In the previous article,Benefits of Fever - Part 1 we have gone through the health benefits of a fever.Now,here we will see when and how should be a fever treated.You should be familiar to record exact body temperature with clinical thermometer.If not,learn from the Doctor or hospital staff correct way of recording axial,rectal or oral body temperature.You can either use a regular mercury glass clinical thermometer or for ease the digital one.
Remember axial body temperature recording is 1°F less than the oral body temperature.Oral/Rectal body temperature is considered to check a fever.
When to seek help
- Fever needs to be treated only if they are causing discomfort.Usually a fever has to be above 102 or 103°F to make uncomfortable.
- A rectal temperature of more than 100.4°F or greater in an infant less than 6 weeks old.
- Fever of more than five days duration.
- High grade fever accompanied by lethargy.The child is limp and unresponsive,won't make eye contact,or generally just looks and acts really sick.
- High grade fever accompanied by any of the symptoms of meningitis: an unusual skin rash,severe headache,aversion to light,confusion,neck stiffness.
- Constant,inconsolable crying baby.
- Children between the ages of 6 months to 3 years can develops seizure from fever called febrile seizures marked by momentary loss of consciousness,eyes rolling back,shaking,twitching or stiffening.If your child have a febrile seizure,there is a chance that the seizure may occur again but usually children outgrow the febrile seizure.A febrile seizure does not mean your child has epilepsy.
In following fever cases you should seek medical advice immediately:
- In children under the age of 3 months.
- In the elderly.
- In people with compromised immune system or chronic diseases.
- For fever greater than 104°F
- For fever greater than 102°F for more than 2-3 days.
- A febrile child who is vomiting non-stop or not drinking fluids.
- If the person with fever is acting strange,is extremely weak,or if there is anything else that makes you suspicious that something more serious is happening.
How to deal with a fever
- Acetaminophen or Paracetamol is usually prescribed by most Doctors to treat a fever.The exact dosage is important because acetaminophen can cause liver damage and ibuprofen kidney damage.
- So if you give medications to your feverish kids,make sure you follow the dose instructions to the letter.The dose of a drug is calculated as per weight of the patient e.g Dose of Paracetamol is 15 mg/Kg/dose or 50 mg/kg/day in divided doses.
- Different formulations of fever medications come in different strengths,so the dropper/dose of one bottle of medicine might not be right for another bottle.Always check the expiry of the drug before using it.
- Never use Nimesulide or Aspirin to children or adolescents for fever.
- Lower a temperature of over a 39°C or 102°F by sponging all over with tepid water.Take the temperature every 5 minutes and stop tepid sponging when temperature drops lower than 38°C or 100°F.Never use cold water for this as it causes blood vessels to constrict,preventing heat loss and therefore driving the temperature up.
- Stay home if you have a fever.In most cases fever is a sign that the body is fighting a infection.The last thing you want to do is spreading that around.
- Keep yourself warm.There is reason that you may feel chilly when your temperature is high-your body is trying to enlist your help in trying in raising your temperature by having you bundle up,take a warm bath,eat warm food or drink warm fluid.
- For every degree centigrade increase in temperature during a fever,metabolism is increased by 10%.So you may feel hungry during fever.Take warm soup or warm food.
- Increase in metabolism during a fever means body is shedding more waste products and kidneys are working harder than normal.Your throat may feel dry also due to the heat and dehydration caused during fever.Drink electrolyte and warm tea if you like to keep body hydrated.Encourage to drink as much liquid as possible by offering small amounts of fluid at regular interval.
- If the room is warm or stuffy,place a fan nearby to keep the cool air moving.
- Always be patient and allow rest.This applies whether you are the one who has a fever or someone you are caring for is feverish.For a child,wrapping them in a blanket and allow them to read a book or watch cartoons can work wonder.For adults,just allow yourself to rest and know that your body is very smart enough and it knows what to do if you let it.
Note: The information included in this post is for educational purposes only.It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.