Many of us know the feeling of a fever coming on: headaches, sweating, chills, weakness, etcetera. And while everyone generally knows the steps to take to treat a fever at home, there are many misconceptions that circulate about this ailment — some of which could put your health at further risk.
These are some common myths about fevers that should be debunked.
Common Misconceptions About Fevers
You Should Starve a Fever
This is a centuries-old myth that makes people falsely believe that fasting will help break a fever. On the contrary, your body needs proper nourishment when it’s fighting off an infection, so you should aim to stay well-hydrated and, although your appetite may be lessened, try to eat nutrient-rich foods.
The Higher the Temperature, the Worse to Illness
When an adult with a fully-formed immune system has a high temperature, it may indicate a more serious illness, since their body should otherwise be able to fight off a virus without becoming so hot.
However, children under the age of 12 do not have as efficient of immune systems yet, so they are more likely to develop a fever from a less severe illness, such as a cold, so a high temperature often isn’t something to overly worry about.
Anything Above 98.6 is Dangerous
While 98.6 is the commonly known “normal” temperature, the location of the body where you take that temperature can vary, causing the number to be slightly higher or lower. Additionally, your body’s temperature can change depending on the time of day and the age of the patient.
Treating a Fever at Home
If you do notice a rise in body temperature in yourself or your child, there are several things you can do at home to help.
Get plenty of rest
Consider a cold-compress on the forehead to help lower heat levels
Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen (speak to your doctor first to ensure you’re taking the right amount)