When to Visit a Clinic? Fever that responds to fever-reducing medication
Fever is not an illness by itself, and it is often a sign of an existing condition. It is characterized by higher than the normal body temperature. A normal body temperature of a healthy adult or child is 370 C, but this temperature can be slightly higher or lower depending on the following factors
The age of the person
Recent activities such as basking in the sun for too long
The part of the body where the temperature is taken from. For instance, most doctors recommend the use of the tongue or the ear to take temperature as this is more accurate than the use of the armpit.
When the body temperature is between 37 and 390C, this is a sign of a mild fever, but anything between 39 and 420C is said to be a high fever. Figures above 42.40C are dangerous and require immediate care.
Causes Of Fever
Most of the time a fever shows that your body is trying to fight an infection. Although it is usually associated with discomfort, it might not necessarily need treatment depending on your physical condition, age and the cause of fever. Most doctors will tell you that fever is a natural defense from your body against infection and that numerous non-infection conditions cause fever. Some of the common causes of fever include:
Viruses such as the one that causes flu or upper respiratory tract infections
Bacterial infections such as urinary tract infection, tonsillitis or pneumonia
Tropical illnesses such as typhoid or malaria
A mild or a slightly high fever in a child or adult might just need home remedies before access to medical attention the following recommendations can help:
Drink plenty of fluids- Water is the best in such instances as it reduces dehydration which can lead to dizziness, seizures, low blood pressure and muscle cramps
Take fever-reducing drugs such as Panadol and Nurofen-These can be taken to reduce the fever especially if it is uncomfortable but they should be taken in the correct dosage
Get rid of heavy clothing- Clothes should be light to allow for air circulation and prevents excess heat which makes fever last longer
Get enough rest-This helps the body regain its normal temperature as it strengthens the immune system.
Avoid showers-Showers can constrict your blood vessels which can trap heat.
Fever In Adults
Mild fever especially in adults will usually last a few days and can be treated with OTC fever reducing and pain-relieving drugs. However, some situations need a visit to the clinic including:
If the body temperature is at 39.40C or higher
If the fever continues for more than seven days
If the symptoms of the fever get worse
Fever symptoms that warrant emergency care include:
Excessive sleepiness or confusion
A sore throat, especially if there is drooling or difficulty swallowing
A severe headache
Swelling of the legs
Blood in the stool
Hot, swollen or red area on the skin
A combination of a fever, stiff neck and severe headache could be a warning sign of meningitis which is a highly contagious and life-threatening bacterial infection, and such a person should be taken to the emergency room.
If the temperature of the patient is higher than 400C and the person seems confused, and he or she is unable to respond to stimuli this could be a sign of hyperthermia which is a medical emergency.
Also, patients that have a severe medical condition such a those with cancer or HIV might not have the described warning symptoms. However, any mild fever in such patients warrants a trip to the clinic to prevent the progression of the fever to a more serious infection.
Fever In Children
In infants and toddlers, fever is not a good sign. Fever that warrants a visit to the clinic for infants or toddlers include:
If the child is between 0 and three months and has a temperature of 380C or higher, they should be taken to hospital despite them not having any other symptoms. Children this age should not be given fever medicine unless directed by the doctor.
For children between 3 to six months with a temperature of 38.90 C, they should be encouraged to rest and take plenty of fluids. However, if the child is irritable, uncomfortable or lethargic, they should be taken to the clinic. If the child has a fever that is higher than 38.90C they should be taken to the hospital.
Children that are 6 months and above with a 38.90C temperature that is causing discomfort can be given fever-reducing drugs such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. However, they should be given the right dosage and no child under the age of 18 years should be given aspirin as it can cause a deadly infection called Reyes syndrome. If the fever lasts for more than three days, one should visit the clinic. However, failure to give medicine does not mean the fever will go up as the brain has an internal thermostat that controls the fever in case of infection.
Fever that does not respond to fever medicine might not mean that the patient is suffering from something serious. It should not be regarded as the only symptom for a serious illness. One should consider all the other symptoms that the child or adult shows. If the fever is accompanied by other named symptoms, it is best to visit a reputable health facility such as Bellaire ER which will provide you with the best care to reduce the fever.