There’s nothing quite as distressing for parents to see their little ones fall ill and run a high fever. The lack of energy, burning-hot skin, and feverish eyes all combine to make this a worrying time for parents. Adding to the misery is when a sick child refuses to eat, making parents wonder what to feed a child with a fever.
So, what to feed a child with a fever? Let’s find out, as well as the foods to avoid.
What can you read in this article?
- What to feed a sick child
- What you should avoid feeding a child with a fever
- Additional info: Covid-19 signs and symptoms
What is a fever?
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Parents, first keep in mind that fever is not an illness. It is merely the symptom of an illness and is, in fact, a sign that your child’s immune system is in tip-top working condition.
A person’s normal temperature is around 37 °C (98.6 °F). A fever is anything above this.
Infections are usually caused by bacteria and viruses. Many of these thrive when your body is at its normal temperature. When your child gets a fever, it means his body is trying to kill these illness-causing microorganisms. Your child’s immune system is also activated in the process.
Having identified that fever is not an illness, a child with fever will feel uncomfortable, especially if there are other symptoms like a sore throat and runny nose. Also, it’s important not to let a fever go too high, as this may set off febrile fits in some kids.
Additionally, it’s quite likely his appetite will take a hit, too. While this is normal, many parents worry about what to feed a child with a fever.
While keeping in mind that it’s fine for your feverish child to eat his regular meals, if your little one is fussy, then the following foods can both nourish and help him recover faster.
What to feed a sick child: 6 Soothing and healing foods for fever
If your child is still breastfeeding, let him nurse more frequently while he is sick. Your breasts can actually sense when your baby is fighting an infection (through the baby’s saliva). The composition of your breast milk will then change to include more antibodies to help fight that infection and bring down the fever.
Also, the act of nursing will bring comfort to your little one, helping him be more at ease while sick.
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If your child has started solids, then chicken soup with added veggies is an excellent food to feed your child with a fever. It contains a good balance of vitamins, minerals, and protein which your child’s body needs in larger quantities while sick.
Your little one will also get much-needed fluids and electrolytes through chicken soup. It is also good to help him battle that infection and bring down the fever. If your little one has a fever because he has a cold or the flu, then the steam from the soup will help clear congestion.
At the same time, chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine. This has anti-viral and antioxidant properties that will also help manage the fever.
More foods for fever reducing
Frozen fruit or breast milk pops
Try these little frozen treats if you’re wondering what to feed a sick child. Blitz up fresh fruit, pour it into popsicle molds and freeze, or do the same with breast milk. Both of these foods are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that will help your child fight the infection better.
Also, the coolness of these will help cool down your little one’s body too. Plus, they’re yummy!
In Asian culture, coconut water is traditionally thought to have cooling properties. And when your child has a fever, you want to do your best to help him lower his body temperature. Coconut water is also an excellent natural source of electrolytes, in case your child’s fever is caused by a tummy bug. Also, its mildly sweet taste should go down well even with fussy eaters (who will likely get even fussier when ill).
Pure organic honey is packed with antimicrobial compounds. There is also scientific evidence that honey may stimulate the immune system. Research also shows that honey can be more effective than cough medicines at soothing coughs in children. This makes it especially good to feed your child if their fever is triggered by a throat infection.
There’s something just so comforting about a steaming, creamy bowl of oatmeal. But this aside, oatmeal is a natural source of vitamin E, which boosts the immune system. Additionally, it contains polyphenol antioxidants, and beta-glucan fibre which also help the immune system.
Avoid processed, instant oats and choose whole oats for the best results.
What to feed a child with fever and vomiting
If your child is also experiencing vomiting along with fever, read on for what to feed a sick child vomiting:
- After they’ve started vomiting, don’t offer them solid food for roughly eight hours. Instead, just over them clear liquids. You can give babies Pedialyte or sports drinks for older kids.
- Give them yogurt, bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast once they can hold food down. Refrain from feeding them burgers and pizza for a couple of days.
- Wait 20–30 minutes before starting over if your child vomits again.
- Once he or she hasn’t vomited for 3–4 hours, gradually increase the number of liquids he or she drinks.
- After 24 hours without vomiting, return to a regular diet. If it happens again, see a doctor.
How else can you help a toddler who doesn’t eat or drink with a fever?
What you should avoid feeding a child with a fever
Parents, it’s best to avoid the following types of food while your child is sick:
- Caffeinated beverages: While your child may not drink tea or coffee, fizzy drinks, and sodas contain caffeine. These can make your little one dehydrated if consumed. Also, they contain way too much sugar.
- Hard or jagged foods. If your child’s fever is caused by a throat infection, it’s best to avoid things like crunchy crackers, chips, and other rough foods. These can irritate his throat.
- Processed foods. Low in nutrients, and high in saturated fats and sugars, junk food will do nothing to help your child’s immune system battle the infection that is causing their fever. Avoid them completely.
Additional info: Covid-19 signs and symptoms
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Fever and vomiting are two symptoms of Covid-19. With surges coming in our area, it is best to know the most common symptoms of the virus and watch out for any other symptoms that may come up.
Symptoms can start as early as 2 to 14 days after exposure. The most common symptoms would be:
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
If you have COVID-19 signs or symptoms, or if you’ve come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, immediately contact your local health office. You will most likely be tested of Covid-19.
Moreover, if you experience the following symptoms, call your doctor right away and ask for immediate intervention.
- Trouble breathing
- Sudden confusion
- Having difficulty staying awake
- Continuous pain or pressure in the chest
- Bluish lips or face
While waiting for the doctor or the local health office, make sure to be ready with this information:
- Signs and symptoms that you have
- Date of onset of symptoms
- Date of last exposure to Covid-19 positive patient
You can also prepare a list of your whereabouts for the past 5 days and a list of your close contacts along with it.
*Please note that a child should only be fed solids (i.e., the food listed here, except for honey which can only be given after a year) at around 6 months of age.
If your child gets sick with an accompanying fever before this age, continue to breastfeed or offer pure breast milk pops. As always, you should consult a pediatrician for medical advise.
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. TheAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.