Fever is not a medical condition by itself, but a symptom of an underlying condition, often due to infections. Fever is generally accompanied with weakness, malaise, and the general feeling of discomfort. It gets better with treatment, depending on the age, susceptibility, and the underlying cause. The average body temperature ranges between 36.10F (97 0C) to 37.20 F (990 C). A fever of more than 1020C in children needs urgent care. Fevers are not always dangerous and may not require any medical attention. However, in certain conditions like heat stroke, the body is unable to control the rise in temperature and may lead to hyperthermia, which requires immediate medical intervention.
Causes of fever include:
- Cold; gastroenteritis; chickenpox; measles; mumps; and infections of the lung, throat, kidneys, and skin.
- Side effects of certain drugs
- Cancer, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
Look for these signs during fever:
- Temperature above 37 0C as measured on a thermometer
- Shivering, chills, and pale skin followed by hot, flushed face
- A headache and pain in different body parts
What do you need to do?
- Make the person comfortable. Place a light sheet or a duvet over them.
- During high-grade fever, tepid water sponging is helpful.
- Give plenty of fluids.
- Give the recommended dose of paracetamol after consulting with the doctor. Avoid giving aspirin to anyone under the age of 16 years.
- Check for the pulse and breathing to look for signs of improvement.
For fever in children, seek medical care when babies from 3 months to 24 months have a temperature up to 102 0F and present with lethargy, dizziness, or irritability or does not respond to over the counter medication for three days.
When to seek emergency care?
Emergency care is advised when a patient shows fever with symptoms like:
- A severe headache
- No sweating
- Stiff neck
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Confusion, delirium, or any other unusual symptom