A ‘fever’ is a common sign of illness and it can happen to anyone, ranging from children to the elderly. Fever also plays a key role in fighting infections in our body caused by viruses or bacteria. It can also be caused due to heat exhaustion. People with the compromised immune system may catch a fever more often due to low fighting capabilities of the body.
Most people have a baseline body temperature of 98.6°F (37°C) but it may vary a little. Slightly higher or lower temperature fluctuations can occur due to environmental or physical factors. If the fever rises over 103°F (39.4°C) and if the body does not respond to over-the-counter drugs, medical help should be warranted. There are different types of thermometers and there also might be a variation in the results.
The temperature can be taken from the mouth, rectum, ear, or under the arm. These regions help to determine the exact temperature. Oral temperature measurements are most common in adults whereas rectal thermometers are better suited for children.
A first-aid kit should always contain basic fever pills like Paracetamol, Aspirin or Combiflam. It should be taken in control measures and telephonic advice of a specialist is preferable at the least.
Checking for expiration dates of the medicines is important as expired tablets can harm the body causing internal or external damage. It can induce more symptoms or lead the common flu to an absolutely different direction.
The Common Symptoms of Fever are:
- Physical weakness
- Burning sensation in the eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Souring of the mouth
- Paleness of the skin
- Muscle Aches
Causes of Fever:
- Vaccines for immunization against certain viruses
- Side-effects of drugs
- Common cold and flu
- Over-exposure to heat
- Infections in the ear, lung, throat, bladder or kidney
- Blood Clots
- Auto-immune diseases
- Hormonal disorders
- Illegal drugs, alcohol withdrawal
- Connective Tissue Disorder
When To Seek Emergency Medical Help:
- If a fever is accompanied by a spreading rash, immediate attention is to be paid as this might be a sign of some other elaborate infection or health condition. Dengue, chicken pox or measles are some of the common issues. These may be contagious sometimes and before moving outdoors, the patient should be monitored and medicated.
- If the fever is attended by seizures, hallucinations, severe pain, shortness of breath or rampant vomiting, a doctor should be contacted right at the moment.
- If the fever does not come down from 102°F (38.9°C) even after 2 days in a row, the patient should be taken to a medical facility urgently.
- If the fever is more than 104°F, it can cause severe brain damage which can cause brain strokes and death. Although not too common, it is not unheard of.
Effective Remedies for Fever:
- Staying hydrated is the first step to recovery from fever. An adult should drink a minimum of 2 liters of water per day. During a state of raised body-temperature, the body tends to lose out on moisture easily.
Dehydration can cause body-temperature to rise, giving way to dizziness, cramps or low blood pressure. Water can also be substituted with fresh fruit or vegetable juices. Orange, basil and carrot juices help in overcoming fatigue and normalise body temperature. Saffron soaked water is a known natural remedy for fever conditions and the patient should consume this drink once in every two hours.
- A soaked washcloth in cool water may provide some relief to the patient. Wringing out the excess water and sponging the main body parts like feet, hands, armpits and groin can evoke comfort. The cloth should not be too soggy as this will not yield positive results and may increase the temperature on the other hand.
- Sleeping or resting can help during fever conditions as sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system thus leading to aggravated temperature.
- Young children should be urged to drink electrolyte rehydration solutions as this has been designed according to their bodily needs. This helps in combating fever. Children are more susceptible to seizures so their temperatures should be monitored closely. They require more care than adults and have special requirements.
- A warm shower or bath (not more than 10 minutes) can help to stimulate sweat that would keep the body cool, soothe muscles and aches and decongest the nasal passage. The water should not be too hot so that an increase in the core temperature can be avoided, which may cause the fever to last. Keeping the body clean can also reduce the chances of any other infection and help the patient to recover faster.
- Making changes in a regular diet is necessary during fever conditions. Foods that increase inflammation can cause the fever to worsen and generate indigestion and bloating. Fruits, nuts, fatty fish, green leafy vegetables and whole grain products should be consumed efficiently.
Vitamin-C enriched edibles can act as a natural anti-oxidant which promotes immune system growth. It also helps in repairing cells and their growth. Tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, mango and limes are some of the common options. Rich and fatty food should be avoided and dry or bland food should be consumed for a minimum of 2-3 days.
- Ingestion of herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint can nurture relaxation and lighten gastric reflux.
- Comfortable clothing is a priority as excess clothing can disrupt airflow and trap heat, making the fever last longer. Cotton clothes and a light blanket are recommended and can be adjusted according to personal comfort.
- High room temperatures can make a fever last longer than its course. Lower room temperatures too can also evoke fever. The room should be made comfortable according to the preference of the patient.
- Staying indoors is advisable as there is no sudden change in temperature.
A viral fever is usually not a serious issue and can be controlled easily through the implementation of medicines and remedies suggested by the doctor. It can last for 2- 4 days ordinarily.
Monitoring the fever is required to note the frequency and time period of the occurrence. This will help the doctor to determine the cause of the condition and which medicines should be prescribed as well. The monitored results will help to gain an insight about the infection and its seriousness.
Preventive Measures for Fever:
- Hygiene should be maintained in order to prevent such outbursts. Here is a list of things which should be kept in mind:
- Washing hands before and after meals with an anti-septic hand wash.
- Usage of hand sanitizers.
- Covering of mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing as these are the most common ways for bacterial build up.
- Not sharing towels, utensils or food with infected people.
- Bathing with lukewarm water at night and not exposing the body to sudden temperature changes. This may lead to an unbalanced body-temperature.
Fever cannot be prevented wholly but precautions can lessen the chances of falling sick. It occurs in up to 75% of adults and 30% of adults. Generally, does not require heavy treatment. It is a defense mechanism of our body to recover from various physical or environmental changes.