Even though fevers are a literal pain to deal with, think of them as your body’s early warning system. Most fevers are caused by infections—so your body jacks up the temperature by moving blood from the surface of your skin toward the interior of your body instead. This puts your immune system in overdrive, making it harder for the bacteria causing the infection to thrive. With blood so far from the skin, your body loses less heat and voilà! You have a fever.
Although 98.6°F is considered a normal temperature, that can be flexible. Everyone has their own “normal” temperature, which actually fluctuates up and down throughout the day—eating food, wearing excess clothing, feeling really excited, and vigorous exercise can all spike your body temperature.
But if your temperature hits 100°F, consider it a mild fever, says Nita Parikh, MD, an internal medicine specialist with Community Care Physicians in Latham, New York. Read on to find out what you can do to feel better ASAP.
1First, wait it out
If you do have a fever, remember this: Fever itself is not an illness—it’s a symptom of one. So, in essence, your body’s natural defenses can actually shorten an illness with its quick response and increase the power of antibiotics. These natural processes should be weighed against the discomfort involved in not medicating a slight fever and letting it run its course, says Stephen N. Rosenberg, MD, author of The Johnson & Johnson First-Aid Book.
Opt for ice
If you’re too nauseated to drink, you can suck on ice. For variety, freeze diluted fruit juice in an ice-cube tray.