How does cold water help to overcome high fever?

How does cold water help to overcome high fever?

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Why cold water helps to overcome from high fever in body? As fever is inside the body and we're applying cold water over the body!

As far as how the water cools the body it's simply a matter of physics. Water has a higher specific heat also called heat capacity than the air, clothes, or other matter that normally surrounds the body.

Specific heat refers to the amount of heat (keep in mind that heat is essentially the measure of the average movements of the molecules in a substance) per unit of mass it would take to raise it's temperature by 1 degree Celsius. Water is useful for temperature regulation because it takes so much energy for it to change temperatures. Metals tend to have low specific heats which is why we make frying pans out of metals like iron. They take less energy to become hot.

As systems naturally fall back to equilibrium, if the body is hotter than the water heat will be transferred from the body into the water until they are the same temperature which will be a lot closer to the temperature of the water (compared to the initial temp of the body) because changing the temperature of water 1 degree takes more heat energy than changing the same mass of human to change 1 degree in temperature.

While this primarily acts on the outer portions of the body, the process continues into the core of the body as now instead of having hot skin and cold water, you have hot muscles and cold skin, from there you have hot organs and cold muscles, and so on and so on.

I hope this is helpful! For more information on specific heat you can check out:

Fever is triggered when pyrogens cause release of prostaglandin that acts on hypothalamus (which is the center of thermoregulation).

Fever assists in the healing process by:

  • enhancing phagocytosis
  • decreasing negative effects of endotoxins
  • stimulates proliferation of lymphocytes

Although is a good reaction, when the temperature gets too high it could determine negative effects, like convulsions at children. Brain damage appears when the temperature rises as much as 42 degrees Celsius, and most febrile conditions go up to 40.6 degrees Celsius.

So fever must be kept under control, and cold water helps lowering body temperature. Lowering the temperature will prevent negative effects of fever. Cold water is a symptomatic treatment for fever. Most important is to determine cause of fever and do an ethiological treatment.

Source: Wikipedia contributors, "Fever," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 27, 2014).

Fever can be associated with other symptoms too. They include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Exhaustion and lethargy

Or any other symptoms, depending upon the cause of fever and the disease pattern going on in the body, presenting as fever.

How to Reduce a Fever

This article was medically reviewed by David Nazarian, MD. Dr. David Nazarian is a board certified Internal Medicine Physician and the Owner of My Concierge MD, a medical practice in Beverly Hills California, specializing in concierge medicine, executive health and integrative medicine. Dr. Nazarian specializes in comprehensive physical examinations, IV Vitamin therapies, hormone replacement therapy, weight loss, platelet rich plasma therapies. He has over 16 years of medical training and facilitation and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He completed his B.S. in Psychology and Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, his M.D. from the Sackler School of Medicine, and a residency at Huntington Memorial Hospital, an affiliate of the University of Southern California.

There are 44 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Having a fever is a common symptom of viruses, infections, sunburn, heat-stroke, or even prescription medication. [1] X Research source The body's temperature rises as a natural defense against infection and disease. An area of the brain called the hypothalamus regulates body temperature, which fluctuates throughout the day from the normal level of 98.6 °F (37.0 °C) by a degree or two. A fever is most commonly defined as a rise in body temperature above the normal body temperature of 98.6 °F (37.0 °C). [2] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source While a fever is a natural process that can help your body heal, there are situations in which you may wish to ease the discomfort that fevers bring or even visit a doctor.

Fever is a common condition but can take a drastic face when not taken proper care of. Some instances of fever(2) are severe, and one should seek medical guidance for the treatment.

Severe headaches or sore throats might be a sign of viral infection, and one should see a doctor immediately. In certain conditions, severe stomachache or nausea can be a condition of disease or typhoid and should be treated with proper medication immediately.

Fever is not a severe condition and is common in small children. No matter what, taking a bath for fever is entirely safe. Even doctors recommend the same.

Baths give a refreshing feeling, and with specific ingredients even help lower the temperatures by removing toxins.

Remember, fever is a condition when your body fights some underlying cause. If the temperature persists, seek medical help immediately.

1. What Are the Precautions During Fever?

Fever is not severe but can be a cause of some underlying disease. From an injury to even cancer, fever can be a result of any condition. One must not take cold or ice baths during fever as they might result in shivering. Avoid taking aspirin and take plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration.

2. What Are the Best Home Remedies for Fever?

Fever, in some cases, can be treated easily at home. Some of the home remedies are taking proper rest, eating healthy foods like soups, using herbal teas, etc. Using some herbal ingredients like Moringa and Kudzu root can also be used as a home remedy for fever.

3. How Are Herbs Beneficial for Fever?

Herbs like moringa and kudzu root are natural ingredients that help reduce body temperature. Their anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties help reduce the harmful microbes present in the body and result in reduced temperature.

4. Which Diet Is Right for Fever?

Taking fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals helps give the energy to fight against fever. Apart from that, using garlic, ginger, or tulsi can also prove useful in treating fever.

Do I need to call a doctor about our baby’s fever?

If you meet the following criteria… YOU NEED TO CALL A DOCTOR:

  1. If your child is younger than three months.
  2. If your baby is 3 to 5 months old and has a temperature of 101 degrees or higher.
  3. If your baby is 6 months old and has a temperature of 102 or higher.
  4. If the fever is accompanied by other symptoms, like trouble breathing, discoloration of the skin (purple/blue), or has had a fever for several days in a row.

If I don’t fall into one of those categories, I usually try to handle it at home. As soon as I feel our kids starting to heat up, I grab my thermometer. I used to just take a guess, but my mom is a nurse and she always reminds me that the doctor will ask for the exact number… so I try to take their temperature as soon as I’m concerned.

Wet Sock Treatment

Before bed, soak your feet in warm water while soaking a pair of socks or a washcloth in cold water. When you remove your feet from the warm water, apply the slightly wringed-out socks or washcloths to your feet, then cover them with a pair of dry socks to lock the moisture in. This procedure sends messages to your brain to send more blood to your lower extremities, which improves blood flow, increases circulation, and helps your body recover from sickness more swiftly in the process. Source:

Meet Your Daily Fluid Needs

When you are sick, you may not feel like eating or drink anything. Your body, however, requires a minimum amount of water each day to function normally and clear toxins — regardless of whether you're sick or well. You may find liquids more appealing than solid foods when you're under the weather, so that may help.

To meet your daily requirements, shoot for a minimum of approximately one gallon of water daily if you're a man, and roughly three quarts if you're a woman. If you are vomiting, have diarrhea or a fever, try to increase your fluid intake to make up for these additional losses of body water.

Soup, broth, frozen ice pops, gelatin, fruit juices and sports drinks are good options to maintain your hydration. Avoid caffeinated beverages, because they cause increased water loss through the kidneys, which works against your goal of staying hydrated.


The physiological response results in temporary breathlessness and vasoconstriction.

It is possible to undergo physiological conditioning to reduce the cold shock response, and some people are naturally better suited to swimming in very cold water. Adaptations include the following:

  1. having an insulating layer of body fat covering the limbs and torso without being overweight [1]
  2. ability to experience immersion without involuntary physical shock or mental panic [1]
  3. ability to resist shivering [1]
  4. ability to raise metabolism (and, in some cases, increase blood temperature slightly above the normal level) [citation needed]
  5. a generalized delaying of metabolic shutdown (including slipping into unconsciousness) as central and peripheral body temperatures fall. [citation needed]

In these ways, winter swimmers can survive both the initial shock and prolonged exposure. Nevertheless, the human organism is not suited to freezing water: the struggle to maintain blood temperature (by swimming or conditioned metabolic response) produces great fatigue after thirty minutes or less. [3]

Conditioning against the cold shock response is an effective and cost efficient way to prevent drowning. [4] Those who benefit the most from the habituation of a cold shock response are athletes, soldiers and those who are at risk of cold water immersion. [4]

A cold shock is when bacteria undergo a significant reduction in temperature, likely due to their environment dropping in temperature. To constitute as a cold shock the temperature reduction needs to be both significant, for example dropping from 37°C to 20°C, and it needs to happen over a short period of time, traditionally in under 24 hours. [5] Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells are capable of undergoing a cold shock response. [6] The effects of a cold shock in bacteria include: [7]

  • Decreased cell membrane fluidity
  • Decreased enzyme activity
  • Decreased efficiency of transcription and translation
  • Decreased efficiency of protein folding
  • Decreased ribosome function

The bacteria uses the cytoplasmic membrane, RNA/DNA, and ribosomes as cold sensors in the cell, placing them in charge of monitoring the cell’s temperature. [6] Once these sensors send the signal that a cold shock is occurring, the bacteria will pause the majority of protein synthesis in order to redirect it’s focus to producing what are called cold shock proteins (Csp). [8] The volume of the cold shock proteins produced will depend on the severity of the temperature decrease. [9] The function of these cold shock proteins is to assist the cell in adapting to the sudden temperature change, allowing it to maintain as close to a normal level of function as possible. [6]

One way cold shock proteins are thought to function is by acting as nucleic acid chaperones. These cold shock proteins will block the formation of secondary structures in the mRNA during the cold shock, leaving the bacteria with only single strand RNA. [7] Single strand is the most efficient form of RNA for the facilitation of transcription and translation. This will help to counteract the decreased efficiency of transcription and translation brought about by the cold shock. [9] Cold shock proteins also affect the formation of hairpin structures in the RNA, blocking them from being formed. The function of these hairpin structures is to slow down or decrease the transcription of RNA. So by removing them, this will also help to increase the efficiency of transcription and translation. [9]

Once the initial shock of the temperature decrease has been dealt with, the production of cold shock proteins is slowly tapered off. [7] Instead, other proteins are synthesized in their place as the cell continues to grow at this new lower temperature. However, the rate of growth seen by these bacterial cells at colder temperatures is often lower than the rates of growth they exhibit at warmer temperatures. [5]

In humans, the temperature to initiate a cold shock response begins at <15 °C (59 °F). [10] Within the first three minutes of cold water immersion, the skin begins to cool. [10] Within thirty minutes, the human body begins to experience neuromuscular cooling, and then, after thirty minutes, the human body experiences hypothermia. [10]

Cold water immersion tactics are often employed by athletes to reduce the chance of heat illness and is employed to speed up muscle recovery and reduce soreness. [10]

Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 Common Cold

The Common Cold or Cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, mainly affecting the nose. The disease also affects the sinuses, ears, and bronchial tubes sometimes. The Common Cold symptoms are - headache, runny nose, irritating throat, cough, tiredness, hoarseness, fever, and non-stop sneezing. The virus usually lasts for three to seven days. 

What Causes the Common Cold?

Read on further to know what causes the Common Cold.

  • Rhinovirus – This Rhinovirus generally imposes your system through early fall, spring, and summer. They are behind 10% - 40% of the common cold, viral infection. However, these are the leading mutual viruses that affect the person they would hardly ever make someone extremely sick.
  • Coronavirus – The Coronavirus affects the human system through winter and the spring. The infectious virus is responsible for causing 20% of colds. There are 30 varieties of coronavirus out in the open. Out of them, 3 to 4 are harmful.
  • RSV and Parainfluenza – These microorganisms cause severe infections like pneumonia which are usually found in young children.


Sometimes a Common Cold may turn more severe in the form of Pneumonia. It is a lung infection with indications of a cough, diarrhea, fever, and significant breathing difficulty. Few other symptoms would include –

  • A cough, i.e., a mucus from the lungs, which might be rusty, green, or tinted with blood.
  • “Teeth Chattering Chills” and Shaking.
  • Fast heartbeat, breathing and feeling breathlessness.
  • Chest pain that regularly feels worse when you cough or breathe.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Feeling tired or very weak.

A person suffering from a common cold can infect another. When someone touches any surface or object used by them, they may get infected by germs on that object. The virus then may reach the nose or mouth, thus infecting the person. 

A sneeze from the person affected by Common Cold can infect you. Even their sneeze can contaminate the air, and if you are within their vicinity, getting infected might be a possibility as you will breathe in the same air. 

When the virus gets to the inside layer of the nose or throat, the infection starts. The body’s immunity charges up the white blood cells to prevent further infection.

Common Cold Symptoms and Signs

Care must be taken after noticing a few Common Cold Symptoms. When a person is attacked by the common cold, the following symptoms are observed:

Primary Symptoms:

  • A sore or scratchy throat.
  • Sneezing.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Cough.
  • Running Nose.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Mucus draining from nose to the throat.

Secondary Common Cold Symptoms:

  • High fever.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Headache.
  • Lack of appetite.

How to Prevent the Common Cold?

It is almost impossible to prevent the spread of the common cold entirely, but a person can take some definite measures to reduce the probability of catching a cold. A few of those preventive measures are as follows:

  1. Wash hands repeatedly – It is perhaps the best measure to prevent the transmission of cold or any other type of infection. Using sanitizer while being in any public place is essential. Also, one must wash hands before eating. Explain the importance of hand-wash to the kids too.
  2. Avoid Touching Your Face – Try to avoid touching your face, mouth, nose, and eye parts when you are near an individual infected with the cold.
  3. Control Stress – Individuals facing emotional stress often have a weaker immune system, suggesting that they might catch a cold easily. A good piece of advice would be to reduce stress and live a healthy life.
  4. Cleanliness – Keep household exteriors like - doorknobs, drawer pulls, keyboards, light switches, telephones, remote controls, countertops, and sinks hygienic and clean. 
  5. Avoid SmokingSmoking in any form might raise the odds in favor of getting infected by the virus. One must stay away from passive smoking as well.
  6. Drink an Adequate Quantity of Water – Drink a lot of fluids like - water, juice, broth, warm lemon water, chicken soup, and additional warm fluids. All these will help a person to keep the Common Cold Virus at bay! 

Few Myths About the Common Cold

Here, let&aposs bust a few myths about the Common Cold. It is important to remember that getting chilly or wet doesn&apost initiate any fever like the common cold. A person gets infected with a cold only when the person is additionally prone to it. One&aposs lifestyle and way of living are the core of any sickness.

When a person is tremendously tired or under emotional stress or has allergies to the nose and throat, a person is vulnerable to cold. Another myth states that a person&aposs diet is the basis of such sickness or infection, which is not true. Also, tonsils or adenoids are not the core reason for catching a common cold. 

Sample Questions

Ques. Can Common Cold spread easily?

Ans. The common cold is an infectious disease. It is usually spread over airborne droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by a sick individual. A person may get infected through the infected air or by coming into contact with an infected person. 

Ques. What are the Common Cold Symptoms?

Ans. Various Common Cold Symptoms will make one aware of an impending infection. These symptoms are:

  • A cough (mucus from the lungs, which might be rusty, green, or tinted with blood).
  • Rapid heartbeat, breathing and feeling breathlessness.
  • Chest pain while coughing or breathing.
  • Vomiting.
  • “Teeth Chattering Chills” and Shaking.
  • Nausea.
  • Feeling tired or very weak.

Ques. How can a common cold be treated?

Ans. The common cold can be treated through the following measures - 

  • Resting at home.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Gargling with saltwater.
  • Taking medicines like ibuprofen.
  • Also, taking steam will help.

Ques. Could my common cold symptoms be allergies?

Ans. The fact that common cold symptoms can be allergic is true. In case you are sniffling but not feeling any aches or do not have any fever. Adding to this, if your symptoms are just 2 weeks old, and you also have got red, itchy eyes, it might be allergies.

It is sometimes hard to differentiate as people with various allergies and asthma are susceptible to getting colds. They already have a weak immune system and vulnerable lungs, which may not fight off a virus.

Ques. Which virus most commonly causes the Common Cold?

Ans. Many viruses can cause common colds, but rhinovirus causes more than 50% of common colds.

Ques. Is the common cold one of the most common illnesses in the globe?

Ans. The common cold is a viral infection which makes it one of the most common illnesses in the world. It leads to more frequent visits to health care providers. Adults are usually prone to catch 2-3 types of cold in a year, whereas children may get infected by even more of them.

Ques. What is the medical term used by the doctor for the common cold?

Ans. Doctors usually use the term upper respiratory infection when talking about the common cold.

Ques. Does getting chilly or wet or the cold weather cause the Common Cold?

Ans. Getting wet or drinking cold water or cold weather may not be direct reasons for falling sick. In the end, it depends on the body’s immunity. 

What Medication, if Any, Should I Take?

Because fever helps the body defend against infection and because a moderate fever itself is not dangerous, Mayo Clinic pros say it’s often best for otherwise healthy adults to let one run its course.

If you’re uncomfortable, however, consider taking an over-the-counter fever reducer, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or Aleve (naproxen). Follow instructions on the label precisely for proper dosage.

Also be careful not to take more than one medication containing acetaminophen, which is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter medications, including cough and cold remedies. Acetaminophen can cause serious harm to the liver if you take too much.

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