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TLRobinson's avatar

Is Starve a cold; feed a fever a true statement?

Asked by TLRobinson (2360 points ) February 7th, 2010 from iPhone

“Starve a cold; feed a fever.” Or is it the reverse and why? I’ve had a bad cold for over a week. Is it because I need to “starve”. What’s the origin of the statement?

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14 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

No, it’s just one of those old sayings people use to blather about… an incorrect one. When you’re sick, listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re hungry, but your stomach is kinda touchy, have some soup. If you’re running a fever, drink lots of liquid. After several million years of evolution, the human body is well aware of what it needs to feel better. : )

marinelife's avatar

Chicken soup would be very good for your cold.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

No, that’s not a true statement. You need to eat in all instances of being sick. Keep your strength up & keep your body functioning.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Some drunk made that up.;)

Lightlyseared's avatar

Feed a cold, starve a fever.

Eating a meal boosts the type of immune response that destroys the viruses responsible for colds conversely, fasting stimulates the response that tackles the bacterial infections responsible for most fevers.

Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology (vol 9, p 182)

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

You need to maintain your nutrition, if anything you need more. I’m not sure about the mega vitamin C stuff but lots of fruit juice and Jewish Penicillin can’t hurt. With colds about all you can do is ease the symptoms while it runs its course.

snowberry's avatar

As I recall, the saying goes, starve a fever, feed a cold, not the other way around. When I have a fever, generally I don’t feel like eating. I drink broth instead and do what makes sense to take care of my body.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think the original is “feed a cold, starve a fever.” Someone’s grandmother made it up. When you have a cold and are stuffed up, usually food doesn’t taste good, because the ability to smell affects taste. Generally, when you have a fever, you don’t feel like eating, and are often unable to keep food down.

Lots of good stuff in homemade chicken soup.

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I think that drunk meant to say…“have a cold…need a wheat beer” gotta keep up the fluid and vit B intake!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’ve heard this as “feed a fever; starve a cold”, and put a somewhat different take on it than “food”. That is, a fever makes you hot: feed that—stay warm. ‘Cold’ is something that you want to ‘starve’, so, again, stay warm.

I eat what I want, when I want, whether I’m ill or not. Fortunately, I don’t get ill very often. (But I guess I should stop eating whatever I want, whenever I want it, because I’m also getting fat.)

Rarebear's avatar

Starving is never good.

Trillian's avatar

I thought it was “Feed a cold, starve a fever” and I thought it was because people are chicken soup for colds, and having a fever one would be more likely unable to keep anything down but clear liquids.

gailcalled's avatar

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.
Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.
Don’t swim for an hour after eating/.

All folk maxims require some common sense.

silky1's avatar

The idea of feeding a cold and starving a fever most likely originated during the Middle Ages when people believed that there were two kinds of illnesses. The illnesses caused by low temperatures, such as a cold, needed to be “fueled,” so eating was recommended. Illnesses caused by high temperatures, such as a fever, needed to be cooled down, so refraining from eating was thought to deprive the furnace of energy.
http://health.cvs.com/GetContent.aspx?token=f75979d3-9c7c-4b16-af56-3e122a3f19e3&chunkiid=156982

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