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You Have a Fever—Now What?

Follow these tips to make your fever as painless as possible.


Cooler temperatures bring cold and flu season—which means runny noses, phlegmy coughs, and, worst of all, fevers. Nothing is more tempting when you have a fever than curling up in your comfiest pajamas and trying to move as little as possible. And while you should do that as much as you can, there are other things you can do to feel better too:

Drink up. When you have a fever, you’re at risk of becoming dehydrated. To keep yourself from having to continuously get up, fill a pitcher of water and keep it close by. Try to finish a glass of water by the end of every episode as you binge-watch your favorite, most comforting TV show.

Keep cool. You may have heard that it’s good to “sweat it out,” but you’re better off adjusting your clothes and the room temperature so you’re comfortable and not overheated (you also shouldn’t be freezing). Wear light clothes and use a light blanket, not your full comforter. If you find that you feel cold, add more layers as necessary. 

Try a fever-lowering medicine. Once the fever hits, you can take an over-the-counter fever reducer like Advil, which contains ibuprofen. And if your fever gets worse or lasts more than three days, consult your doctor.

Draw a lukewarm bath. Make sure your bath is lukewarm and not cold. While you might think a cold bath will reduce your temperature when you have a fever, it can actually make things worse by causing you to shiver, which makes your temperature go up. But once you’ve taken medicine, a lukewarm bath can help keep your temperature down. 

Feed yourself. Sure, you need sustenance when you’re sick (but don’t force yourself to eat too much if you feel like you can’t!). The name of the game here is to get the most bang for your buck—nutritious food for minimal work. So pull out your slow cooker, look up your favorite one-pan dish, or treat yourself to some soup via delivery. Focus your energy on resting up and getting better.