How to Fake a Fever

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If you want to get out of something by faking a fever, you can do so by making your face warm, flushed, and sweaty. You can also warm up a thermometer for “proof” of your illness. If you add a few other symptoms, such as low energy and a sniffly nose, you’ll be well on your way to skipping school, practice, or that boring dinner you’ve been dreading. However, it’s usually better to just be honest about why you don’t want to go, rather than risk getting in trouble.


EditMaking Yourself Warm, Flushed, and Sweaty

  1. Heat your forehead with a hot water bottle or heating pad. The hot water bottle trick is a classic one when faking a fever. Press a hot water bottle against your forehead for a few minutes to make it feel warm to the touch. Or, use a heating pad on a low setting to warm your forehead, but make sure you put something between your face and the heating pad, such as a towel. You don’t want to burn yourself![1]
    Fake a Fever Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • When someone comes in to check on you and feels your forehead, it’ll be warm enough that they’ll think you have a fever.
  2. Eat spicy foods to raise your temperature naturally. Spicy foods, like jalapeños, chiles, or peppers, can actually increase your body temperature. If you have something like this on hand, eat a little bit to raise your temperature naturally. Don’t overdo it, though—you don’t want to get sick or be in serious pain from eating something too spicy![2]
    Fake a Fever Step 11.jpg
  3. Exercise or hide out under a blanket to make yourself look flushed. The simplest thing to do is to cover your head with a blanket for a few minutes. The reflected heat will make you look flushed, as well as increase the temperature of your forehead. Alternatively, do some exercises, like jumping jacks or jogging in place, to make your face flushed. The added rosiness to your skin will make the fever act more believable.[3]
    Fake a Fever Step 2 Version 2.jpg
  4. Press a washcloth to your skin or spritz your face to make yourself sweaty. Run a washcloth under warm water for a few minutes. Once it’s warm, place it over your face, leave it there for a few minutes, then take it off. Or, you could spritz your face with a fine mist from a spray bottle full of water, instead. Make sure your face isn’t soaked—you only want the appearance of sweaty, clammy skin.[4]
    Fake a Fever Step 4 Version 2.jpg

EditRaising the Temperature of the Thermometer

  1. Run the thermometer under hot water for a quick fix. If you’re trying to convince someone you have a fever, you may need to fake a thermometer reading. One way to increase the temperature on a thermometer is to use hot water. Place the tip under a tap with warm water, and leave it there until you see the temperature go over .[5]
    Fake a Fever Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • However, don’t let it heat past —you could be busted for lying or get rushed to the hospital unnecessarily!
  2. Shake a mercury thermometer to increase the reading. Shaking a mercury thermometer while holding the tip can make the temperature higher. Be careful, though, because if you are too violent, it will reach an impossibly high temperature. Also, don’t shake so hard that you shatter the glass.[6]
    Fake a Fever Step 8.jpg
    • A mercury thermometer has a metal tip on 1 end. The rest of the thermometer is glass and has numbers printed on it. The mercury rises in the thermometer to show the temperature.
    • Hold it by the metal tip when shaking it. Point the rest of the thermometer towards the floor, and shake it back and forth so that the temperature reading increases.
  3. Heat a digital thermometer by rubbing the tip between your fingers. Hold the thermometer as still as you can with 1 hand. Hold the tip of the thermometer in between your thumb and index finger on the other hand. Rub your thumb and finger together as fast as you can to raise the reading on the thermometer.[7]
    Fake a Fever Step 9.jpg
    • A digital thermometer is usually a plastic frame with a metal tip and a digital readout on the other end.
  4. Eat or drink something warm before having your temp taken by mouth. If someone will be watching you take your temperature, you can increase the temperature of your mouth before the reading. Eat or drink something warm, like soup or tea, just before they take your temperature. Don’t make it so hot that you burn your mouth, though! Hold a little bit of the food or drink in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.[8]
    Fake a Fever Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • You could even save some of the warm liquid under your tongue to stick the thermometer in during the reading.

EditAdding Symptoms

  1. Say that you’re cold, not hot. People with a fever often feel cold, even though their skin is warm to the touch. If someone comes to check on you, be sure you’re under the covers or are wearing warm clothes. Tell them you’re cold and think you have a fever. Add a few subtle shivers in to make your act more convincing.[9]
  2. Act like you’re tired. If you want to fake a fever, you can’t be bouncing around like you feel good. You need to be dragging your feet and acting like you don’t have any energy. For instance, lean on your arm when sitting like you can hardly keep your head up. You can also keep your eyes partially closed, as if they’re too heavy to fully open.[10]
    Fake a Fever Step 12.jpg
  3. Pretend that you don’t have an appetite. Another symptom of a fever is a lack of appetite. If someone asks if they can get you anything, don’t ask for a hamburger and fries! Instead, ask for water, tea, or juice. Save the snacking for when you’re all alone, or ask for something simple, like toast or soup.[11]
  4. Sniffle, sneeze, or cough to fake a cold. Cold symptoms often go hand in hand with a fever, so you could add a few sniffles, a cough, or sneeze to your act. Scatter some tissues around your bed or room to make it look more believable.[12]
    • Eating spicy food can also make your nose run!
  5. Fake a headache or stomachache instead of a cold. If you aren’t confident faking cold symptoms, complain of either a headache or a stomachache instead. Hold the part of your body that you say doesn’t feel good. If you pretend to have a stomachache, go to the bathroom and wait for longer than usual before coming back out.[13]
    • For instance, you could say, “My tummy really hurts.”
  6. Don’t overdo it. Your act should be realistic, not dramatic and unbelievable. Add only 1 or 2 symptoms to the “fever” and don’t act as though you are dying from a mystery illness. If you take it too far, the person could either realize you’re faking or believe the act and want to take you to the doctor.[14]
    Fake a Fever Step 14.jpg
    • For instance, you don’t want to be coughing, saying you need to vomit, and moaning while you roll on the floor. That’s a bit too much.

EditConfessing If You’re Caught

  1. Admit you’re faking if someone confronts you. If your parent catches you heating up the thermometer or pressing a hot water bottle to your head, admit that you are trying to fake a fever. Though you might be tempted to deny what you’re doing, continuing the act when you’ve already been caught will only get you in more trouble.[15]
    • For instance, you could say, “You’re right, Mom. I was only pretending to be sick.”
  2. Explain why you’re faking sick. Your parents are likely going to be pretty upset that you were taking such extreme measures to stay home from school, practice, or other obligations. Be honest about the reason you don’t want to go, rather than creating more lies. Share your feelings without making excuses.[16]
    • For example, you could say, “I have a huge history test today and I didn’t study. I was faking sick so that I wouldn’t fail the test.”
  3. Apologize for lying. Now that you’ve come clean, sincerely apologize for trying to trick them. Make it clear that you know what you did is wrong, and agree to be more honest in the future. Recognize that they might find it hard to trust you now that you’ve been caught in a lie.[17]
  4. Accept the consequences. Your parents might ground you, take away privileges, or otherwise discipline you for lying. Rather than arguing or talking back, accept the consequences for lying and avoid doing it again. You can work to earn back their trust by being honest, responsible, and helpful.[18]



  • if you want, wear excessive amount of clothing when you sleep. But wake up 10minutes earlier to take them off and tell your mom or dad you’re “kind of hot and have a stomach ache”!
  • Faking a fever can get you in trouble and cause the person you lied to not to trust you any longer. It’s often better to just do the thing you don’t want to, rather than pretending to be sick.


  • Never take medicine for an illness you don’t have—it can actually make you sick!
  • Do not stick a thermometer in the microwave. It will not raise the temperature, and you’ll destroy the thermometer and likely the microwave.
  • Don’t put an onion in your armpit to increase your body temperature! It doesn’t work and it will only make you smell like onions.

EditRelated wikiHows

  • Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off
  • Fake Sick to Stay Home from School
  • Fake an Injury
  • Fake a Headache at School

EditSources and Citations

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