In our modern world, obsessed with getting rid of uncomfortable symptoms as quickly as possible, even the savviest crunchy mama can worry when their child has a fever. There are many benefits of fevers, as I’ll outline below. However, there are times when a fever gets too high, and in those cases, this “old wives’ tale” will be your new standard go-to.
Of course use your best judgment before considering any alternative treatment. If your child is listless, not taking in fluids, lethargic, or has a very high temperature please seek medical attention. This is not intended to be taken as medical advice, it simply describes an old remedy that has been used for many years.
The Benefits of Fevers
Research has found that a raised body temperature starts a series of actions in the body that regulate our immune system. In fact, a fever triggers cellular mechanisms that tell our immune system to take action to fight off the virus or bacteria.
Here are some specific benefits of fevers:
- Elevated body temperatures increase white blood cell formation, encouraging our immune response. White blood cells kill the invading virus or bacteria, so having more of them means they can work faster to improve your child’s health.
- Higher body temperatures decrease iron, zinc, and copper levels in the bloodstream. All three of these are required for bacterial reproduction, so a fever starves bacteria.
- Elevated body temperatures kill off microorganisms, keeping them from growing and reproducing in the body. Viruses and bacteria grow and replicate best at lower temperatures.
- Fevers cause a chain reaction to break down and kill viral cells before reproducing.
- Cellular clean-up (phagocytosis) increases to help your child’s immune system work faster at getting you back to health.
Based on all this scientific evidence, it’s better to let a fever run its course rather than trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Is a High Fever Dangerous?
We’ve all heard that a high fever is dangerous for our little ones. And that’s true. You want to bring down your child’s fever in these situations:
- An infant under three months old, no matter their temperature. This can signify a bacterial infection that could become life-threatening quickly.
- A child with a fever higher than 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- A child who has experienced a febrile seizure.
- A child with a fever accompanied by a stiff neck or who cries when touched or moved.
- A child with a fever and is lethargic.
- A fever lasting five or more days.
Although these situations do occur, they are rare. It’s also good to know that fevers tend to rise in the late afternoon and evening due to how our body temperature regulates itself. If you notice this in your child, but the above issues aren’t a factor, you don’t necessarily need to be alarmed.
Why Not to Use OTC Medication to Bring Down Fever
I can’t say it’s easy to watch your child be uncomfortable when they have a fever. As a mom, all you want is for your child to feel better. But in the long run, it’s better for them to experience a little discomfort than to suppress it. Let’s look at studies that prove why avoiding OTC medication, such as acetaminophen is best for your child. Scientific studies found:
- Acetaminophen and aspirin reduce the production of antibodies and actually increase cold symptoms in adults. Suppressing a fever also makes the sick person contagious for a more extended time.
- Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, inhibit white blood cells production by up to 50%.
- Compared to the placebo treatment, children who took acetaminophen when infected with chickenpox experienced prolonged itching and scab production.
- Aspirin suppresses the ability of white blood cells to kill off bacteria.
So, while it’s challenging to watch your little one suffer from a fever, you’re actually doing them a favor by letting it run its course.
How to Lower Your Child’s Fever with Egg Whites
While in most cases, a fever isn’t dangerous for your child, if you are starting to get concerned, this home remedy can put your mind (and your child’s body) at ease. Using egg whites to bring down fever has been used in folk medicine for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Basically, it’s another form of poultice or compress. One of the best things about it, in my opinion, is there’s no need to run to the 24-hour drugstore in the middle of the night to relieve fever. Everything you need, you no doubt always have right in your home.
Using egg whites to reduce a fever has been around for many years. Although there’s no scientific proof this works, the tremendous number of anecdotal cases I found made it a no-brainer to use on my own children. And I can tell you, it WORKS! Even though we aren’t sure why this simple remedy keeps your child’s fever in the safe zone without the side effects from OTC medicines. (Gotta love Mother Nature!)
Preparing the Remedy
- Crack two eggs into a bowl. Remove the yolks.
- Whisk the whites, so they are frothy.
- Dip socks into the egg whites.
- Place the egg-soaked socks on your child’s feet.
That’s it! You’ll see the fever go down within 10 minutes to an hour. Once their fever is within a more comfortable range, remove the socks and allow their body to fight the infection naturally. If needed, you can always reapply the method again later.
Keeping Feverish Kids Comfortable…Naturally
There are various ways to keep your kiddos more comfortable, even when allowing a fever to run its course. One of the most important things is to keep them super hydrated since fevers can dehydrate them. Try these natural drinks that encourage immunity, unlike sugary drinks.
Herbal teas that include diaphoretic herbs Diaphoretic herbs cause involuntary sweating that cools the body, reduces fever, and improves detoxification. Here are a few herbs to use in teas:
While you may feel like a bad mama allowing your child’s fear to continue without intervention, the benefits of fevers are impossible to ignore. In the long run, your kiddo will be back to their old self faster if you let it run its course. If you are worried that a high fever is dangerous, using egg whites to bring it down naturally is the ideal option to bring it down to a more comfortable level.
P.S. If raw eggs gross you out, you can try another really easy method of reducing a fever, give my wet sock therapy a try!