Oh, the fever. It’s a common thing that happens to all of us at one time or another: your body temperature suddenly rises and you feel weaker than usual. But often, how do you know if it’s serious? When should you see a doctor? These are the questions we hope to answer in this blog post, looking at the causes of fevers, how to tell if yours is too high, and what action to take if necessary.
To begin, let’s define what a fever is and what is the normal body temperature level.
Fever is an abnormal increase in body temperature – usually defined as a temperature above 37.5°C (99.5°F). It indicates that your body is fighting an infection, injury, or other type of stress, and is protecting itself from further harm by trying to limit the spread of the virus or bacteria causing the fever. Normal body temperature can vary slightly from person to person and even throughout the day, but is generally between 36-37°C (96-98.6°F). Knowing what a fever is and what are normal temperatures for your own body will help you identify and quickly treat any potential health issues.
How to detect fever?
Detecting a fever can be easy when you know how to go about it. The most common sign of fever is feeling warm to the touch or a temperature above 38°C, which can be assessed using a thermometer taken by mouth, rectum, axillary or tympanic (in the ear). It is important to note that there are several types of fever and the symptoms can vary depending on the condition being treated.
Also, older people tend to show more ambiguous signs due to age, so if they seem nauseous, listless, or even disoriented, this may also indicate a fever and warrant a visit to the doctor. Knowing how to spot these signs in time can help speed up treatment and improve recovery for sick people.
What other signs and symptoms may you have?
- Chills and tremors.
- Muscle stiffness.
- Night sweats.
- Fever that comes and goes.
- Significant body heat on waking.
How is the cause of a fever diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask you when your fever started and how high it went. He will ask you about other symptoms and examine you for signs of infection. He will check for any lumps in your neck and examine your heart and lungs. Tell your doctor if you have recently had an operation or an infection. You may also need blood or urine tests to check for infection. Ask about other tests you may need if blood and urine tests do not explain the cause of your fever.
What to do in case of fever?
You may need one of the following medicines, depending on the cause of your fever:
- NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, reduce swelling, temperature, and pain. These drugs can be obtained with or without a doctor’s prescription. NSAIDs can trigger stomach bleeding or cause kidney problems for some people. If you are taking blood thinners, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months old without the advice of a healthcare professional.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. This medication is available without a medical prescription. Ask about the dose and frequency of use. Follow the instructions.
- Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed for an infection caused by bacteria.
Here are some tips to apply to beat the fever naturally.
- Drink more fluids as directed. Fever causes sweating. This phenomenon can aggravate your vulnerability to dehydration. Drinks are an effective way to stay hydrated.
- Take soups or broth. Their components help strengthen your immune system.
- Ask your doctor if you should drink oral rehydration solution. Since it contains the adequate amounts of water, salts and sugar that you need to replace body fluids.
- Wear seasonally appropriate clothing. Chills are often synonymous with a fever attack. Do not add extra blankets or clothing. This could raise your fever even more. Put on light and comfortable clothes. To sleep, opt for a blanket or a light sheet. Replace clothes, blanket or sheets if they are damp.
- Refresh yourself safely. Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or dampen a washcloth with cool water. Put them on your forehead or neck.
In which cases should you consult immediately?
- Fever does not go away or gets worse even after treatment.
- You have a stiff neck and a bad headache.
- You are confused. You are not able to think clearly or remember things as you normally do.
- Your heart beats faster than usual, even after the treatment.
- You experience some shortness of breath or chest pain when breathing.
- You urinate very little, if at all.
- Your face, your lips or your nails take on a blue tint.