Fever: symptoms, causes and preventions

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What is fever

Fever is also referred to as pyrexia, hyperthermia, or elevated temperature of the body. Commonly average 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 ages 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 fight that.

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However, a drastic rise in body temperature may be harmful and requires abrupt medical attention. Whenever an infection occurs, our immune system tries to eradicate that infection. 

The average 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.

Causes of fever

Fever: symptoms, causes and preventions
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Due to virus

Whenever a virus is behind the cause of fever, that kind of fever is called viral fever & results from a 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 compared to usual, contact the nearby health facility; they will take your covid-19 test.

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. 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. Mainly 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.

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Fever due to cancer

The response of our body to an infection or illness is termed 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. leukaemia 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.

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 is similar to 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 thermometers are usually digital & usually they beep after complete reading, so it becomes easy for the 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.

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The ear thermometer gives results in only a few seconds. This provides easiness to the people having kids & to older adults too because it provides reading in a few seconds & they wouldn’t have to sit for a long time. But, this thermometer gives us reading, which is less accurate, than other types.

The ear thermometer is used by placing the sensor near the ear canal towards the eardrum. So, when you’ve set 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 task.

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.

Here is the method of checking the temperature with rectal thermometers. Place a small amount of petroleum jelly on the bulb, ask the person to lay on the stomach, and gently insert the thermometer in their 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)

Infrared Thermometers

Fever: symptoms, causes and preventions
photo credit pixabay

Due to virus

Whenever a virus is behind the cause of fever, that kind of fever is called viral fever & results from a 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 compared to usual, contact the nearby health facility; they will take your covid-19 test.

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. 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. Mainly dehydration due to heat causes fever.

ADVERTISEMENTS

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 termed 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. leukaemia 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.

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. Noncontact Infrared Thermometer

Oral Thermometer

In the oral thermometer, the oral word is similar to 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 thermometers are usually digital & usually, they beep after complete reading, so it becomes easy for the 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.

ADVERTISEMENTS

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 older adults too because it provides reading in a few seconds & they wouldn’t have to sit for a long time. But, this thermometer gives us reading, which is less accurate, than other types.

The ear thermometer is used by placing the sensor near the ear canal towards the eardrum. So, when you’ve set 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 task.

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.

Here is the method of checking the temperature with rectal thermometers. Place a small amount of petroleum jelly on the bulb, ask the person to lay on the stomach, and gently insert the thermometer in their 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)

Infrared Thermometers

Infrared thermometers (IR) have become famous due to the corona pandemic as it is a safer method of checking the person’s fever than other methods.

In this method, the person who checks the patient’s temperature doesn’t make contact with the patient. Checking temperature with an IR thermometer is very simple to hold the IR thermometer perpendicular to the forehead and take the readings. This method is considered best due to not having 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 their hands on the patient’s forehead’s back 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.

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Fever Symptoms

Here are the most common symptoms of fever:

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

 Home Remedies

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 that echinacea-based tea can help the patient boost immunity, leading to fast recovery from fever.

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 credit pixabay
  • If your kid is less than three months and the thermometer shows more than 100.4 F(38C) temperature, visit the doctor as soon as possible. As the body of a small kid is not as strong as an adult person’s, 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), visiting the doctor is recommended.

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.

Emergency symptoms of fever

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

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  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

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 cause fever. To keep yourself clean and healthy, make sure to take a 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, our hands get filled with harmful bacteria and viruses. We will put these germs in our bodies; that is why clean your and your kid’s hands with antibacterial soap before eating.

Insist your children 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 contaminated foods. So always eat clean foods from a good area. Foods at home are more hygienic 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 a sanitizer in your pocket will do that job.

Wear mask

It has 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 doing some outdoor work.

Cover your face when you cough

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

Citations
  1. 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/
  2. Tabor PA. Drug-induced fever. Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1986 Jun;20(6):413-20. doi: 10.1177/106002808602000601. PMID: 3522163.
  3. 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.
  4. Mayo clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20352759
  5. FDA: Non-contact Infrared Thermometers https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/general-hospital-devices-and-supplies/non-contact-infrared-thermometers
  6. 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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Abdullah
Abdullah
I'm a medical student who's currently studying at the prestigious University UVAS. I am fond of writing, and I'll share useful information and other creative stories on "Address4Health". You can directly contact me here: abdullah@address4health.com
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