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Don't "Starve Your Fever"

Don't "Starve Your Fever"

"Starve a fever, but feed a cold." This saying plagues me every time I take the temperature of one of my girls. I always wonder where I learned it and if it is true. After researching it, I now know that this age-old maxim is not only not true, but that public-health officials have been working for years to debunk it.

The saying dates all the way back to 1574. At least the "starve a fever" part, for no one is sure when the second half was added. I guess maxims are more memorable when they contain pairs of things.

There seems to be no scientific evidence that supports fasting as a cure for a fever. However, when running a fever, it is best not to stress the body by not eating much. Chances are high (sorry for the pun) rich foods will have no real appeal if you're feverish. Stick to simple broths and toast.

If you have a cold there is nothing wrong with eating, but you just might not be able to taste it.


Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
ash-same here.
emalove emalove 9 years
I've heard this many times too, never believed it.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
When I'm sick I never want to eat anyways...
teknodukk teknodukk 9 years
Actually the saying goes "Feed a cold, starve a fever." I think this means that IF you feed a cold, THEN you starve a fever!
PrincessTracy PrincessTracy 9 years
That's good cuz I always get the saying confused and I never know when to starve when I'm sick.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I've always heard you're supposed to feed a cold because your appetite is bigger when you're sick with a non-fever. Any time I've ever had a fever, I usually don't really even feel like eating anything, so maybe people back in the day used to think not eating would make you better. I've always had the best luck with drinking lots of hot fluids (like tea and brothy soups), tomato juice, and lots of sleep.
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