Fever is a natural response to infections, illnesses, and certain medical conditions. It is a common symptom that indicates that the body is fighting off an infection or an illness. A fever is defined as a temporary increase in body temperature, usually above 100.4°F (38°C) when measured orally. But what exactly is a fever, and should you always be worried?
When your body detects an infection or illness, it triggers the release of chemicals called pyrogens. These pyrogens signal the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that acts as the body’s thermostat, to raise the body’s temperature. The hypothalamus responds by increasing the body’s core temperature, which is why you may feel hot, flushed, and sweaty when you have a fever.
FEVER – In a Nutshell
Fever can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections, autoimmune diseases, and certain medications. Common viral infections that can cause fever include the flu, colds, and COVID-19.
Bacterial infections that can cause fever include strep throat, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause fever.
While fever is a common symptom, it is not always a cause for concern. Mild to moderate fevers can be beneficial as they can help your body fight off infections by stimulating the immune system.
However, high fevers can be dangerous, especially for young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. High fevers can cause seizures, hallucinations, and dehydration, and can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
So when should you be worried about a fever?
- In general, you should seek medical attention if you or your child has a fever that is higher than 102°F (38.9°C) and is accompanied by other symptoms such as severe headache, stiff neck, rash, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.
- You should also seek medical attention if the fever lasts for more than three days if you or your child has a history of seizures, or if the fever is accompanied by a rash that doesn’t go away when you press on it.
If you or your child has a fever, there are several things you can do to help manage the symptoms and promote recovery. First and foremost, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Water, electrolyte solutions, and warm broths can all help replenish fluids lost due to sweating and other symptoms.
You can also try using over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol or diclofenac to reduce fever and relieve other symptoms such as headache and body aches but in limited quantity. Make sure to follow the dosage instructions carefully and do not exceed the recommended dose.
- Other home remedies that may help alleviate fever symptoms include applying a cool, damp cloth to the forehead and neck, and resting as much as possible.
- It is important to avoid strenuous activity and to get plenty of rest while your body fights off the infection or illness.
In conclusion, fever is a common symptom that indicates that your body is fighting off an infection or illness. While mild to moderate fevers are usually not a cause for concern and can be beneficial, high fevers can be dangerous and should be monitored closely.
If you or your child has a fever that is accompanied by other symptoms or lasts for more than three days, it is important to seek medical attention at Dr. Krishna Daram. In the meantime, make sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest to help promote recovery.