Rising body temperature that goes with a pill to the long-lasting high fever that needs hospitalization, fevers have not left anyone. This is one of the most common illnesses which bears no one from infants to elderly.
Medically, fever is an internal rise in body temperature due to any kind of infection or any other reason. The normal body temperature is 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit and anything above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever. The common sites in the body where the temperature can be measured are the mouth, under the arms, and the rectum.
Fever seems very unpleasant and difficult to bear owing to the discomfort due to the high temperature. Mostly, fever goes on its own after two or three days with generic medicines, however, for prolonged existence, one should immediately seek medical help and get proper blood tests done. Especially, in young children, elderly, or others with the specific medical condition, it should never be ignored.
Facts about Fever:
• Fever is generally accompanied with chills, shivering, sweating, palpitations, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
• Most common causes of fever are a bacterial and viral infection
• Fevers are mostly the body’s response to fight any kind of infection
• Mostly over-the-counter medicines are taken for fever, however, a doctor’s consultation should be the priority.
What Causes Fever?
The rise in body temperature could be due to multiple reasons. A few of them include infection, illness, or reaction to medicines. Some other causes of fever are listed below.
• Infection due to food, water or air can cause fever like in Influenza, food poisoning, malaria, typhoid, common cold, HIV, gastroenteritis. There are specific medical tests like the Widal Test and others to diagnose the type of fever to initiate the right course of treatment.
• Illicit drugs or medicines including antibiotics, amphetamine or cocaine can cause fever
• Injuries like burns, cuts, fracture, sunstroke etc can cause a rise in temperature.
• Medical conditions like heart attack, heat stroke, surgery, hemorrhage, arthritis, gout, blood clots etc lead to fever.
There are also many other undefined conditions and reasons that may lead to fever.
Types and Grades of Fever
There are grades of fever like a low-grade fever, moderate fever, high grade or hyperpyrexia. Based on the body temperature, the grade of the fever is identified. Acute fever lasts for less than 7 days which is mostly the case with upper respiratory tract infection. With a change in weather or allergies, we usually get this fever. Next, is the sub-acute type of fever which lasts for 7 to 14 days as in Typhoid. Chronic fever persists for more than 14 days and is mostly observed in patients with tuberculosis, HIV, and cancer.
Home Remedies and Treatment for Fever
For low grade and common fever, taking care at home for two to three days is always advisable. One should try to heal and get well by taking enough rest and remaining hydrated. Fever usually leads to dehydration which further complicates any case requiring a medical emergency. So, always try to drink enough fluid. However, if the case is with infants, then seeing a doctor is a must. A few things you can do at home are listed below.
• Take a sponge bath
• Drink enough fluid
• Take a cool bath
• Keep the room temperature in moderation or a little cooler
• For taking any medication, take a doctor’s suggestion
Warning Signs to see a Doctor During Fever
People suffering from fever should consult a doctor if they experience other associated symptoms. These might indicate some underlying medical condition or worsen the infection that caused the fever. Some symptoms to watch include,
• Stiffness in the neck
• Worsening headache
• Loss of consciousness and mental stability
• Swelling in joints
• Troubled urination
• Chest pain or abdominal pain
• Productive cough
• A fever that is consistent for more than three days
Fevers shooting high can cause tissue damage and should be brought under medical supervision so that it can be controlled effectively. The treatment will be administered based on the cause of the fever.
Fever in Newborns
Fevers require management and a little waiting at home before seeking any medicinal help. However, in case of newborns or kids under the age of 4 months, a rectal temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit necessitates a quick medical assistance. You should also watch out for other warning signs like,
• Dullness and inactivity in the child
• Child always crying and not drinking the milk
• Drowsy child or seizures
• Sore throat, skin rash, stiff neck, earache or headache
A fever is very easy to measure and every home has a thermometer these days. But it is difficult to diagnose the cause of fever. That is why it advised to wait and manage a fever at home only till two or three days. Meeting a doctor on time can lead to a series of diagnostic tests which can help determine the cause of the fever and adequate treatment for that. You are the best one to understand the language of your body and health. So, keep watching yourself and seek medical help to rule out any risk.