Image of a woman who is sick checking her temperature.

Why does your body temperature rise when you have a virus?

Ever wonder why you get hot when you're sick with a virus? Let's break it down in a way that's easy to understand.

3D render image of pyrogens inside the body.

THE ANSWER

Pyrogens set the scene.

Imagine your body is like a cozy home with a thermostat.

When a virus invades, it's like unwelcome guests messing with your thermostat settings.

This happens because of something called pyrogens.

These signals tell your body's thermostat, the hypothalamus, "Hey, it's time to turn up the heat!"

This makes your body produce more heat, and even though you might feel super chilly, your body's getting warmer, sometimes up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit!

3D render of your body's defense cells, the macrophages.

BUT... WHY?

Why high-heat mode?

One key player in this process is something called Interleukin-1 (IL-1), made by your body's defense cells, the macrophages.

They spring into action when they spot bad guys like bacteria and viruses. IL-1's job includes telling other defense cells, the helper T cells, to get to work.

This high-heat mode stays on until your body wins the battle against the infection.

Then, your body's thermostat goes back to its usual setting, and you start to cool down. You might sweat or look flushed as your body tries to get rid of all that extra heat.

Fun fact: having a fever actually helps your body's defense team work better and can slow down the germs!

Ever wondered about the heat tolerance of bacteria? They're not fans of high heat. At temperatures above 165 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria call it quits. They stop growing at temperatures above 140 degrees, which is way hotter than any fever!

Image of a man taking aspirin

THE FOLLOW-UP

Should you try to cool down a fever?

It's a tricky question.

While medicines like aspirin can bring down a fever, sometimes having a fever might help your body fight off the infection.

Yet, very high fevers can be dangerous.

Most doctors think it's wise to manage a fever, especially if it gets too high.

How long do these warm-up sessions last when you're dealing with a virus? They can be quick, maybe just 2 to 3 days, or hang around for 2 to 3 weeks. It varies based on your age, the virus type, and how you're treating it.

Image of a woman outside cooling off.

Temperature regulation requires fuel.

7 Nutrients That Can Help You Keep Your Cool (And Warm)

By eliminating micronutrient deficiencies, you ensure your body operates as it should.

Unfortunately, avoiding micronutrient deficiencies is becoming increasingly challenging due to our environments and nutrient-void diets.

Below is a list of our top recommended supplements for aiding the body in achieving homeostasis of body temperature:

Natural Supplements That Help Support Healthy Body Temperature: