Fever Symptoms – also known as a high temperature – is not an illness by itself. It is a symptom of an underlying condition, quite often an infection. Fever is typically associated with physical discomfort, and most patients feel better after a fever is treated. Depending on your age, physical state, and the underlying cause of your fever, you might or might not need medical treatment for the fever alone. Fever is believed to be a natural bodily defense against infection.
1. Fever Symptoms: All about Fever
Fever is not considered dangerous in common, but hyperthermia may cause dangerous rises in body temperature. It can be due to an extreme temperature linked to heat injuries such as heat stroke and side effects of certain medications or illicit drugs. Bodies with hyperthermia are no longer able to control their temperature. Typical symptoms of fever are lethargy, fussiness, poor appetite, cough, sore throat, ear pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
2. Fever Symptoms: Causes of Fever
A part of the brain named the hypothalamus controls body temperature, which typically varies from the normal temperature of 98.6˚F. The hypothalamus might reset the body to a higher temperature in response to an illness, infection, or some other cause. The most common causes of fever are infections such as colds and gastroenteritis. Besides, other reasons include:
- Infections of the ear, skin, lung, throat, bladder, or kidney
- Conditions that cause inflammation
- Side effects of drugs
Other causes of fever include:
- Blood clots
- Hormone disorders e.g. hyperthyroidism
- Illegal drugs e.g. amphetamines and cocaine
- Autoimmune diseases e.g. lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease
3. Fever Symptoms: Diagnosis of Fever
Though fever is easy to measure, it can be hard to determine its cause. Your doctor may ask about symptoms, conditions, medications, and whether you have recently traveled to areas with infections. Certain parts of the world are hotspots for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Every so often, you may suffer a “fever of unknown origin.” In these cases, the cause could be an unusual condition such as a chronic infection, a tissue disorder, cancer, and so on.
4. Fever Symptoms: Treatments for Fever
Treatments vary relying on the cause of the fever. For instance, antibiotics will be used to treat bacterial infections such as strep throat. The most common treatments include over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs e.g. ibuprofen and naproxen. Check with your doctor first if you expose any medical conditions or take other drugs. Children and teens should not take aspirin since it leads to a condition called Reye’s syndrome.
If you are suffering from a fever, it is to take enough rest, drink much of fluids, and have warm, soothing food such as soup until you feel better. If you have severe symptoms like high fever, body ache, etc. visit your doctor for some medicines that offer you some symptomatic relief. A handful of people tend to self-medicate by using analgesics, antibiotics, and antipyretics, but remember that self-medication is a bad idea.
Fever cannot be healed by antibiotics. Antibiotics are just medicines to kill bacteria; they cannot kill viruses. By taking them, you are heading towards a worse case of acidity, stomach disturbance, and in some severe cases, you will accidentally damage your liver and kidneys.
If the fever is 102˚F or higher:
- Bathing or sponging in lukewarm water might reduce the temperature. Do not take alcohol or cold water.
- Wear light clothing and use a light sheet or cover – overdressing can make the temperature go up. If the patient gets chills, use an extra blanket until those chills go away.
5. When to Contact a Doctor
Seek medical help right away if the patient has:
- A history of dangerous illness such as AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, or if the patient is taking immunosuppressant drugs
- Severe pain in the lower abdomen
- Severe stomach pain, vomits, or diarrhea
- Blisters, skin rashes, or a red streak on an arm or leg
- Urination pain, back pain, or shaking chills
- A high fever that does not respond to fever-reducing medicine
- A severe sore throat or a persistent earache
- An acute cough, cough up blood, or troubles with breathing
6. Fever Symptoms: Fever in Children
If you have a baby younger than four months old with an unusual temperature of 100.4˚F or above, you should instantly call your doctor or go to an emergency room, since it could be a sign of a potentially fatal infection. High fever can cause seizures in infants. Call your doctor immediately if your child has a fever and:
- Is very drowsy or fussy
- Looks very sick
- Has a seizure
- And a weak immune system or any medical problem
- You identified other symptoms such as rash, headache, earache, sore throat, or stiff neck
7. Fever Symptoms: Antipyretics
Antipyretics are a type of drugs that help to reduce fever. On an average, antipyretics take about 30-60 minutes to lower temperature and discomfort after administration. Fever up to 102˚F can be considered as a safe level that should not be interfered with antipyretics. Only use antipyretics when the body temperature is high enough to cause uneasiness. In common, body temperature between 102˚F and 104˚F could cause discomfort, so it is better to bring it down to below 102˚F. Fever above 104˚F is undoubtedly harmful and must be dealt with quick action.
Most antipyretics have dual effects: antipyresis and analgesic. Antipyretic drugs available other-the-counter include:
- Salicylate drugs (Aspirin)
- Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as Nabumetone or Ibuprofen
- Analgesics (pain killers) such as Metamizole
The use of antipyretics is still controversial. Since all the antipyretics are relatively effective in reducing fever, safety should be the major criteria while taking them. Frequent side-effects of regular use of antipyretics include a headache, nausea, vomiting, stomachache, and breathing difficulties. Most adverse effects of antipyretics are a result of overdose (owing to ignorance and negligence). An overdose of paracetamol cause liver toxicity and may also have an influence on circadian rhythm in healthy people. Ibuprofen may lead to digestive disorders or even gastrointestinal bleeding. Gastritis and kidney insufficiency are also adverse effects of antipyretics. Therefore, it is best to check the labels before taking an antipyretic drug. Think of the long-term complications you may have to face.
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