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Fever

fever
By Medicover Hospitals / 20 Jan 2021
Home | symptoms | fever
  • Fever is a higher body temperature than is considered normal. It's also called a high temperature, hyperthermia, or pyrexia, and it's usually a sign that your body is working to keep you healthy from infection. Normal body temperatures are different for everyone but are between 97 to 99. A temperature of 100.4 considered to be a fever.
  • Article Context:

    1. What is Fever?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Home remedies
    7. FAQ's

    What is Fever?

    • A fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature. It’s a sign of your body's natural fight against infection.
    • For adults, a fever is when your temperature is higher than 100.4°F.
    • For kids, a fever is when their temperature is higher than 100.4°F (measured rectally); 99.5°F (measured orally or under the arm)
    • The average normal body temperature is 98.6° Fahrenheit or 37° C. When you or your child’s temperature rises a few degrees above normal, it’s a sign that the body is healthy and fighting infection. In most cases, that’s a good thing.
    • But when a fever rises above 102°F, it should be treated at home and, if necessary, by your healthcare provider if the fever doesn’t go down after a few days.

    Causes:

  • Multiple types of infections, inflammatory disorders, and conditions can lead to a fever. More common infections include flu, pneumonia, appendicitis, and urinary tract infections. Rheumatoid arthritis and other connective tissue inflammatory conditions can also be present with a fever. Your baby may even have a fever when teething. Because there are so many possibilities, it is important to contact your doctor to address your concerns and answer your questions.
  • Possible causes of fever:

  • Fever is a sign of many types of infections:
    • Abscess
    • Appendicitis
    • Bronchitis
    • Cellulitis
    • Common cold
    • Diverticulitis
    • Ear infection
    • Gallbladder disease
    • Gastroenteritis
    • Pancreatitis
    • Urinary tract infection

    Other causes of fever:

  • Fever can also be caused by inflammatory conditions, including:
    • Arthritis
    • Autoimmune disorders
    • Cancer
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus

    Life-threatening causes of fever:

  • In some cases, fever may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. These conditions include:
    • Brain abscess
    • Epiglottitis
    • Influenza, particularly in the very old or young
    • Liver abscess
    • Meningitis
    • Pericarditis
    • Pneumonia
    • Septic shock
    • Tuberculosis

    Diagnosis:

    • A fever is a symptom, not an illness. A doctor can diagnose a fever by checking the person’s body temperature, but they will also need to diagnose the reason for the fever.
    • To do so, they will examine the individual and ask them about any other symptoms and their medical history.
    • If the person has recently experienced another infection, if they have recently had surgery, or if there is pain or swelling in one area, it may indicate what kind of infection is likely to be present.
    • To confirm a diagnosis, the doctor may recommend:
      • a blood test
      • a urine test
      • imaging tests
    • The treatment they prescribe will depend on the cause of the fever.

    Treatment:

  • For a low-grade fever, your doctor may not recommend treatment to lower your body temperature. These minor fevers may even help reduce the number of microbes causing your illness.
  • Over-the-counter medications:

    • In the case of a high fever, or a low fever that's causing discomfort, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others).
    • Use these medications according to the label instructions or as recommended by your doctor. Be careful to avoid taking too much. High doses or long-term use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen may cause liver or kidney damage, and acute overdoses can be fatal. If your child's fever remains high after a dose, don't give more medication; call your doctor instead.
    • Don't give aspirin to children, because it may trigger a rare, but potentially fatal, disorder known as Reye's syndrome.

    Prescription medications:

    • Depending on the cause of your fever, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, especially if he or she suspects a bacterial infection, such as pneumonia or strep throat.
    • Antibiotics don't treat viral infections, but there are a few antiviral drugs used to treat certain viral infections. However, the best treatment for most minor illnesses caused by viruses is often rest and plenty of fluids.

    Treatment of infants:

  • For infants, especially those younger than 28 days, your baby might need to be admitted to the hospital for testing and treatment. In babies this young, a fever could indicate a serious infection that requires intravenous (IV) medications and round-the-clock monitoring.
  • When to visit a Doctor?

    • A mild fever can typically be treated at home. In some cases, however, a fever can be a symptom of a serious medical condition that requires prompt treatment.
    • You should take your infant to a doctor if they’re:
      • younger than 3 months old and have a temperature exceeding 100.4°F (38°C)
      • between 3 and 6 months old, have a temperature over 102°F (38.9°C), and seem unusually irritable, lethargic, or uncomfortable
      • between 6 and 24 months old and have a temperature higher than 102°F (38.9°C) that lasts longer than one day
    • You should take your child to see a doctor if they:
      • have a body temperature exceeding 102.2°F (39°C)
      • have had a fever for more than three days
      • make poor eye contact with you
      • seem restless or irritable
      • have recently had one or more immunizations
      • have a serious medical illness or a compromised immune system
      • have recently been in a developing country
    • You should call your doctor if you:
      • have a body temperature exceeding 103°F (39.4°C)
      • have had a fever for more than three days
      • have a serious medical illness or a compromised immune system
      • have recently been in a developing country
    • You or your child should also see a doctor as soon as possible if a fever is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
      • a severe headache
      • throat swelling
      • a skin rash, especially if the rash gets worse
      • sensitivity to bright light
      • a stiff neck and neck pain
      • persistent vomiting
      • listlessness or irritability
      • abdominal pain
      • pain when urinating
      • muscle weakness
      • trouble breathing or chest pain
      • confusion
    • Your doctor will probably perform a physical examination and medical tests. This will help them determine the cause of the fever and an effective course of treatment.

    Home Remedies:

    • An individual with a fever should be kept comfortable and not overdressed. Overdressing can cause the temperature to rise further. Tepid water baths or sponge baths are a home remedy that may help bring down a fever. Never immerse a person with a fever in ice water. This is a common misconception. Never sponge a child or an adult with alcohol; the alcohol fumes may be inhaled, causing many problems.
    • Other home remedies for fever include staying hydrated. Drink plenty of water and fluids, and avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages, which can contribute to dehydration. Popsicles can also be cooling and provide fluids while also soothing a sore throat if that is present.
    • A fan to circulate air or an open window may be helpful, as well as applying a cool damp washcloth to the forehead. If you are caring for a child, make sure the child does not feel too cold.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Signs and symptoms of a fever include the following:
    • Temperature is greater than 100.4 F (38 C) in adults and children.
    • Shivering, shaking, and chills.
    • Aching muscles and joints or other body aches.
    There are five patterns: intermittent, remittent, continuous, or sustained, hectic, and relapsing. With intermittent fever, the temperature is elevated but falls to normal (37.2°C or below) each day, while in a remittent fever the temperature falls each day but not to normal.
    Body temperature rises naturally in the evening, so a fever that was slight during the day can easily spike during sleep.
    Most fevers usually go away by themselves after 1 to 3 days. A persistent or recurrent fever may last or keep coming back for up to 14 days. A fever that lasts longer than normal may be serious even if it is only a slight feve
    As you make progress against the infection, your set point drops back to normal. But your body temperature is still higher, so you feel hot. That's when your sweat glands kick in and start producing more sweat to cool you off. This could mean your fever is breaking and you're on the road to recovery.

    Citations:

  • Fever - https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/physrev.1991.71.1.93
  • Fever and survival - https://science.sciencemag.org/content/188/4184/166.abstract
  • Concepts of Fever- https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/209609