Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Milk and Fevers

Question: Is it harmful to drink milk when you're running a fever? My mother-in-law has told me it will curdle in your stomach. I think this is another old wives tale. You would not believe everything else she tells me, a lot which contradicts my pediatrician. - Sharon

Answer: Your Question: Fever is the body's way of fighting infection. It may be in combination with other symptoms of illness. Milk curdling is not specific to having a fever.

When you're ill and not feeling well, almost any food will curdle if the stomach can't properly digest it. Because of it's specific protein content, milk and diary products tend to coagulate or "curdle" when mixed with stomach acids that normally digest food we eat. The digestive process slows down or speeds up (depending on what the problem is).

Another problem that may cause the "curdle" is something called REFLUX. This is commonly known as heartburn. It occurs when food and digestive acids come back up the food pipe (esophagus) when partially digested. Milk and other foods appear to look curdled.

I'm sure everyone has "tales" relating to their own experiences. Myths are passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes they're real!

P.S. Stick to Gatorade or similar liquid when having an upset stomach.

Dr. Betti

Also see:

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  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.