Fever is not a disease. It is a symptom. When any bacterial or viral infection enters our body, it puts up its defence. In. such a situation, the temperature of our body rises. This we call fever. There is a breakdown of the body protein and loss of other nutrients as well. For this reason, and because there is usually a loss of appetite and consequent diminished food intake, a person having fever loses weight; and if the fever is prolonged, he may even become severely emaciated. With fever there is also an increased amount of excretion of vitamins B complex and C, through urine.
In any kind of fever, an effort should be made to prevent the undue loss of body protein by taking a diet in which the protein content is in excess of the normal requirement. There is no ground for the old belief that a high protein intake increases the fever, nor is it right to follow the old saying, ‘feed the cold and starve the fever’.
Diet management in fever is made more difficult by the loss of appetite associated with most fevers, and it may be further complicated by the presence of nausea. Much can be done to help by ensuring that the patient’s mouth is kept clean. If the tongue is furred, it should not be surprising that the patient has distaste for food.
Using a mouthwash before and after each meal would be of great help. Fresh cucumber or tomato with a little salt, pepper and lime juice is a good appetiser.