Fever and COVID-19
Fever is one of the most common presenting symptoms of a SARS-COV-2 infection.
In an observational study presented in the Clinical Infectious Disease Journal in March 2020, researches found that only 74.1% of severe cases of SARS-COV-2 presented with fever and in those that did have fever, it was significantly lower than in general patients. These findings suggest that patients with a weak fever response to the virus are more vulnerable to serious disease.
Fever: body temperature >100.4 F
Ideal microbe killing temperature: 102-103 F
Concerns with fever:
• Dehydration: >104 F
• Dangerous: > 107 F
• Febrile seizure:
• Most common ages 6mo-5y
• Often runs in families
• Triggered by fever >101 F
• Most brief (<15 minutes) seizures do not cause long term health consequences
• For more information visit: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/febrile-seizures-beyond-the-basics
Common fever drugs:
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol): 10–15 mg/kg/dose every 4–6 hours
• Ibuprofen (Advil): 5–10 mg/kg/dose every 8 hours
Cautions with Ibuprofen in SARS-COV-2 infection:
• May suppress antibody formation
• May increase ACE2, leading to increased viral entry into cells
Cautions with Acetaminophen (Tylenol):
• May suppress the liver’s production of glutathione, an important antioxidant
• Take 600mg NAC for adults or 200mg for children 3 times per day for 3 days after taking acetaminophen
Naturopathic treatment of fever:
First do no harm: If possible, avoid suppressing a fever <102-103F
• To lower the body temperature if fever is uncomfortable: Tepid (81–92F) or Neutral (93–96F) sponge baths (gentle friction promotes peripheral circulation and improves heat loss)
• Under a doctors supervision only, consider raising a weak (less than 102) fever using hyperthermic therapies (see post on hydrotherapy)
• Diaphoretics (sweat inducers): yarrow (Achillea millefolium), linden (Tilia tomentosa), meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria).
• Starve a fever: drink clear broth, electrolyte drinks or ice chips
Disclaimer: The information presented here is not medical advice. All cases of fever must be discussed with a doctor. Individual risk factors vary and must be reviewed with a medical professional.
Mo P et al. Clinical characteristics of refractory COVID-19 pneumonia in Wuhan, China. Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Mar 16. pii: ciaa270. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa270. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32173725
Febrile Seizures Fact Sheet. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders. March 16, 2020. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/febrile-seizures-fact-sheet