If you’ve ever watched your little one(s) suffering from a virus, then you know how tempting it can be to reduce their fever. And it’s so easy. You give them a little cup of children’s NSAID and suddenly everyone’s feeling happier, sleeping better, and (let’s be honest) whining a whole lot less. A win-win-win, right? If only it were that simple. The sad truth is there are consequences to using over-the-counter drugs to lower a fever. And while most pediatricians say they’re safe, new research is starting to challenge this advice.
For example, drug-based fever reducers not only place a burden on a child’s liver and stomach (as described on the warning labels), but acetaminophen has been linked to higher incidence of autism and brain damage in more than one study1, 2. Not only that, but few parents are made aware of the cardiovascular risks that come with NSAID use. How bad can it be for just a few days’ use? Believe it or not, short-term use of NSAIDs has been linked to a 50%-75% increased risk of heart attack or stroke3. To our knowledge, studies have not been done to assess the risk to children specifically, however given the delicate state of their developing organs it’s something every parent should be aware of.
Are fever reducers ever appropriate?
In a perfect world, you’d never have to use an NSAID. However, children do get hurt. Thus, our best advice as parents is to save them for times of emergency-pain—like when little fingers get shut in car doors or bones get broken or sprained—not for fevers.
So, is it ever appropriate to lower a fever? While we believe whole-heartedly that a fever is your immune system’s best ally in fighting infection, there’s nothing wrong with offering your child some immune-boosting comfort measures while they’re sick. This is especially true for young children who may be frightened or very upset by their spike in temperature. Plus, most doctors will tell you if a fever gets over 104, you need to reduce it. So it’s a good idea to have some natural fever-reducing methods up your sleeve (remedies that work with the body’s innate healing response, not against it).
Iodine baths: our go-to natural remedy for reducing fevers
I (Allison) learned about “Hygiene Baths (aka: iodine baths)” from Dr. Roy Dittman, OMD, MH, a renowned specialist in preconception health. Through many of his lifestyle and food-based supplement recommendations, my husband and I were able to overcome health issues and naturally conceive two healthy babies, so I have much respect for his advice!
When either of my girls exhibit ANY symptoms of sickness, I stick them in a hygiene bath. This is best used during an acute infection, cold, or flu.
My husband and parents have watched in awe as, time and again, this simple process has transformed their little bodies. While symptoms vary depending on the child, age, and sickness, we have noticed fevers come down drastically and moods/behavior completely transform.
Hygiene baths are a form of hydrotherapy (water therapy) used to reduce fever. Iodine is a powerful and natural antiseptic, thus its addition to the bath creates an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral effect and stimulates the transport of oxygen, nutrients, and waste products. It’s so simple, yet so effective, safe, and affordable for children (and adults) of all ages.
How to make an iodine bath
- Fill a standard-sized bathtub about halfway with filtered lukewarm water (80°F (27°C) to 90°F (32°C).
- Next, add about 1 cup of Morton’s Canning and Pickling Salt and about ¼ cup iodine* (4 Tablespoons). The exact amount isn’t needed, these are rough measurements.
- Then have your children soak for 10-30 minutes, the longer the better!
For babies who cannot sit on their own, you can get into the tub with them and either hold them and/or nurse them while they relax.
Though iodine is not considered an allergen since it occurs naturally in the body, certain medications, solutions, or products that contain iodine may cause a person to have a skin or allergic reaction. These reactions may even be caused by other substances that have been mixed with iodine. If you’re concerned about reactions, we recommend a simple skin test: place a drop of the iodine on the wrist or inside of the elbow. Wait 24-48 hours to see if any redness or reaction occurs.
If you plan on trying a hygiene bath the next time you or your children are sick, be proactive and do a skin test ASAP…no one wants to wait 24-48 hours when a fever strikes!
Want more tips on natural solutions for cold, flu, and other viruses?
Check out our previous articles:
- How to Avoid Cold and Flu this Season
- Our 9 Go-To Remedies for Cold and Flu
- Chicken Soup with Bone Broth (the #1 flu-fighting meal)
View our Sickness Highlight Reel on Instagram!