How to Treat a Fever

21 October, 2020
It’s very important to treat a fever to prevent possible complications. You can try some home measures first. However, if they don’t work, it’s best to see a doctor, especially if the person with a fever is a child.

It’s very important to treat fever to avoid other health complications. a fever is an increase in the body’s temperature set point, which should always be, on average, around 98.6°F. A variation of up to one degree during the day is normal and isn’t necessarily synonymous with illness.

Factors such as diet, exercise, or the weather, among others, are some of the reasons why the body’s temperature increases. However, a person has a fever when their temperature is over 99.5°F.

What’s a fever?

A fever is an indication that the body is reacting positively to possible illness. However, you need to be careful. In babies, especially those who are breastfeeding, 100°F is a very high temperature. In that case, you need to treat the fever and the baby may require hospitalization or at least a pediatric consultation.

Fever is almost always associated with other symptoms:

  • Persistent headache that surrounds the entire skull; a feeling of tightness
  • Chills and sweating
  • Muscle pain with prickling
  • Dehydration, dry skin, decreased tears, and urinary retention
  • Loss of appetite
  • General weakness

In children between the ages of six months and five years, febrile seizures may occur. In these cases, doctors recommend lying the patient down, protecting them so they don’t hurt themselves, and contacting a doctor after the episode.

A man with a fever.
Fever is a sign of an internal process. The hypothalamus regulates body temperature.

Keep reading to learn more: The Relationship Between Body Temperature and Fever

Causes

The body part responsible for regulating temperature is housed in the brain and is called the hypothalamus. It works like a thermostat. However, for different reasons, it can increase the reference limit. This is when an increase in retained heat occurs.

Infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria, can cause a fever. Also, so can inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, tumors, or drugs that can cause it as a side effect. Likewise, all types of vaccines can cause fever.

How to treat a fever

For mild fever, likely, your doctor won’t prescribe a specific treatment, especially if there are no additional symptoms. In fact, a mild fever is a sign that the body is responding well to fighting a virus or bacteria. An elevated temperature can even help reduce the microorganisms that are causing the disease.

When a fever causes additional discomfort or is high, it requires treatment. In this case, a doctor can prescribe over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, among others. You must only take the recommended doses. Don’t exceed them or take these drugs for long periods of time, as they can cause kidney and liver damage.

If these drugs don’t reduce the fever, searching for its cause will be key to determining the need for antibiotics, in case there’s a bacterial infection, such as tonsillitis or pneumonia. If it’s a viral infection, antibiotics won’t work.

In children, if the fever persists after the first dose, you should consult a pediatrician. You shouldn’t give children aspirin, as it can lead to Reye’s syndrome, which, although rare, could be fatal.

Other recommendations to treat a fever

When it comes to babies, especially if they’re less than 28 days old, the best option to treat a fever is hospitalization. Newborn infants are vulnerable to serious illnesses that require intravenous drugs and special care.

You can try some home measures to treat a fever, as long as it isn’t associated with additional discomforts. In the case of dehydration, you have to drink water, and, even better, oral rehydration solutions. The latter don’t only rehydrate but also contain electrolytes, essential components for proper bodily functioning.

Additionally, rest aids recovery, as does the use of light clothing, keeping room temperatures low, and sleeping only with a sheet. Also, it’s advisable to apply warm water compresses on the forehead, armpits, groin, or soles of the feet.

Also, to reduce a fever, try whole body warm water baths, and garlic, basil, rue, ginger, thyme, and chamomile teas, sweetened with a little honey, are useful. You should drink them between two and three times a day.

A mother trying to reduce her daughter's fever.
You must be very careful with the fever in children. Their bodies are more sensitive to temperature changes.

You should also read: Tips for Reducing Fever: Things to Keep in Mind

Data to keep in mind

A doctor should be consulted when a fever reaches 100°F in babies or 102°F in adults. In fact, it’s essential to do so if the fever is accompanied by headache, vomiting, irritability, abdominal pain, skin rash, or if the elevated temperature persists.

You have to act calmly but diligently to treat a fever. Otherwise, complications such as seizures and loss of consciousness could occur. All this worsens the patient’s condition and can even put their life at risk. That’s why it’s very important to see a doctor in the case of serious fevers.

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