Fever is a condition in which the body temperature rises above normal and part of the natural response of the body to infection. The average normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees F. Once the temperature increases a few degrees above normal, it is an indication that the body is fighting an infection and generally not an issue to worry about.
In such cases, a fever is basically a response of the body since it indicates that it is healthy enough to fight off the infection. Due to this, it is not always ideal to bring down the high temperature quickly. Nevertheless, a fever that reaches up to 102 degrees F is a cause for concern and treatment should be started. Aside from the high temperature, body aches and chills, a flushed complexion and diminished energy are also present among those who have fever.
Causes of fever
Fever has various causes and can be a symptom of almost any condition. The following are the usual causes:
- Common cold or flu
- Strep throat
- Urinary tract infections
If an individual has a body temperature higher than normal without other symptoms, do not assume that there is something wrong. The body temperature of an individual changes throughout the day and varies while engaging in normal activities and emotions. In addition, children have a slightly higher body temperature than the adults.
How to measure the body temperature
When measuring the body temperature, it is done by using a thermometer that is inserted orally, axillary, rectally or by utilizing a special instrument that is inserted into the ear.
If the fever is mild (less than 101 degrees F), it does not require medical care. All you have to do is make sure that the individual drinks plenty of fluids without any alcohol content and get enough rest.
As for cases with higher body temperatures, there are measures that can be done to manage the condition. You can provide medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen. For children below 17 years old, do not provide aspirin due to the risk for Reye’s syndrome that can be a fatal condition. It is recommended to take a lukewarm bath to help bring down the body temperature.
When to consult a doctor
If any of the following are present, it is best to consult a doctor or seek medical care.
- One that occurs along with confusion, stiff neck or irritability
- Child between 6 months to a year old with fever that lasts more than 24 hours
- Child below 6 months old with fever
- Fever that lasts longer than 2 days
- Fever stays at 103 degrees F or higher for more than 2 hours after home treatment has been provided
Once fever among adults goes higher than 105 degrees F and does not reduce with treatment, it is considered as a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention.