🙂


  5. These are wonderful tips! I try to avoid taking medication unless absolutely necessary – and fortunately I am rarely sick with illness that causes a fever . . . but next time I am I will definitely try some of these tips out on myself. Thanks for the great advice!


  6. We are experiencing the second fever in as many weeks between my 2 boys (5 & 3). I treated my 5 year old’s fever and mom diagnosed strep with raw garlic, cayenne and raw honey. He was feeling much better in 2 days. My 3 year old is running fever now and I’ve already covered his feet in a raw garlic/coconut oil/olive oil salve that I’ve made. I’m not sure how well he’ll do with the raw garlic, cayenne, raw honey ‘medicine’ but if momma feels that he needs it, I’ll get it down him somehow! So thankful for this community that has taught me alternatives to traditional medicine!


  7. Can I use the cheap Epsom salts from the store, or should I shop online for something high quality? If so, why? Thank you!


  8. last year my youngest who was 4yrs at the time had a consistent fever that lasted about 11 days sometimes high but under 103.5 but most of the time it was about 100 or 101. I push water when ever I could get him to take a sip. most of all I let him rest he would throttle his temp himself by covering or uncovering as needed. everyday I was told by my mom “poor baby is sick you should take him to the hospital” my hubby was a little worried and eventually I broke down and said fine. while waiting in the ER just to go back his fever broke. and was back to the playful kid he was before he got sick. he wanted to go and check out everything in the hospital. I told the doctor that I let him rest , keep him hydrated and don’t give any fever reducers , he of course rolled his eyes commenting about the dangers of that, which freaks out my traditional hubby.

    the thing that ticked me off was the fact the doctor gave a prescription for antibiotics!!! even though his temp was normal and seemed like nothing was wrong!


  9. Thank you Katie! I love posts like this – our society is so used to grabbing over the counter meds for just about anything. We are not helping our bodies with it! We’ve just been in the middle of this – fevers running up to 105.6, which is where hub gave him acetaminophen… but according to our anthroposophical doctor, fevers usually don’t run much higher than 106.something and the temperature itself does not pose a risk. We now feel more confident, his body is just doing what it’s supposed to!

    May I add my favorite suggestion for staying hydrated? Coconut water blended with a banana. Super hydrating, nutritious and delicious!


  10. […] Don’t try to make a mild fever go away if present – fevers are your body’s natural way of defending itself. Read more about why here. […]


  11. I enjoyed reading the different methods you all use for fevers. As a paramedic, I am used to treating fevers in kids with paracetamol. Our main reason for reducing fevers in littlies is to reduce the risk of febrile convulsions. I have been to literally dozens in about 6years. I’d love to know your thoughts on this, and at would stage would you, if at all, administer some anti-pyretics?


  12. Both hubby & i would.get convulsions. I am interested in that side of it too. When is enough, enough. I also gave in and took paracetamol a couple of days ago when at work a headache i had suffered all day was turning migraine. I couldnt get my hands on anything else and.had to do.something. I hate taking it. Would love suggestions please.


  13. […] Why Not to Treat a Fever | Modern Alternative Health. […]


  14. I would like to say I’m a firm believer in alternative medicine when it’s safe. I’m allergic to many drugs doctors like to subscribe. But this article is incredible weak in its opening statement, “Fever reducers were not readily available until 100 years ago. Why turn to them now?” This statement irks me, and left me with a bad taste in my mouth the rest of the article. MANY THINGS DID NOT READILY EXISTS 100 YEARS AGO. People, also, died easily and earlier. Remove this careless sentence and your article will be much stronger.


  15. […] Fever reducers prevent the body from doing its job to heal the body. (Read more here) […]


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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