Fever: symptoms, causes and preventions

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Table of Contents

What is fever

Fever is also referred to as pyrexia, hyperthermia, or elevated temperature of the body. Commonly normal body temperature is around 98.6 Fahrenheit but it can vary from person to person. Any temperature above this temperature is considered a high temperature and is called fever. Fever can affect the health of all age peoples. Fever is merely a sign which indicates that our body is striving to withstand an illness or infection. A short-term increase in temperatures couldn’t provide much harm and the body can easily withstand that. Although a drastic increase in body temperature may be harmful and it requires abrupt medical attention. Whenever an infection occurs, our immune system tries to eradicate that infection. Normal body temperature for a person varies a little bit, but it is usually around 98.6 Fahrenheit. Our body temperature depends upon the time of day, it fluctuates throughout the day. It is high in the morning and low in the late afternoon and night. There are other factors such as the menstrual cycle or intense exercise that can affect temperature.

Fever: symptoms, causes and preventions
Photo credit Andrea Piacquadio pexels

Causes of fever

Due to virus

Whenever a virus is behind the cause of fever then that kinda fever is called viral fever & results from viral infection i.e. dengue fever or flu etc. Usually, you don’t need any treatment when you have a fever & sometimes treatment can be crucial as a viral infection can be intense.
Viral fever usually remains for two to three days but occasionally it can last for a week or so.

Due to coronavirus

Fever is one of the main symptoms of coronavirus. Wearing a mask and some social distance can work against coronavirus disease. If you are not feeling well and your body temperature is high as compared to usual then contact the near health facility they will take your covid-19 test.1

Due to bacterial infection

Many bacterias like ShigellaSalmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli can cause a high fever. Some fever types due to bacterial infection can also cause diarrhea. 2  Bacterial fever could be hazardous & is treated only with antibiotics.

Due to Heat

A person can have low-intensity fever-like  100 – 102° F (37.8 – 39° C) due to excess heat. An extra warm environment can decrease the water volume of the body which can cause dehydration. Mostly dehydration due to heat causes fever.

Due to inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause a low-grade fever. It is a joint-related disease that can harm the health of the body.

Fever due to cancer

The response of our body to an infection or illness is simply termed as fever. People having cancer generally have a fever which shows that it’s a clue that cancer has spread or could be advancing in the body. Occasionally, fever is an early indication of cancer, & it can be an indication if the person is suffering blood cancer e.g. leukemia or lymphoma.

Due to some medications

Some medications and antibiotics that are used to treat different diseases can cause fever. Such type of fever happened due to hypersensitivity or allergic reaction. 3

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) or pneumococcal vaccine can also cause fever plus sometimes fever happened due to unknown causes.

Diphtheria & Tetanus and teething

Diphtheria and tetanus diseases can cause fever. Moreover, the teething process in children can also raise the baby’s temperature.

Others causes

Blood clotting and food poisoning can also cause fever.

How to check fever

Checking with thermometers

For checking temperature through a thermometer you can use an oral thermometer, ear thermometer, rectal thermometer, and Noncontact Infrared Thermometers.

  1. Oral Thermometer
  2. Ear Thermometer
  3. Rectal Thermometer
  4. Non-contact Infrared Thermometer

Oral Thermometer

In the oral thermometer, the oral word has a similarity with the oral cavity, so it indicates something is related to the mouth. So, we use an oral thermometer to measure temperature from the mouth. The modern type of these thermometers are usually digital & usually they beep after complete reading, so due to this, it becomes easy for user to use.
In adults, these thermometers are easy to use. A thermometer is placed in the mouth for about twenty seconds for getting an accurate reading.
The thermometer should be placed below the tongue & in the middle of the mouth for an accurate reading. The reading will show the temperature of the body.

Ear Thermometer

As the name of the ear thermometer, it exhibits that it’s related to the ear. They are generally placed in doctor’s offices & in homes as well.
The ear thermometer gives results in only a few seconds. This provides easiness to the people having kids & to old people too because it gives reading in a few seconds & they wouldn’t have to sit for a long time. But, this thermometer provides us reading, which is less accurate, than other types.
The ear thermometer is used by placing the sensor near the ear canal of the ear towards the eardrum. So, when you’ve placed it in-ear, then turn it on & wait for the completion of the reading, once it completes, pulls the thermometer out from the ear & notes the reading.

Rectal thermometer

Checking fever through the rectum by using a Rectal thermometer is also an effective way of measuring temperature. Some studies have shown that the Rectal thermometer gives more accurate results as compared to other thermometers. 4

Here is the method of checking the temperature with rectal thermometers. Place a small amount of petroleum jelly on the bulb, then ask the person to lay on the stomach, and then gently insert the thermometer in his/her rectum about 1 inch. And after that hold it for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. If your baby’s rectal temperature is above 100.2 Fahrenheit(38C) then your baby has a fever. In this situation contact a good reputation doctor. And a child & an adult have a fever when their rectal temperature increases more than 102 Ferenhiete (38.9C) 5

Infrared Thermometers

Fever: symptoms, causes and preventions
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto pexels

Infrared thermometers (IR) have become famous due to the corona pandemic. As it is a more safe method of checking the fever of the person as compared to other methods. In this method, the person who checks the temperature of the patient doesn’t make the contact with the patient. Checking temperature with an IR thermometer is very simple just hold the IR thermometer perpendicular to the forehead and take the readings. This method is considered best due to not any direct contact.

Checking with the back of hands

This is a very common method to check body temperature. Generally, it is not a more accurate and effective method than checking fever with thermometers. In this method, a person puts the back of the hands-on patient’s forehead to check the skin temperature. A high hot temperature shows that person has a fever. This method does not work in all cases and it is risky due to the coronavirus. So checking the temperature with Noncontact Infrared thermometers is more recommended by health experts. 7

Symptoms of fever

Here are the most common symptoms of fever:

  • Muscles aches
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headaches
  • Chills & Shivering
  • Dehydration
  • Body physical weakness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite

Treating fever at home

Take bath

You can take a lukewarm bath to cool down the body. This type of bath will help to improve the tiredness of body muscles

Drink a lot of fluid

Drink required water during fever as an increase in body temperature can lead to dehydration & drinking water can be effective in rehydrating our body.
It requires a lot of our energy to combat an illness or infection & so we should’ve to rest as much as possible to compensate for the loss of energy.

Drink tea

Drinking tea can help you to recover fast from fever. Some studies have concluded echinacea-based tea can help the patient by boosting immunity which can lead to fast recovery from fever. 8

Wear lightweight dress

A lightweight dress can help you to bring the body temperature down and can make you more relaxed. A lot of layered cloths can increase the temperature of the body.

Take proper rest

A lot of daily work can make you tired. Tiredness can increase the symptoms of fever. Taking a lot of rest during illness can help you to recover fast. Rest is the best home remedy if you have a fever.

When you should visit the doctor

Mild fever can be treated at home with some care. Sometimes it may need some proper medical help and in that case, you may need to visit the doctor. Here is when you need to take yourself or your loved ones to the doctor:

For Infants

Fever: symptoms, causes and preventions
photo by victoria_borodinova pixabay
  • If your kid is less than 3 months and the thermometer is showing more than 100.4 F(38C) temperature then visit the doctor as soon as possible. As the body of a small kid is not as strong as a big person so a high fever can cause serious consequences.
  • If your kid’s age is between 3 to 24 months and body temperature is more than 102 F(38.9C) then visiting the doctor is recommended. 9

For children and Adults

If the body temperature of adults increases more than 103 F(39.4C) then visit the doctor and it will be good for you. 10 

Emergency symptoms of fever

Visit the hospital immediately if you or your loved ones face these health problems:

  1.  Health is declining fast
  2. Getting trouble in walking
  3. Vomiting many times
  4. Getting breathing problems
  5. Seizures
  6. Trouble in speaking
  7. Have high temperature for many days
  8. Feeling unusual like hallucinating type feeling
  9. Showing extra unusual behavior
  10. Pain during urinating
  11. High abdominal pain
  12. Bad skin rash
  13. Feeling too much pain in the neck 11

Prevention of Fever

Dirty hands and foods can contribute to causing many diseases including fever. Here are some tips that may be useful for preventing the fever:

Keep your self-clean

By keeping yourself clean you can reduce the risks of many diseases and fever is not excluded. A clean person often has good health because their bodies usually have less dirty bacteria that causes fever. To keep yourself clean and healthy make sure to take bath daily.

Wash your hand before eating

Washing hands before eating can reduce the risks of fever and many other diseases. As we use our hands to perform daily routine tasks due to which our hands get filled with bad bacteria and viruses. By eating with these dirty hands we will put these germs in our body that is why clean your and your kid’s hands with antibacterial soap before eating.

Insist your children to wash hands before eating

Eat healthy and clean foods

Foods are keeping you alive. Clean germs less food will make you healthy and dirty foods will create health problems for you. Fever can be the result of eating dirty foods. So always eat clean foods from a good area. Foods at home are cleaner as compared to market foods.

Always keep a sanitizer with you

Keep a sanitizer in your pocket because sometimes during traveling you may not get soap to clean your hands but sanitizer in your pocket will do that job.

Wear mask

It is been more than a year and corona is not going anywhere. Fever is the main symptom of corona disease. So keep your mask on especially when you are traveling or you are doing some type of outdoor work.

Cover your face when you cough

Always cover your face when you sneeze or cough. This will prevent the germs to catch others like your kids, parents, relatives, and friends. Also, keep some distance when some other person coughs or sneezes.

  • El-Radhi, A. (2019, January 2). Fever in common infectious diseases (1362328410 996687677 A. El-Radhi, Ed.). Retrieved May 07, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7122655/
  • Tabor PA. Drug-induced fever. Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1986 Jun;20(6):413-20. doi: 10.1177/106002808602000601. PMID: 3522163.
  • Niven DJ, Gaudet JE, Laupland KB, Mrklas KJ, Roberts DJ, Stelfox HT. Accuracy of peripheral thermometers for estimating temperature: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Nov 17;163(10):768-77. doi: 10.7326/M15-1150. PMID: 26571241.
  • Niven DJ, Gaudet JE, Laupland KB, Mrklas KJ, Roberts DJ, Stelfox HT. Accuracy of peripheral thermometers for estimating temperature: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Nov 17;163(10):768-77. doi: 10.7326/M15-1150. PMID: 26571241.
  • Mayo clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20352759
  • FDA: Non-contact Infrared Thermometers https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/general-hospital-devices-and-supplies/non-contact-infrared-thermometers
  • Lindenmuth GF, Lindenmuth EB. The efficacy of echinacea compound herbal tea preparation on the severity and duration of upper respiratory and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):327-34. doi: 10.1089/10755530050120691. PMID: 10976979.

 

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