Fever Sponge Bath

A sponge bath given to a person with fever.


  • Reduces fever or lowers body temperature.
  • Sedative effects.

Things Needed:

  • Basin of water—temperature as indicated.
  • Sheet or blanket to cover patient.
  • Two bath towels.
  • One face towel or washcloth.
  • Ice cubes as indicated.
  • Alcohol.

Hot Sponge Bath is given to patients with very high fever but whose skin of the legs and arms are cold. Water for hot sponge bath should be as hot as can be tolerated. The sponge bath should be done fast and with friction to encourage blood to the surface. The sponge may be repeated after 1 or 2 hours if the fever persists.


  • Make the patient comfortable. Remove clothing and cover with a sheet or blanket. Close windows to avoid drafts.
  • Protect the bed with the towels as each part is being sponged. Put one bath towel across the chest and sponge the face, ears, and neck. Dry the areas that had been sponged with the towel across the chest.
  • Sponge one part at a time in the following order: arms, chest, abdomen, legs, feet and back. For the arm or leg, spread the towel under the whole length of the arm or leg while it is being sponged. Rub skin briefly with the face towel to draw blood on the surface. Dry each part after the sponge to avoid chilling. Be sure the patient is dry before replacing clothing and covers. Hot drinks (kalamansi juice) may be offered to encourage perspiration.

Cold Sponge Bath is used in cases where the skin is dry and hot. Cold water is used for sponge bath but in case where skin is burning hot, ice cubes may be put in the water. Avoid chilling the patient. A cold compress on the forehead or armpits may be placed while the sponge is being done. Chilling with shivering will cause the temperature to rise. Sponge may be repeated or prolonged until the desired effects are obtained, or until the fever goes down.


  • Remove clothing and cover patient with sheet or blanket. Place cold compress on the forehead and armpits. Renew compress as often as you can.
  • Sponge one part at a time, in the same order as the hot sponge bath. Friction is used to bring blood to the surface and to increase the rate of circulation to hasten the cooling process. The skin may be left slightly moist, fan lightly with the towel till skin is dry. Evaporation lowers body temperature. Hot lemonade may be given.

Tepid SpongeBath is given to restless and very tense patient with fever. It has a sedative effect, relaxing the patient. Water temperature is 94-98°F, or comfortably warm if tested with the elbow. This time there should be no friction or rubbing on the skin. Sponge and dry skin very gently with very little rubbing. Prolong the treatment for relaxing effect and to allow more evaporation.


  • Remove clothing and cover patient with sheet or blanket. Room should be quiet and dim. No glaring lights.

Sponge one part at a time, in the same manner as the hot sponge bath. Dry patient well with very gentle rub. A gentle alcohol rub on the back may be given after the sponge. Saline Sponge Bath is given to patient who Is inactive and sleeps most of the time. Saline or salt bath has a mild tonic or stimulating effect. It makes the patient active. Water temperature should be 96-100°F or a little bit warmer than the tepid sponge. One half (1/2) cup of salt is added to a basin of water. Sponge with friction and repeat till desired effect is obtained.


  • Sponge in the same manner as the cold sponge bath.

One thought on “Fever Sponge Bath

  1. Rosily

    I too feel warm sponging is always reduce fever better than tepid sponging. But reserch article related to this is very few and there is no much evidence for that.Is there any research studies regarding the effect of warm sponging over tepid sponging? please sent if you got a study regarding this.

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