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Feed a Fever? 4 Tips for Flu Season

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Last year in Clinical Pediatrics, a team of researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine published a paper called “Fever Literacy and Fever Phobia.” (1)

Sugar can prolong an illness by feeding the invading bacteria or virus.

A fever is a temperature over 100.4 Fahrenheit (38.0 Celsius).

It turns out that zero percent of parents and caregivers could correctly define a fever. And 93% of participants believed that high fever could cause brain damage.

Researchers report that for a “comfortable-appearing child with fever:”

  • 89% of parents and caregivers would give antipyretics (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen) to bring a fever down.
  • 86% of parents and caregivers would schedule a clinic visit.

Other studies on “fever phobia” report that over one third of parents and caregivers administer antipyretics inappropriately. (2)

What many people do not realize is that a fever is the result of the immune system fighting off viruses, bacteria, and yeast. A high fever slows down invading bugs so your immune system can try to regain control.

Research shows that fever-reducing drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen may increase rhinovirus shedding and make symptoms worse. (3) Children with chickenpox that received fever-reducing drugs had lesions for a longer amount of time. (4)

Lemon Socks


Is it really best to feed a fever and starve a cold? Homemade chicken soup, rich in gelatin, amino acids, and minerals, and fermented foods may be just what the doctor ordered.

One natural way to reduce discomfort while a fever runs its course is to make lemon socks:

  • Squeeze 3-5 lemons onto 2 washcloths.
  • Dampen the washcloths with warm water.
  • Wrap washcloths around feet and cover with socks.

Remove Sugar

Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition and nutritionist to the Los Angeles Lakers, explains in her book that a high-sugar diet weakens the immune system, changing “the surface markers your white blood cells need to distinguish between indigenous cells from invaders.” (5)

She points out that sugar forms a special cross-link with protein called an advanced glycation end product, or AGE. AGEs muddy the surface of cells, blocking receptors and slowing down performance. While white blood cells need glucose—or sugar—to fuel their activity and survive, research tells us that excess sugar is toxic to immune function. (6)

Sugar can prolong an illness by feeding the invading bacteria or virus.

Make Chicken Soup

Researchers at Nebraska Medical Center agree. In 2000, a group of researchers published a study confirming that chicken soup has an “anti-inflammatory effect” and may relieve symptoms of upper respiratory infection. (7)

Chicken soup is easy to digest. When made from scratch, it contains minerals, amino acids, and gelatin—all nutrients that your gut and immune system need to function optimally.

According to Chinese medicine, chicken is sweet, warming, and supportive of energy levels.

When making chicken soup, we suggest:

  • Ocean vegetables. Place a strip of kombu seaweed in your chicken soup as it cooks or open up a capsule of Ocean Plant Extract into your soup. Ocean vegetables like kombu are rich in iodine, a mineral essential for the thyroid and a healthy immune response.
  • Add herbs that help fight infection. This includes garlic, thyme, ginger, and cinnamon. While these herbs are not directly antiviral, they are warming. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of these herbs also reduce the risk of secondary infections that can cause pneumonia.

Don't Forget Fermented Foods

Hearty strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast work to replenish the inner ecosystem and force out pathogenic bugs that may be causing illness.

Drinking a few ounces of InnergyBiotic or Coconut Water Kefir throughout the day is a great way to repopulate the gut with probiotics and boost enzymes and electrolytes.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Don't be too quick to reach for the medicine the next time your child has a fever. Roughly one third of parents and caregivers administer such medicines inappropriately. Fever-reducing drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen may even make some symptoms worse, according to researchers.

Try 4 helpful tips to support your body during flu season this year:

  1. Use lemon socks to naturally reduce discomfort. Squeeze fresh lemons into washcloths, dampen with warm water, wrap around feet, and cover with socks.
  2. Cut out the sugar. Sugar may feed invading bacteria or viruses and prolong illness.
  3. Eat Mom's chicken soup. "Soup up" your soup by adding ocean vegetables or a capsule of Ocean Plant Extract for a rich source of iodine to support a healthy immune response.
  4. Enjoy fermented foods throughout the day. Just a few ounces of InnergyBiotic or Coconut Water Kefir will support gut and immune health with friendly probiotics, enzymes, and electrolytes.
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    • A raw, concentrated, exceptionally pure food supplement
    • 40 pounds of seaweed is used to make only one pound of extract
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    Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract and is simple and fun to make at home. To make kefir: Mix one packet with 1 quart of warm milk, cover and set at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

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  1. Wallenstein, M. B., Schroeder, A. R., Hole, M. K., Ryan, C., Fijalkowski, N., Alvarez, E., & Carmichael, S. L. (2013). Fever Literacy and Fever Phobia. Clinical pediatrics, 52(3), 254-259.
  2. Poirier, M. P., Collins, E. P., & McGuire, E. (2010). Fever phobia: a survey of caregivers of children seen in a pediatric emergency department. Clinical pediatrics, 49(6), 530-534.
  3. Graham NM, Burrell CJ, Douglas RM, et al. Adverse effects of aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen on immune function, viral shedding, and clinical status in rhinovirus-infected volunteers. J Infect Dis 1990; 162: 1277-1282.
  4. Doran TF, De Angelis C, Baumgardner RA, Mellits ED. Acetaminophen: more harm than good for chickenpox? J Pediatr 1989; 114: 1045-1048.
  5. Shanahan MD, Catherine (2011-04-22). Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food (Kindle Locations 3137-3138). Big Box Books. Kindle Edition.
  6. MacIver, N. J., Jacobs, S. R., Wieman, H. L., Wofford, J. A., Coloff, J. L., & Rathmell, J. C. (2008). Glucose metabolism in lymphocytes is a regulated process with significant effects on immune cell function and survival. Journal of leukocyte biology, 84(4), 949-957.
  7. Rennard, B. O., Ertl, R. F., Gossman, G. L., Robbins, R. A., & Rennard, S. I. (2000). Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. CHEST Journal, 118(4), 1150-1157.

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  • Kris

    I am curious as to what your opinion is on the safety of anything that comes from the ocean (plant or animal) at this time. With the continual radiation spill from Japan's Fukushima damaged nuclear facility I have serious concerns about any ocean food sources. Have any of your products been tested for radiation? Here in Seattle we are seeing some species of star fish melting and the researchers have serious concerns about the rate this species is being destroyed.

  • Rena howard

    Epsom salt baths quickly reduce the body aches from the flu and helps to pull toxins out of the body!

    However I was too weak for the first 2 days of the flu to bathe or do anything but lay in the bed.

    Hope this helps! Thanks for a great article and suggestions for future troubles!!

  • Breanne

    At what temp is it best to give a antipyretics? Does it depend on the persons age as to how high you let the fever go? As far as infants, toddlers, teenagers, adults, elderly?

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