Can you drink milk when you have a fever?
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you drink milk when you have a fever” and discuss the positive effects of drinking milk during a fever episode.
Can you drink milk when you have a fever?
Yes, you can drink milk when you have a fever, unless the symptom of fever is related to milk allergy.
Milk protein allergy can manifest by many symptoms, such as respiratory (bronchitis, rhinitis, cough), dermatological (rashes), and gastrointestinal (diarrhea, vomiting) (1). Fever is a possible symptom of milk protein allergy in rare cases (2).
However, if it is not the case, it is safe to drink milk. Milk is beneficial to strengthening the immune system (3) and can also hydrate the body, due to its water amount (4).
What are the benefits of drinking milk when you have a fever?
The benefits of drinking milk when you have a fever are related both to the nutritional importance of milk, which is a source of proteins and vitamins, and to the hydrating property of milk.
Milk and the immune system
Studies suggest that casein, the main milk protein, representing 80% of the protein fraction in milk, is a source of bioactive peptides that stimulate the immune system (3).
In addition, whey proteins such as immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and lysozyme have immunomodulatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, which can help fight against infections.
Lactoferrin and its derivatives are known also to affect the production of cytokines involved in immune reactions of the organism.
Milk also contains zinc and selenium, which are important to improve the immune system. Vitamin E present in milk can stimulate T-cells and increase the immune defense system (5).
Overall, good nutrition is required to prevent diseases and recover from disease and infections and milk is an important source of energy, vitamins, proteins, and lipids that help to improve the nutrition of the sick individual (6).
It is well known that malnutrition is a risk factor for higher rates of diseases and infections. Drinking milk can reduce these risk factors.
Milk and hydration
Milk contains approximately 80% water in its composition. Besides, milk contains natural electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which help in the hydration process.
Studies have confirmed that bovine milk is a viable alternative for rehydration, even after sports activities. Because of its composition rich in minerals, carbohydrates and bioavailable proteins, the milk could be better to promote hydration process in relation to water (4).
What are the risks of drinking milk when you have a fever?
The risks of drinking milk when you have a fever is possible when you have an allergy to milk proteins. In this case, the symptoms of allergy can worsen.
Although milk allergy is usually not manifested by fever, it is possible to experience fever and joint pain and swelling due to this allergy (2).
In addition, if there are any medical prescriptions that milk should be avoided, you should follow the medical recommendations. Reactions to milk during infections may be different according to individual characteristics of the patient.
Therefore, it is important to identify the cause of fever and seek medical assistance. The correct diagnosis of the disease may reduce additional health risks and favor a fast recovery from the disease (7).
What is the best way to drink milk when you have a fever?
The best way to drink milk when you have a fever is to drink fermented milk. Fermented milk contains bioactive peptides which support the production of antibodies against microorganisms (3).
The metabolites produced during fermentation of milk by lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can strengthen the immune system against cancer, virus infections and allergy (5).
In addition, several scientific and medical publications report that there are improved benefits by the consumption of raw cow milk.
Although raw milk may possess a high risk of microbial infection and therefore is not approved by most medical professionals, it has been shown that the consumption of raw milk can improve immunity and reduce the rates of infections, including respiratory infections, fever, rhinitis, otitis and others (8).
Other FAQs about Milk that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you drink milk when you have a fever” and discussed the positive effects of drinking milk during a fever episode.
- Vandenplas, Yvan, Elisabeth De Greef, and Thierry Devreker. Treatment of cow’s milk protein allergy. Pediatr gastroenterol hepatol nutr, 2014, 17, 1-5.
- Ratner, D., K. Vigder, and E. Eshel. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and milk allergy. J Royal Soc Med, 1985, 78, 410-413.
- Szwajkowska, Magdalena, et al. Bovine milk proteins as the source of bioactive peptides influencing the consumers’ immune system–a review. Anim Sci Paper Rep, 2011, 29, 269-280.
- Pegoretti, Cássia, et al. Milk: an alternative beverage for hydration?. Food Nutr Sci, 2015, 6, 547.
- Haug, Anna, Arne T. Høstmark, and Odd M. Harstad. Bovine milk in human nutrition–a review. Lipids health dis, 2007, 6, 1-16.
- Scrimshaw, Nevin S., and John Paul SanGiovanni. Synergism of nutrition, infection, and immunity: an overview. Am j clin nutr, 1997, 66, 464S-477S.
- Brown, Ilona, and Nancy A. Finnigan. Fever of Unknown Origin. StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing, 2022.
- Loss, Georg, et al. Consumption of unprocessed cow’s milk protects infants from common respiratory infections. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2014, 135, 56-62.