Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How do you make a fever go down?"
I have a fever because I have the flu. How do I make my fever go down? Should I keep warm or try to cool my body off with no blankets or a cold shower or something?
Fever is a natural body response to bacterial and viral invasions. When your immune cells (T and B lymphocytes) detect micro-organisms in the blood and produce special immunological signals called interleukins. It is these interleukins that signal your brain, the temperature regulation center, to turn up the temperature. When done in a controlled manner, a fever actually helps your body to fight off the offending bacteria or virus but slowing its replication and infection. At elevated temperature the majority of virus and bacteria do not function as well. Therefore, it is actually important for your body to support this process. However, there is "no real" harm in lowering your fever. A high or prolonged fever can be distressful, and you could take anti-diaphoretics, such as tylenol or ibuprofen, to lower the fever. You can also use a cool cloth for this purpose. However, it is important to remember that a prolonged fever takes a lot of energy from your body and also causes you to lose water through evaporation. Therefore, you should try to eat well to keep up with your body that needs energy to fight off the flu and to keep yourself well hydrated by sipping water or juice throughout the day. If your symptoms persist, you should follow up with a primary care physician who can further assess and treat you.
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