Health

Feeling Feverish? What Are The Causes, Treatment And The Complications?

Are you feeling feverish? What could be the cause? Well, there are several causes of fever and varies in degrees.

 Fever is not a disease itself. It is a symptom indicating that something is going wrong in the body. A low-grade fever is not alarming, but a temperature of 102 or higher should be investigated and treated.

What is fever?

Increased body temperature above average (98.6F or 37 C) due to some underlying pathology. Fever is alternatively known as pyrexia, hyperthermia, and febrile. 

In Children: rise in temperature above 100F is alarming

In Adults: Temperature up to 102 or more should be addressed.

Causes Of Fever

Some of the common causes of fever are: 

• Viral infection

• Bacterial infection

• Heat exhaustion

• Inflammatory diseases

• Malignant tumour

• Some Medicines used in the treatment of high blood pressure and seizures.

• Few vaccinations include Covid vaccine Diptheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines.

Exceptions:

While looking at the causes, one should exclude some exceptional conditions that cause an increase in body temperature. The average body temperature of each person varies.

There can be fluctuation in the body temperature as the sun sets. In some cases, body temperature is lower during the daytime and higher at night. There can be an increase in body temperature during the menstrual cycle. And heavy strenuous exercise can raise the temperature as well.

Change in emotions such as stress, sadness and excitement. 

How to Measure Body Temperature:

Body temperature is measured by a thermometer either orally, rectally or at the axilla. During the COVID Pandemic, infrared devices were used to measure body temperature without physical contact. 

Associated Symptoms:

Headache

• Rash

• Persistent vomiting.

• Sensitivity to light

• Abdominal pain

• Mental confusion

• Shortness of breath

• Altered speech

• Loss of appetite

• Seizures.

• Sweating

Treating Fever at Home:

Treatment of fever depends on the severity of the disease. Usually, low-grade fever doesn’t require any intervention. Only fluids and rest are beneficial in such cases. 

In Children, illness is not severe if the child is:

Active and playing

Alert 

Has normal skin colour

I was taking regular feed or eating and drinking adequately.

Elevated temperature can be treated at home by:

They are removing excessive clothing and blankets. One layer of clothing and a blanket is enough.

The room temperature should be comfortable. It should be too hot or too cold.

Sponging with lukewarm water or a lukewarm bath will help in lowering the body temperature. 

The following medications can be used

Acetaminophen

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

When to Seek Medical Advice:

Low-grade fever can be treated at home; however, if the temperature is more than 102F, it’s better to seek medical advice as there could be a severe underlying pathology triggering high-grade fever.

In Infants:

Age less than three months and has a temperature of more than 100.4F

An infant aged between 3 and 6 months who is irritable and lethargic and has a temperature exceeding 102F 

In between the age 6 to 24 months, with temperatures exceeding 102F and lasting longer than one day.

In Children:

Fever for more than three days.

Temperature exceeding 102F

Restless and irritable

Not making eye contact

I had recently gotten one or more vaccination done.

Compromised Immune system

In Adults:

Temperature exceeding 103F

Temperature for more than three days

Severe medical illness or immune system is compromised.

The doctor will perform a general physical examination and ask for medical tests to diagnose the causes of the fever and suggest effective medical treatment.

A fever is a Medical Emergency. When:

  1. Patient is confused
  2. The patient is having trouble breathing
  3. The patient is having hallucinations
  4. The patient is complaining of chest pain
  5. The patient is unable to walk
  6. Patient gets unconscious
  7. Patient is cyanotic 
  8. The patient has a stiff neck
  9. The child is crying and cannot be calmed down.
  10. The patient is having seizures.

Prevention of Fever:

Infections mainly cause fever and can be prevented by restricting exposure to infectious pathogens. 

Secondly, good hygiene can help prevent fever by limiting exposure to pathogens and their sources. Some of the ways to practice good hygiene are:

Washing hands:

Washing hands before having food, after exposure to pets, after using the washroom, and after using public transport to visit a sick person. 

Using hand sanitiser:

In circumstances where water and soap are unavailable, a hand sanitizer is a good option. However, one should wash their hands thoroughly when they have excess water and soap.

Avoid spreading germs: 

Practice covering your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing; the same should be harsh to the children so that their habits develop from childhood.

Getting vaccinated for infectious diseases is the wisest decision you will ever make. For DIsease such as Influenza, diptheria, pertussis and Covid. Vaccinations are readily available worldwide. 

Avoid sharing utensils: 

If you are suffering from fever, avoid sharing your cups, spoons, glasses, etc., with other family members, especially children, to prevent the spread of infection. 

 

Complications of fever.

A low-grade fever is least likely to cause any complications. However, a fever of more than 103F can lead to severe complications such as

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Dehydration
  • Photophobia

High-grade fever, if left untreated, can cause serious risks to health. High-grade fever for a prolonged period can be dangerous or life-threatening, especially in children.  

Fever associated with a medical illness like pneumonia can cause serious threats to life, weakening the immune system. 

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