Fever, beneficial or harmful?

Fever, beneficial or harmful?

Does the Presence of a Fever Help or Hinder a Viral Infection?

During a pH Balance (acidity/alkalinity) training for natural health industry professionals, I mentioned the supportive role of fever at the onset of a viral infection. Most people are led to believe that fever is a “bad thing” and should be reduced. In most cases, a fever does not need to be treated and may even be welcomed.

Many people were raised with the belief that normal body temperature is the same for everyone, namely 37°C (98.6°F). Science is now indicating that normal human body temperature can exist between 36.1°C (97°F) to 37.2°C (99°F)(1).

A 2015 article published in a Nature Medicine journal (2) states, “There is mounting evidence that the increase of 1 to 4°C in core body temperature that occurs during fever is associated with improved survival and resolution of many infections.” The paper further states, “The pyrogenic cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) contributes to two phases of the febrile response: it elevates the core body temperature via thermoregulatory autonomic mechanisms, and it also serves as a thermally sensitive effector molecule that amplifies lymphocyte trafficking into lymphoid organs.”

Basically, fever serves as a thermal element that, amongst other mechanisms, increases lymphocyte movement (this is the process of liquifying the congested lymph fluid) into lymphoid organs (i.e., nodes, tonsils etc…) that are the staging ground for immune defense.

Fever is part of your body’s natural immune response. A fever can activate heat shock proteins suppressing viral replication. (3) That’s a good thing. Also, fever or application of heat (i.e., sauna) helps the lymphatic system flush acidic toxic waste while promoting movement of invading microbes toward the lymph nodes for destruction and elimination.

Therefore, it is true! At the onset of a viral infection, having a fever (for 3 days or less) is a good sign; your immune system is activated and working. It is helping to rid to body of infection!

Yet, if the fever is too high or increasing to fast (spiking), it is prudent to slowly reduce the fever through hydration (ginger and lemon tea is a good choice) and lukewarm baths. Given that optimal immune function requires a pH of 7.0, alkalizing the body during a viral infection helps the flow of lymph fluid, thus supporting the elimination of toxic waste. To support a fever, add extra alkaline-forming foods, herbs (e.g., parsley, raspberry leaves, peppermint leaves) and superfood powders (e.g., chlorella, spirulina, moringa powders). For more info on how to alkalize see: https://holistic-pharmacist.com/ph-balance/

Contact your physician if the fever persists especially in a child 6 months or younger.


(1) https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/time-to-redefine-normal-body-temperature-2020031319173 Time to redefine normal body temperature? posted March 13, 2020, updated March 17, 2020,

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4786079/ Fever and the thermal regulation of immunity: the immune system feels the heat. Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Jun; 15(6): 335–349.

(3) Heat shock response:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC270667/ Clinical review: Fever in intensive care unit patients Crit Care. 2003; 7(3): 221–225. Published online 2003 Mar 8
The heat shock response is a complex reaction to fever, to cytokines, or to numerous other stimuli. The end result of this reaction is production of heat shock proteins (HSPs), a class of proteins crucial to cellular survival
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14722281/ J Virol. 2004 Feb;78(3):1263-70.
Heat Shock Protein 70 Is Related to Thermal Inhibition of Nuclear Export of the Influenza Virus Ribonucleoprotein Complex

Further reading:

This similar article from the Mayo Clinic mentions applying hot compresses (heat) to lymph nodes to reduce swelling which indicates that fever (heat) supports movement of lymph fluid.