Plenty of kids don’t like going to school. Whether it’s because they didn’t complete their homework, have an exam that they didn’t study for, are being bullied in school, or they suffer from school phobia, they will go through a lot of trouble to avoid going to school like faking a fever. But these tricks aren’t just for kids. Plenty of adults fake illness to avoid going to work or meeting up with friends/family members. Whether you are 12 or 30, faking a fever is the most common technique to stay at home. While this is unethical, in some cases, it might be the easiest and only way to avoid a situation.
So, how can you fake a fever? There are several tips and tricks for faking a fever and they fall under making yourself warm or manipulating the results of the thermometer. But it’s not a simple technique to execute as it requires careful planning, consistency, and effort. Most importantly, don’t overdo it as it could cause your loved ones unnecessary worries or cause you real harm.
When a bacterial or viral infection occurs, you get flu, sore throat, cold, and more. As your body responds to these symptoms, it raises body temperature, which is what is called fever. The normal human body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). When your body elevates above this, you get a fever. A fever may be uncomfortable but it is usually not a cause for concern unless it reaches 39.4 °C (102.92 °F) or higher. Now that you know how a real fever occurs, keep reading to see how you can fake one to get out of a situation.
How to Fake a Fever
Fevers are a hassle, but faking one can be an excellent way to get out of sticky situations or even get things done for you. There are so many techniques that can help you fake a fever but without actually getting ill. Here are a few for you to try out:
Heat Your Forehead
The first thing people do when you tell them you’re running a fever is feel your forehead. For this trick, take a cloth and carefully pour hot water on it, then place it on your forehead for 3-5 minutes. Alternatively, you can press something warm against your forehead like a hot water bottle or heating pad. Be sure to place a towel between your head and the heating pad so you don’t burn yourself. When someone comes to feel your forehead after any of these tricks, it will be warm enough for them to think you are running a fever.
Mess With the Thermometer
A thermometer is a common tool used for measuring body temperatures. Most people don’t check the temperature level before inserting the thermometer into someone’s mouth for a temperature check. You can use this to your advantage and easily tamper with the results.
The easiest way to raise the thermometer’s temperature quickly is to rub it in your palms repeatedly until you reach the desired temperature. Then go to your parent quickly and have them check your temperature.
You can also bring the thermometer to something warm like putting it inside a hot cup of water (not boiling), holding it near a light bulb, or running it under hot water, and let it remain there for about 20 seconds. Be careful as the thermometer reading can get unusually high very quickly, which will only result in you getting busted or being rushed to hospital unnecessarily. These tricks only last 2-3 minutes before the temperature drops, so ask your parent to take your temperature immediately and they will believe the elevated figures.
Eat Foods That Will Increase Your Temperature
Some food items can elevate your body temperature quickly. For starters, eat or drink something hot like a hot cup of tea or soup just before having the thermometer inserted in your mouth. You can even hold a little bit of the warm fluid in your mouth and stick the thermometer in it to get an elevated reading. Be sure not to take foods or drinks that are too hot as they can end up burning your mouth. Eating spicy foods like chillies, peppers, jalapeno, and harissa can also raise your body temperature.
Last, but not least, you can put an onion or garlic under your armpits and leave it overnight. These two food items attract viruses and other microorganisms towards them with their odour. The body will then trigger a natural defence mechanism to fight the microorganisms and because of the energy used, your body temperature will begin to rise.
Make Yourself Look Warm, Flushed, and Sweaty
Hiding out under a blanket for 4-5 minutes or doing some light exercises can make you look flushed and raise your body temperature, thus making someone think you are running a fever.
Real fever is often accompanied by a number of symptoms and the rise in body temperature alone is not enough to make your lie truly believable. You’ll need to do more to make your fever act more believable.
- The first thing is to act like you are tired; you can’t be jumping around like you are fine when one of the symptoms of fever is lack of energy.
- Another common sign of fever is chills, so mention that you are getting shivers from time to time. Creating fake shivers is quite simple, just make your muscles tight and let your body vibrate and you’ll notice automatic shivers in your body.
- When people have a fever, they tend to lose their appetite so ensure you’re constantly refusing food, especially your most favourite ones, and maybe stick to the liquids.
- Cold symptoms like coughs and sneezes are also common with a fever, so you could add a few of those in your act.
- Dehydration is also common with real fever. Therefore, when faking one, your lips should look drier than usual and ask to drink lots of water to show that you are dehydrated.
These are just a few of the things you can do to make your lie more believable but be careful not to overdo it. Otherwise, you’ll be caught or even taken to the hospital for fear that you are actually sick. Fever symptoms often occur gradually, so make sure you don’t display all of them at once or you’ll make your parents suspicious.
What to Avoid
While you may be trying to play sick, if you’re not careful, it might lead to real sickness or injury. For starters, when using anything hot to raise your body temperature or even the thermometer’s, be very careful so as not to burn yourself. Secondly, faking a fever with garlic can be a great solution as it increases your body temperature while giving you fever-like symptoms; however, it might not be an ideal method for everyone. If you’re allergic to garlic, symptoms such as heartburn, diarrhoea, or stomach pain can occur immediately or up to several hours after exposure.
There are plenty of other tried and true methods to get off work or school but they may not be safe for you. A good example is hiding a penny under your tongue, which might raise your body temperature but is an incredibly unhygienic tactic. You might also want to watch the tricks you use to raise the thermometer’s temperature. For instance, placing it in a microwave or oven will quickly ruin it.
For adults faking a fever to get off work, you need to choose your day carefully and keep the sick leave policy as a primary concern. How people get excused from work for sick days varies from employer to employer and from one country to the other. You also need to stay away from social media and don’t throw a success party.
What to Do When You Are Caught
With all the tips and tricks in mind, you definitely should be able to fake a fever now. However, I must warn you that there are tricks people use as well, especially parents, to know if you are truly sick or faking an illness. Employers, on the other hand, might want some sort of proof from a medical practitioner.
If you are caught lying, admit you were trying to fake an illness. You might be tempted to keep up with the act but doing so will only make things worse for you. After all, honesty is the best policy.
Your parents or employer will likely be upset but explain to them why you tried faking an illness and once you’ve come clean, apologise for lying and assure the other party that you understand what you did was wrong and it will never happen again. Your parents or employer might choose to forgive you or punish you, either way, be prepared for the outcome. Kids might get grounded or have their privileges taken away but for the adults, the consequences can be more serious. You could get fired, depending on your work policies about such matters. Seems like a high price to pay for such a small act, right? So, think twice before faking a fever to avoid school, work, or other situation, and if you must, act carefully.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.