We’re at the end of summer, with Back-To-School around the corner. Usually at this time I’m helping families boost their immune systems to prepare for viral illnesses that come up in the Fall and Winter. However, we’re seeing a surge of sickness here in the Summer, while still dealing with Covid-19 and it’s variants. I feel that right now people need reminders of how to treat themselves at home if they do get sick. I’ve counseled families a few times this week about how to manage a fever at home, which is a main concern when sick. So that’s what we’re going to be focusing on in this article.
My advice as a Chinese Medicine practitioner is likely different from what your doctor may advise because of my emphasis on natural solutions. I do believe this is a safer and more effective way to deal with the situation and to help your body heal quicker. Whatever you decide to listen to is up to you though! Trust your gut. Read on to learn how to manage a fever at home naturally with Chinese Medicine, acupressure, essential oils, and other natural health techniques.
When To Reduce A Fever
First, consider not reducing the fever at all!
Fever is one of the body’s best defenses for dealing with infections. The heat kills microorganisms and prevents them from multiplying in the body. The heat also increases our circulation so that they are expelled quickly from the body through our elimination pathways. We need to keep this in mind when we get sick!
A strong fever response is indicative of a strong, healthy immune system, and we don’t want to diminish it. Reducing a fever and slow the body’s ability to heal and allow more time for the pathogen to replicate in the body.
The thing is, we’ve all heard scary stories about people experiencing febrile seizures, which are usually associated with viral infections (and even vaccinations!). No one wants to have a seizure and they fear that brain damage will occur from that (which isn’t even true). So they want to immediately bring the fever down or keep it below a certain temperature. But the fear around this in the medical world is diminishing as we dispel some myths and learn more about the benefits of fever.
Some doctors are saying that people shouldn’t even be concerned about the actual number indicated on the thermometer. And that the only reason someone should try to reduce their fever is if they’re extremely uncomfortable.
Why you should avoid using Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen
Now if you decide to reduce the fever, you can do it with medications or with natural alternatives.
I prefer managing fevers naturally because of the side effects of fever-reducing drugs like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (Ibuprofen), and Alleve (Naproxen).
But there’s even more complications that can arise, especially around Covid-19 infections:
- Ibuprofen has been thought to increase ACE2 receptors that SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect cells. As a result, researchers theorize that it could make the virus spread faster.
- Acetaminophen reduces intracellular glutathione levels. Glutathione deficiency has been noted in people most susceptible to Covid-19. These people are likely to also have Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, Obesity, Respiratory Diseases, or other chronic health issues. Reducing a fever with Tylenol can actually make it more challenging for you to heal and may actually worsen symptoms!
Fever is more serious when accompanied by a stiff neck, hallucinations, and confusions. Please seek emergency care if you encounter any of these symptoms.
Natural Ways To Manage A Fever
I have several methods of managing a fever naturally that I turn to when my son is sick. These have worked so well for my family, that not once have I bought any fever-reducing medications. I recommend these methods to my clients too, who always have great success.
It’s important to note that these natural methods work in the following ways, which is different from fever-reducing drugs. These natural remedies:
- increase one’s comfort level while their body is feverish
- actively fight the infection, thereby reducing the body’s need to spike a fever
- support the body’s ability to heal
These methods do not prevent your body from doing what is natural, with mounting a fever to protect itself.
Peppermint Essential Oil & Cool Washcloth
This is my #1 go-to when I’m dealing with a fever. A cool washcloth on the forehead and/or on the back of the neck will help one feel cooler. I always do this to help my son relax enough to go back to sleep. Adding 1-2 drops of high-quality peppermint or spearmint essential oils will increase the cooling effect.
Several acupoints have the ability to regulate the body’s response to pathogens and manage fever. See the video above for a visual of the points.
Popular body acupoints to mange fever
LI4 – on outside of hand at the corner of the crease between thumb and 1st finger
LI11 – at the end of the elbow crease on outside of arm
Du14 – below the 7th cervical vertebra
UB11 – bilateral, in the center of the paraspinal muscles in line with the 1st thoracic vertebra.
Auriculotherapy (ear acupressure)
Auriculotherapy uses points mapped on the ear to help regulate body function. When dealing with a fever, you can use your fingers, a small probe, or ear seeds to stimulate these points a few times a day:
Ear apex – the upper most part of the ear
Hot – on the upper part of the antihelix in line with the ear apex.
Chinese herbs actively work to weaken the pathogen while strengthening the body’s ability to expel it. It’s a complicated process that should be monitored by a Chinese Medical Practitioner, Herbalist, or Acupuncturist. The herbal formula needs to match your symptoms and constitution. Otherwise, minor side effects may arise or they just may not be as effective.
Note that sometimes you may feel temporarily worse before you get better. It’s important to stick with the course of herbs until symptoms are gone, otherwise. But usually fever is an early symptom that tends to resolve within a couple of days, depending on the illness.
Essential Oils For Immune Support
Many essential oils have antiviral function. You can choose a one or more to apply topically to the body. Diluting with a carrier oil keep the essential oil on the skin longer so it’s better able to be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. Essential oils are able to penetrate into the lipid membrane of cells, helping to stop viral replication in our bodies.
My favorite blend to use on kids is the Stronger essential oil blend from doTERRA. It contains Frankincense, Rose, Litsea, and Cedarwood. You can roll it along the spine or place on the soles of the feet.
You can check out this Back To School Kit of essential oils that I’ve curated myself. It includes the Stronger blend as well as many other products to keep your kids healthy (includes wholesale account starter fee).
I hope these pointers help you feel less afraid and more confident when one of you has a viral fever. The goal is to stay comfortable and rest while your body heals! You want to stay out of the hospital with secondary infections, so let the body heal completely the way nature intended to prevent any relapses!
Have you tried any of these natural remedies for fever? I’m interested to hear about how they worked for you, in the comments below. Well wishes to you and your family!