What do you do to get a fever down? Most people rely on medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, MotrinIB). While these drugs can reduce a temperature, they may not be necessary. Old-fashioned approaches might be all you need, as this reader reminds us.
How to Lower a Fever:
Q. You don’t need drugs to treat a fever. I used to put my kids in a bathtub with tepid to cool water to bring their temperatures down.
Like me, my children (now all grown) have never taken Tylenol or any other drugs, with the exception of the odd aspirin. We used honey and onion as the cure of the day for colds and sore throats. We all need to get back to nature now.
Hydrotherapy (Bath Water):
A. Long before there were fever-reducing drugs, doctors used hydrotherapy to bring down a fever. We found an article in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal of 1904. (Later this became The New England Journal of Medicine.) It pointed out that the Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen used cool water to treat a fever. Sponge baths were later prescribed to treat fever.
It isn’t necessarily helpful to lower an elevated temperature. Fever is part of the immune reaction to infection. Of course, if the immune system is overreacting or if the infection is a dangerous one, the patient will need medical attention. Pediatricians suggest that for a child, behavior is often a better guide than a thermometer. A child who is acting ill should be seen.
Adults, too, may benefit from an elevated temperature for an infection, but only up to a point. If they are seriously ill, they should be seen and treated.