If you are dripping the sweat off of your forehead right now while cluelessly looking for answers as to what your fever has to do with all that sweating, here’s your catch!
Sweating during fever is not a new phenomenon but it sure as hell creates an uncomfortable experience for a person who is already trying to recover from his or her fever.
If we talk about sweating and fever separately, these are two different body conditions.
Fever is a temporary increase in your body temperature, often due to an illness with the temperatures fluctuating now and then.
Sweating, on the other hand, is an outcome of response towards heat, stress, or any other medical condition. It is associated with a release of salty fluids from sweat glands.
Fever sweating is a very common condition experienced by many people. But is it good or bad for your health?
Why does the body sweat?
Well, sweating is one of the most important regulatory mechanisms of the body.
The main role of sweating is to cool down the internal temperature of the body and essentially balance the thermoregulation.
When the body overheats, sweating is a reaction process to bounce back the normal temperature. The antibodies fight the pathogens attacking the body and thus undergo changes that involve heat stimulation and thus an increase in body temperature.
In fact, sweating can release heat from the body at a rate that is more than ten times higher than a resting body can heat itself up.
Some of the reasons as to why sweating is important are –
- Circulation through the muscles and other tissues increases
- The skin releases certain toxins upon sweating which helps in detoxification.
- Prevent the formation of kidney stones by releasing extra salts from the body.
- Helps in opening up the skin pores and thus restricting bacteria entry and preventing skin problems like acne
Essentially, during fever, many people experience profuse sweating. This comes into play because fever raises the internal temperature of the human body.
Sweating during fever helps in cooling down this raised internal body temperature and thus prevents the body from getting heated quickly and balancing the thermoregulation.
Fever and sweating: The connection
When a person has a fever, the normal body temperature (which is around 98.6 degrees) starts changing and fluctuating and mostly rises.
Fever can be defined as an adaptive response of the body to infection, inflammation, stress, or trauma. If your body temperature constantly keeps rising and goes above normal or 100.4 degrees, it’s definitely a fever.
As the fever progresses and starts heating up the body, the following symptoms can be experienced-
- Lack of appetite
- Skin vasoconstriction
- Chills and goosebumps
Once a person’s fever runs its course, the body needs to lower its core temperature. That’s where fever sweating kicks in. Sweating is the body’s only way to regulate the normal temperature.
Does that mean sweating is helping in breaking your fever? Well, yes. Sweating does help in breaking the fever and bring back normal body temperature.
This is why you can find yourself profusely sweating during fever because your body is trying to adapt and cool down the fever-induced raised temperature.
Fever sweating is not a fun part of the whole course of your health problem but it has its share of benefits which help the body in self- responding towards fighting the fever.
Is it healthy to sweat out a fever?
It’s common to sweat when you’re having a fever. It means that your body is trying to cool down the internal temperature and is fighting off the infections which is a good thing.
Naturally sweating while having a fever is something not to get worried about. You can experience natural sweating at any time, either day or night.
However, the point of concern is when you intentionally try to make yourself sweat more in order to speed up your recovery process.
Well, this doesn’t work as effectively as you think. It isn’t unhealthy to sweat out your fever but there is no evidence that sweating it out intentionally will actually help you feel better faster.
Fever, in itself, isn’t an illness. It is an effect of the underlying health causes that you need to address.
So, as long as you are sweating profusely and your fever is cutting down, it’s good for you but if you forcefully try to sweat it up, then you may face dangerous side effects.
Also, there is no need to panic if your fever isn’t going down or coming back again, as in the case of COVID-19, where the symptoms return back even after recovering.
Fever takes its own time to fade away and prominently, it depends on the underlying cause and it may return even after you have got your normal temperature back.
Dangers of constant intentional fever sweating
If you are trying to sweat yourself up by exercising a lot or by covering yourself in multiple blankets or by trying to raise the room temperature, that may lead to more health losses than any benefit.
The potential outcomes of fever constant fever sweating can be-
- Increased fever
If your fever is already high, sweating it out might actually make it even higher. Skin is a heat-losing organ so it is wise to wear loose clothing and remove excess blankets. This helps in cooling down the body temperature.
This is one of the most underappreciated outcomes of fever sweating. As much as sweating helps you cool down, too much of it can lead to major fluid and electrolyte losses leading to dehydration which can further worsen the condition.
- Exhaustion and fatigue
Fighting off infection and having a higher body temperature can actually leach out a lot from your body including your strength and immunity.
If you exercise more than required just to sweat it out more during your fever, it may lead to weakness, fatigue, and many other health complications.
To prevent these dangerous side-effects of fever sweating, make sure you do not force sweating it out. Let it come out naturally and perform its work.
Secondly, focus on your hydration the most. Fever usually calls for NOT feeling like drinking or eating much, but to control the constant sweating and maintain the fluid balance of the body, it is important to hydrate yourself.
It is not advised to keep drinking water out of your body capacity, but keep in mind your regular intake. Instead of only water, try to consume more natural electrolyte drinks like coconut water, warm milk, or sometimes, energy drinks.
You can also indulge electrolyte and water-rich foods like citrus fruits, watermelon, avocados, green leafy vegetables, etc. in your diet to rehydrate.
All these additional options will not only make up for your fluid and electrolyte losses but will also help you gain energy and recover sooner.
When to see a doctor?
A low-grade fever doesn’t always need medical attention. But a fever can be an indicator of serious illness if it’s not coming down even after a long time.
If you are facing the following symptoms while in fever, you may want to rush to a doctor-
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Convulsions light sensitivity
- Mental confusion
- Severe headache
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme weakness
A doctor usually prescribes some medicines/syrups which help in bringing the fever down quickly.
Note: These medications can make you sleepy and also cause sweating to help cool down the internal temperature.
Sweating during a fever is not a very life-threatening or dangerous situation. It’s a bodily response to fight off the infections and bring your internal temperature to normal from being too high.
What you need to keep in mind is to let it sweat naturally and NOT intentionally. Maintaining proper hydration levels is beneficial during fever so take a watch on your diet.