The cold chills. The hot flashes. The aches and pains. If you've been hit with a fever, there's usually no denying it. A sure sign that your body's fighting an infection or illness like the flu, fevers are generally marked by a temperature of over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit. And since Americans are hit the hardest by winter woes like cold and flu during January and February, chances are you and your family may fall victim to a fever this season. So if you're fighting a fever - or trying to help your child overcome one - here are some top tips to bring it down.
Health tips to fight fevers
Health tip #1: Medicate to mend
One of the most rapid ways to bring down a fever is to pop either acetaminophen or ibuprofen (any store brand will do). Taking two tablets every six to eight hours should be sufficient in keeping you comfy – and keeping your fever down.
Health tip #2: Hydrate for health
As your temperature rises, your body rapidly loses fluids, mostly through sweat. To prevent dehydration, sip fluids throughout the day. Go for water, caffeine-free drinks or juices. Whatever you're sipping, shoot for at least two liters a day. How to tell you're adequately hydrating? A good sign is frequent bathroom breaks – at least once every two hours.
Health tip #3: It's okay to eat
Despite the old adage suggesting you "starve a fever," experts say eating is essential to a rapid recovery. In fact, researchers from Michigan State University recently reported that people with a fever should feast since a lower calorie consumption may weaken the body's ability to generate the cells used to fight an infection, possibly resulting in a longer illness. The best fever-fighting foods? Vegetable soups and other simple foods like whole grains and steamed veggies. And if you just can't bring yourself to have a bite, try sipping a nutrient- and antioxidant-packed vegetable or fruit juice.
Health tip #4: Rest up
If you're feeling feverish, head straight to your bed – or the couch. Going to work, working out, or even trying to run errands while you have a fever may just make you feel worse as the extra action adds stress to your body. Stay put until your fever goes down and then slowly ease back into your normal routine. Can't sleep? A warm or tepid bath (choose whatever temperature is most comfortable for you) may help you relax.
Health tip #5: Cool down
When a fever spikes and you're feeling extra-hot, ease your sweltering skin down by placing a cool washcloth on your forehead (leave the ice packs in the freezer, since they can burn your skin). And because heavy blankets and comforters may drive up your fever even more, snuggle up in soft, light sheets instead.
If your fever tops the 100.5 F. mark for more than two days, or is associated with head or neck pain, see your doctor as soon as you can to rule out a more serious illness.
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Cold and flu? Not you!