What Technique Would Be Appropriate for a Tepid Sponge Bath?

If you are running a temperature reaching close to 39 degrees Celsius, you might also be experiencing warm and moist skin, a headache and are probably a bit flushed. Choosing to take a tepid sponge bath can help reduce body temperature. This treatment also works well to help reduce anxiety brought on by the illness. Getting the fever down to 99.6 (not 98.6) is highly recommended. Ask someone to help you do this procedure, as you might feel weak or even experience some dizziness.


To complete this procedure you will need towels, sheets, blankets, wash cloths, a thermometer, hot water bottles and a basin. For a more relaxed process, make sure you have gathered all these needed items prior to the bath.


A sponge bath is defined by not having to get into a bathtub and being cleaned by a wet sponge or washcloth. Fill a basin with what is considered tepid bath water, about 98.6 to 100 degrees. Test the water as if you were heating up a baby's bottle, using the inside of your wrist. Soak the washcloths in the water. Wring out the washcloth before using so that it doesn't drip. Alternate washcloths to keep them warm. Make sure that you only expose the part of the body you are washing, keep the rest wrapped in a sheet or blanket. At no time do you want to be chilled. You can also put hot water bottles at your feet. A tepid sponge bath needs to be a gentle experience. Begin sponging your extremities and face, going from the front to the back. Wash each area for at least five minutes. For the person that is helping you, have them place cool compresses on your groin, your forehead, armpits simultaneously, while you are still sponging. These areas, which hold big blood vessels, help to shift heat. As necessary, add warm water to the basin to maintain the desired temperature. It is important to use only soft motions to decrease heat production. Hard scrubbing motions will actually make your body heat up. Have your companion take your temperature at 10-minute intervals. After completing the bath, check your temperature again. If you fever has not reduced, repeat the process. This procedure should take at least 30 minutes. If necessary, extend the procedure to aid in relaxation while breaking the fever.

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About the Author

Sara Janis has been a writer for 25 years.She has served as an editorial newspaper writer, freelance copy and feature writer. In addition to writing for Demand Studios she writes for several blogs. She is also an artist, and tutors at risk children, seeing each day with graceful hope.