Do you have a fever, or are you looking after someone who does? Read on to learn how to break it.
First, take the temperature and assess the symptoms. If it is 38°C or higher, you have a fever, unfortunately. If this is the case, stay in your bed and rest.
Remember to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water, iced tea, or diluted juice, in order to replenish lost fluid from sweating.
In addition, feel free to use medication to reduce fever. Make sure to follow the instructions regarding dosage, and never mix them with other fever medications. Do not give aspirin to babies or children without consulting a doctor. Infants under 6 months must not take medication.
To stay cool, remove extra clothing and blankets unless you have the chills from the fever.
Different people find different things soothing, so try to take tepid baths or cold compresses for more comfort. However, avoid cold baths, ice cube baths, and alcohol baths/rubs.
Remember to always consult with your doctor if you have any extra concerns.
The fever is your body’s response to fighting infections from viruses and bacteria. Sunburn or getting immunizations may also cause fevers, and anyone can one, regardless of their age, and those with compromised immune systems tend to have them more often.
Assessing the situation
Healthy adults with a slight fever may feel like a truck ran them over, while babies with a high fever may feel rather comfortable. However, opposites also happen, depending on the person, as fevers are not one-size-fits-all, nor are the symptoms. The overall comfort level and symptoms may tell you how to treat it. The following symptoms are possible: weakness or lightheadedness, loss of appetite, headache, muscle aches, chills, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and rash.
Symptoms like nausea or vomiting resolve quickly with medical attention, while rashes are a bigger concern worthy of a checkup at the doctor.
If the fever is over 39.4° C, seek immediate medical attention, especially if you also experience confusion, hallucinations, and convulsions.
The baseline temperature for most people is of 37°C, while some have slightly higher or lower. Daily fluctuations are a normal occurrence.
Important thing is that different types of thermometers give different results. You have a fever if oral, rectal, ear or temporal artery thermometers read 38°C or higher. With armpit thermometers, anything over 37°C is a fever.
Most pediatricians recommend rectal thermometers for infants and babies, and it is smart to determine which type to use with your doctor. Always let them know which one you used, no matter the age of the person with a fever.
When to see a doctor
Regarding children, infants up to 3 months should see a doctor if they have a fever of 38°C or more.
Babies from 3 to 6 months may not require treatments up to 38.9°C. If the baby experiences other symptoms or if it goes over that number, call the doctor.
Children between 6 months to 2 years with temperatures of or above 38.9°C can take OTC medications under the supervision of a doctor.
Children from the age 2 to 17 do not need medication for 38.9°C temperatures. If there is irritability or muscle aches, medication is fine. If the fever goes beyond this, use medication to lower it. If the fever lingers for more than a few days, consult a doctor.
Adults over 18 typically do not require medication at 38.9°C. Above this, medication may be used. It goes over 39.4°C or does not respond to the treatment, call or see a doctor. Those with symptoms like a stiff neck, severe pain anywhere, or shortness of breath, are advised to ask for medical attention.
With adults over 65, fevers do not automatically require special treatment. If shortness of breath or confusion appears, seek medical advice. If it goes over 38.9°C or does not come down after two days, try OTC medications and make sure they do not conflict with other potential medications.
If you have an immune system is compromised, seek care and advice from a doctor. This is common in people with HIV, cancer, or autoimmune diseases. Also, remember that fever is often a sign of some infection. They are fast and hard to treat. If you find yourself here, seek immediate help if you experience a fever.