Why You (Usually) Shouldn’t Treat a Fever

I grew up in a home without Tylenol, Motrin, or even aspirin in the medicine cabinet. My mother, a holistic health coach, never gave her kids fever-reducing medications when we were sick, and instead relied upon treatments that ranged from spoon-feeding us daikon-radish tea to placing warm onions over our ears.

Mom maintained that fevers serve an important function in the body’s immune response–and thus they should not be suppressed. At the time, conventional medical wisdom held that there was no downside to administering Advil or Tylenol as soon as the thermometer’s reading went about 98.6 degrees, so our pediatrician probably thought my mother was a crazy sadist.