So you, or a loved one, is running a fever. First things first. Don’t panic. A fever—a temperature above 98.6—is a perfectly natural response by your body to an illness, and it’s actually part of the healing process.
In other words, your fever is literally helping to fight off the infection, so it’s a positive sign that your body is doing its job. And it’s also why you may want to consider letting the fever simply run its course.
Check in with your doctor to be sure, but in general if your fever doesn’t rise above 102.5 there’s usually not much reason to be concerned. And letting your fever do its job may even mean you recover more quickly in the end.
But if you’re very uncomfortable, or the fever is interfering with you getting some much-needed rest, you still might want to temporarily bring that temp down. Following are six sure-fire tricks for reducing your fever naturally, no drugs required.
1. Take a lukewarm bath:
The key to this fever-reducing trick is the temperature of the water. You shouldn’t be plunging yourself into an ice bath. The bath water should be no more than two degrees cooler than you are. Stay in the tub for about 20 minutes, or until you start to feel cooler. When you get out head straight back to bed and get under the covers. Don’t let yourself start shivering.
2. Try a sponge bath:
If you’re not feeling up to a soak, or don’t have a tub, try a sponge bath instead. Your water should be lukewarm, not cold. Focus on your groin area and armpits, the warmest spots on your body. As the water evaporates it will help cool you down lowering your temperature.
3. Use cool compresses:
Turns out mom had the right idea when she used cool cloths on your forehead and neck when you were sick. Science confirms cool compresses work. Dip a washcloth in cold, but not freezing, water and place it on your forehead or neck for five minutes or until the cloth becomes warm to the touch. Repeat until you feel more comfortable.
4. Sip a cup of tea:
Yarrow, elderflower or ginger herbal teas are all terrific choices for gently lowering your fever. Steep a couple teaspoons of any of them in hot water for 10 minutes, and sip. The teas will trigger sweating which in turn will help break your fever.
5. Turn up the heat:
Turning up the heat in your food is another easy and effective way to help break a fever. Simply sprinkle some capsaicin-rich cayenne pepper into your chicken noodle soup to trigger a bout of fever-reducing sweating.
6. Freeze some grapes:
This is, by far, our favorite fever reducer on the list. Simply put some fresh grapes in the freezer for at least two hours, then munch on the delicious frozen treats. The cold grapes will help bring your temperature down so you instantly feel more comfortable. Plus they’re a great source of infection-fighting vitamin C and will help you stay hydrated, too.