What you need to know about fever

Fever is when the body temperature of an individual exceeds the normal 36–37 ° C (98–100 ° Fahrenheit) range. It is a common sign of a medical condition.

Pyrexia and regulated hyperthermia are other words for a fever.

As the temperature of the body increases, the person will feel cold until he levels off and stops rising.

A child having fever
Fevers are common but can be unpleasant.

Normal body temperatures of individuals may differ and are influenced by factors such as feeding, exercising, sleeping and what time of day it is. Our body temperature normally reaches its peak at around 6 p.m. And at the lowest, about 3 a.m.

A high body temperature, or fever, is one of the ways our immune system tries to fight off an infection. The increase in body temperature usually helps the person overcome an infection. It can sometimes rise too high, however, in which case the fever can be severe and lead to complications.

Doctors say there’s no need to bring it down as long as the fever is mild– if the fever isn’t serious it’s probably helping to neutralize the bacterium or virus that causes the infection. Antipyretics are called drugs to put down a fever. If the fever causes undue pain, it may be advised to take an antipyretic.

It is no longer mild when a fever hits or exceeds 38 ° Centigrade (100.4 ° Fahrenheit), and should be tested every few hours.

When the thermometer is inserted in the mouth, these temperatures apply to oral measurement. The temperature tests lower than it really is for typical ampit temperatures and the figures are decreased by around 0.2–0.3 ° Centigrade.

  • feeling cold when nobody else does
  • shivering
  • lack of appetite
  • dehydration — preventable if the person drinks plenty of fluids
  • depression
  • hyperalgesia, or increased sensitivity to pain
  • lethargy
  • problems concentrating
  • sleepiness
  • sweating

If the fever is high, there may also be extreme irritability, confusion, delirium, and seizures.

Treatment

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help bring down a fever. These are available for sale over- the-counter. However, a mild fever will help fight the infection-causing bacterium or virus. Bringing them down may not be perfect.

If a bacterial infection has caused the fever, the doctor may recommend an antibiotic.

If a cold induces a fever, which is caused by a viral infection, NSAIDs can be used to alleviate painful symptoms. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses, so your doctor will not prescribe them for a viral infection.

Intake of fluids: Anyone with a fever will consume a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration. Dehydration can make any illness more complicated.

Heat stroke: NSAIDs will not be successful when fever has been caused by hot weather or intense exercise endured by the person. The patient needs cooling down. If they become confused or unconscious, a doctor should treat them immediately.

Causes

Fever can be caused by a number of factors:

  • an infection, such as strep throat, flu, chickenpox, or pneumonia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • some medications
  • overexposure of skin to sunlight, or sunburn
  • heat stroke, resulting either by exposure to high temperatures or prolonged strenuous exercise
  • dehydration
  • silicosis, a type of lung disease caused by long-term exposure to silica dust
  • amphetamine abuse
  • alcohol withdrawal

Types

Severity

A fever can be:

  • low grade, from 100.5–102.1°F or 38.1–39°C
  • moderate, from 102.2–104.0°F or 39.1–40°C
  • high, from 104.1–106.0°F to or 40.1-41.1°C
  • hyperpyrexia, above 106.0°F or 41.1°C

The height of the temperature may help indicate what type of problem is causing it.

Length of time

A fever can be:

  • acute if it lasts less than 7 days
  • sub-acute, if it lasts up to 14 days
  • chronic or persistent, if it persists for over 14 days

In children

Children with high temperatures may have a febrile seizure, also known as a febrile fit or febrile seizure, most of which are not serious and may result from an ear infection, gastroenteritis, or breathing virus, or cold. Less frequently, something more severe, like meningitis, a kidney infection or pneumonia may cause febrile seizures.

Febrile seizures more commonly occur in children aged 6 months to 6 years and more often affect boys than girls.

Seizures occur because the body temperature rises too rapidly and not because it has long been preserved.

There are two febrile seizures of this type:

1) Simple febrile seizure – the seizure lasts no longer than 15 minutes (in most cases less than 5 minutes) and does not occur again during a 24-hour period.

Usually involves the entire body— a generalized tonic-clonic seizure. It is this form that most febrile seizures are. Symptoms— the body becomes rigid and the arms and legs start twitching, the patient loses consciousness (but the eyes remain open).

There may be irregular breathing, and the child might urinate, defecate, or both. There could also be vomiting.

2) Complex febrile seizure – the seizure lasts longer, comes back more often, and tends not to affect the whole body, but rather only part of the body.

This type of seizure is a cause for more concern than simple febrile seizures.

In most cases a health care provider will treat a child with a seizure. Temperature may be regulated by sponging or acetaminophen (paracetamol). If required, you can prescribe an anticonvulsant, such as sodium valproate or clonazepam.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing a fever is easy-the temperature of the patient is taken, they have a fever if the reading is high. Taking the temperature of the individual when they are at rest is significant, since physical activity will warm us up.

A person is said to have a fever if:

  • The temperature in the mouth is over 37.7° Centigrade (99.9° Fahrenheit).
  • The temperature in the rectum (anus) is over 37.5–38.3° Centigrade (100–101 Fahrenheit).
  • The temperature under the arm or inside the ear is over 37.2 Centigrade (99 Fahrenheit).

Since fever is a symptom rather than an infection, certain diagnostic tests may be performed when the doctor has concluded that there is an elevated body temperature. These may include blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, or other imaging scans, depending on what other signs and symptoms may occur.

Prevention

Hygiene-Fevers are commonly caused by infections of bacteria or viruses. Good hygiene practices help lower the risk of an infection emerging. This involves pre- and post-meal hand washing, and after going to the toilet.

To prevent the infection from spreading, a person with a fever caused by an infection should have as little contact as possible with other people. Whoever cares for the patient should wash their hands frequently with warm water and soap.

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