Fever is also known as pyrexia. It is a temporary increase in your body temperature. It can be due to illness, fatigue, colds, cough, flu, or any other problem. It usually takes few days to go away, but if it gets prolonged, then you must consult your doctor.
Fever indicates that something unusual is happening inside your body. It is a natural defensive mechanism of the body that fights off several infections. That is the reason it is always better to leave it untreated. But if you have a severe temperature for many days: you must immediately seek medical help.
What are the symptoms of fever?
The average body temperature is 37℃, but it may vary from person to person. For most people, temperature above this range is not normal and, elevation in body temperature will show the symptoms of the fever.
Depending upon the exact cause of the fever, its symptoms vary. However, the common symptoms of fever include:
Pain in body
Loss of appetite
How to check the temperature?
Several types of thermometers are available in the market like: oral, rectal, and tympanic. Thermometers used to check the temperature via the forehead and ear are less accurate as compared to the rectal and oral.
To use the oral thermometer, simply place it under your tongue. Wait for 2 minutes and get the readings. You can also use this thermometer under your armpit.
In infants, a rectal thermometer is usually used. To do this, place a small amount of Vaseline or cream on the bulb. Gently insert it into the rectum and wait for 2-3 minutes.
Causes of fever
Our brain has a part that is known as the hypothalamus. It acts just like a thermostat of the body.
The symptoms of fever start when our hypothalamus alters the setpoint above the normal range. It causes shivering, which adds more heat to the body.
Similarly, we use clothes to wrap ourselves up, and as a result, it further elevates our body temperature. There are many causes of fever however, the most common include:
Certain types of inflammations
How to treat fever at home?
It is possible to treat the fever at home, especially if it is mild. Drink plenty of fluids and take a rest. It is enough to fight off the fever. In case of dehydration, use a cloth soaked in cold water and place it over your forehead.
Taking ibuprofen will also help you to overcome your elevated body temperature and pain. Your doctor may also prescribe you antibiotics if the fever is due to a bacterial infection.
Antiviral drugs are prescribed in case of viral infections.
Fever cause dryness of the mouth, dehydration, and weakness, so it is good to take plenty of fluids (fresh juices, soup, broth, water) and rest to overcome this condition. Stay cool by keeping your room temperature low and wearing light clothes.
When to see a doctor?
Low to mild fever can be treated at home. In case of a high fever or critical symptoms, you must consult your doctor. You must see a doctor if you have the following:
- Body temperature more than 39℃
- A high body temperature for more than 3-4 days
- Other critical illness or disease
- Throat swelling and pain
- Have immunization recently
- Bladder pain while urination
Your doctor will check your temperature and perform few tests to identify the cause. He will then prescribe you the medication accordingly.
How to prevent it?
You can prevent the chances of having a fever by avoiding contact with infectious agents. Here are few ways by which you can prevent fevers.
Practice hygienic activities like washing hands before or after eating will prevent the infectious agents from reaching your body. Similarly, teach your children to wash their hands in school, after visiting public places, touching objects, and using toilets.
Avoid too much touching
Teach your children to avoid touching the objects unnecessarily. Keep your hands away from your nose, mouth, and eyes. This is the main cause of bacterial and viral infection as it provides them a way to enter your body. Cover your mouth and wash your hands after sneezing.
Keep hand sanitizer
In case you do not have the access to soap, always keep hand sanitizer or antiseptic wipes with you. Sanitize your hands on and off, especially before eating or touching your face and mouth.
Discourage sharing utensils
To avoid infections, it is ideal to discourage the sharing of utensils like cups, plates, and bottles, especially in schools and parties.