Foods to Eat (and Avoid) When You Have a Fever

Nick Rosen, MD
Medically reviewed by Nick Rosen, MDMay 22nd, 2021

When you’re sick, a fever is actually a good sign; it’s your body’s way of trying to kill the virus or bacteria that has infected you. One downside, however, is that an increased body temperature often puts off people’s appetites. Despite being hot and not wanting to eat, you shouldn’t solely survive off popsicles and ice cream—you need to provide your body with the right fuel to help fight off the infection. And just like there are certain foods to eat, there are also ones to avoid when you have a fever.

Foods to Eat

It can be difficult to eat when you’re not in the mood, but you’ll get stronger by eating the right, nutrient-rich foods. These include:

Chicken Soup

There’s a reason why chicken soup is a sick-food staple. The broth helps with your fluid intake, which can help lower your body temperature and flush out toxins, and the sodium can replenish electrolytes. Plus, chicken soup is full of vitamins, minerals, calories, and protein—as long as it actually contains chicken.

Poultry & Fish

Speaking of protein, your body needs as much as it can get with a fever. However, the right healthy protein is key. Poultry and fish are excellent sources of protein and can be easily digested, so you don’t have to worry about your body burning any more unnecessary calories. As a bonus, oily fishes like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help strengthen the immune system.

Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are crucial to incorporate into your diet—and even more so when you’re sick. Fruits are rich in many vitamins, especially vitamin C, which is important for a strong immune system. And of course many vegetables are jam-packed with nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, and vitamin A.

Foods to Avoid

You don’t want to waste time and energy eating foods that won’t help you feel better. Therefore, it’s best to avoid the following foods with a fever:

Caffeinated & Alcoholic Drinks

Running a fever can cause you to sweat and lose fluids. Because caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate you, it’s best to steer away from them and continue to sip on water and electrolyte beverages.

Sugary Foods

While you may want comfort food when you’re sick, sugar-packed foods like donuts, cake, and other sweet treats don’t have many beneficial nutrients—if any at all. Too much sugar can also inflame your stomach and cause your immune system to work harder.

Trust DispatchHealth to Treat Your Fever at Home

If your ongoing fever won’t break or doesn’t seem to have an underlying cause, you may seek out medical care. However, it’s best to avoid contact with other people when you’re running a fever, so why not have DispatchHealth come to your home for treatment? We serve as a supplement to doctors’ offices and urgent care clinics by providing prompt, in-home healthcare for a wide range of illnesses and injuries—fevers included. [availability_widget]


Rely on the knowledgeable and dedicated team at DispatchHealth for the right treatment. For any life-or-limb-threatening or time-sensitive injuries and illnesses, you should go to the emergency room immediately or call 911.


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

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The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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