Fever, fever (fever): What's it, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Fever; Elevated temperature; Hyperthermia; Pyrexia; Febrile

What is a fever?

Fever is a temporary increase in body temperature, usually in response to infection, inflammation or other disease. This is often part of the body's natural immune response and is not always a cause for concern.. But, if the fever persists for more than a few days, you need to contact a healthcare professional to ensure proper treatment.

The child has a fever, when the temperature is at or above one of the following levels:

  • 38 °C (100,4 °F), when measured at the bottom (rectally)
  • 37,5 °C(99,5 °F), when measured in the mouth (orally)
  • 37,2 °C (99 °F ), when measured under the arm (in the armpit)

Adult, probably, has a fever, when the temperature exceeds 37,2 ° C to 37,5 °C (99–99,5 °F), depending on time of day.

Normal body temperature can change throughout any day. It is usually highest in the evening.. Other factors, affecting body temperature, are:

  • Women's menstrual cycle. In the second part of this cycle, her temperature may rise by 1 degree or more.
  • Physical activity, powerful emotions, food, heavy clothing, medicines, high room temperature and high humidity can increase body temperature.

Fever is an important part of the body's defense against infection.. Most bacteria and viruses, causing infections in humans, thrive best at 37°C (98,6°F ). Many babies and children develop high fevers due to mild viral illnesses.. Although the fever signals, that a battle can take place in the body, fever fights for man, not against him.

Brain damage from fever usually does not occur, if the temperature does not exceed 42 °C (107,6 °F). Untreated fever, caused by infection, rarely goes up 40,6 °C (105 °F ), if the child is not overdressed or is not in a hot place.

Some children have febrile seizures. Most febrile seizures pass quickly and do not mean, that your child has epilepsy. These seizures also do no harm..

Unexplained fever, that lasts for days or weeks, called fever of unknown origin.

Causes of fever

Fever is most often caused by an infection or disease, such as a cold or the flu. Other possible reasons include:

  • Disorders of the immune system
  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Drug reactions
  • Immunizations
  • Tumors
  • Heatstroke
  • Some diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Exposure to extreme temperatures

Almost any infection can cause a fever, including:

  • Bone infections ( osteomyelitis ), appendicitis , skin infections or cellulitis and meningitis
  • Respiratory infections, such as a cold or flu-like illness, sore throat , ear infections, infection of the sinuses, Mononucleosis, bronchitis, pneumonia and tuberculosis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Viral gastroenteritis and bacterial gastroenteritis

Children and adults may have subfebrile temperature during 1 or 2 days after some vaccinations .

Teething can cause a slight fever in the baby, but not higher than 37.8°C (100°F).

Autoimmune or inflammatory diseases can also cause fever. Some examples:

  • Arthritis or connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
  • Vasculitis or periarteritis nodosa

Fever may be the first symptom of cancer. This is especially true of Hodgkin's disease. , non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia .

Other possible causes of fever include:

  • Blood clots or thrombophlebitis
  • Medicines, such as some antibiotics, antihistamines and anticonvulsants

Fever symptoms

The most common symptom of fever is fever, which is measured by taking a person's temperature orally, rectally, axillary (under the arm) or with an ear thermometer. Temperature above 38 °C (100,4 °F) usually considered a fever.

Other symptoms, which may accompany fever, include:

  • Chills or shivering
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain

When to see a doctor

Contact your doctor immediately, If your child:

  • 3 months or younger and rectal temperature 38°C (100,4°F) or higher
  • Age from 3 to 12 months and temperature 39°C (102,2°F) or higher
  • 2 years or younger and fever, that lasts more than 24-48 hours
  • Age older 2 years and the fever lasts from 48 to 72 hours.
  • body temperature 40,5 °C (105 °F) or higher, unless it resolves quickly with treatment and the person feels comfortable
  • Has other symptoms, indicating the need for treatment, such as sore throat, ear pain or cough.
  • Have had a fever for a week or more, even if this fever is not very high
  • Has a serious medical condition, such as heart problems, drepanocytemia, diabetes or cystic fibrosis.
  • Recently vaccinated
  • Have a new rash or bruising
  • Has pain when urinating
  • Has a weakened immune system (due to long [chronic] steroid therapy, bone marrow or organ transplants, removal of the spleen, HIV/AIDS or cancer treatment)
  • Recently traveled to another country

Contact your doctor immediately, if you are an adult and:

  • Do you have a fever 40,5 °C (105 °F) or higher, unless it decreases with treatment
  • you have a fever, which holds or continues to rise above 39,4 °C (103 °F)
  • fever for over 48-72 hours
  • You have had a fever for a week or more, even if she is not very tall
  • Serious illness, such as heart problems , drepanocytemia , diabetes , mukovystsydoz , COPD or other chronic lung disease.
  • Have a new rash or bruising
  • Have pain when urinating
  • They have a weakened immune system (due to chronic steroid therapy, bone marrow or organ transplants, removal of the spleen, HIV/AIDS or cancer treatment)
  • Recently traveled to another country

Call the emergency number, if you or your child has a fever and:

  • The child is crying and cannot calm down
  • Child or adult does not wake up and does not respond to stimuli
  • Difficulty breathing persists even after, how they cleaned their nose
  • blue lips, tongue or nails
  • Very severe headache
  • Rigid (tough) neck
  • Child unable to move arm or leg
  • There is a seizure

Questions, that your doctor may ask

When visiting a doctor to discuss a fever, he, probably, ask you a series of questions, to determine the underlying cause. These questions may include:

  • What is your temperature?
  • How long does the fever last?
  • What other symptoms are you experiencing?
  • Have you been recently vaccinated?
  • Are you taking any medications?
  • Has there been contact with a sick or infected person?
  • You have trouble breathing?

In some cases, your doctor may order these tests., like a blood test, urinalysis or chest x-ray, to identify any underlying causes or infections.

Diagnosis of fever

After determining the cause of the fever, the doctor will make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.. The plan may include different types of treatment, such as antibiotics, antivirals, fluids and painkillers.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes., eg, more rest, drink plenty of fluids and avoid highly processed foods.

Fever Treatment

Most mild fevers do not require treatment. Nonetheless, the doctor may suggest medications or other treatments to lower the fever and treat any associated symptoms. Common treatments for fever include:

  • Antihistamines. These medicines can help reduce inflammation, associated with fever, as well as any associated discomfort.
  • Antipyretics. These drugs lower the temperature, blocking inflammation-causing substances, released by the body during infection.
  • Fluid. Drinking plenty of fluids will help keep you hydrated and cleanse your body of any bacteria or viruses., which can cause fever.
  • Recreation. Rest and adequate sleep help the body recover faster and lower the temperature..
  • Painkillers. If fever is accompanied by pain, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers, to reduce discomfort.

Fever treatment at home

A common cold or other viral infection can sometimes cause a high fever. (38,9°C to 40°C or from 102°F to 104°F). It does not mean, that you or your child has a serious problem. Some serious infections do not cause fever or may cause very low body temperature, most common in infants.

If the fever is mild and you have no other problems, you don't need treatment. Drink plenty of fluids and rest.

Disease, probably, is not serious, if the child:

  • Still playing enthusiastically and being active
  • Eats and drinks well
  • Attentive and smiling at you
  • Has normal skin color
  • Looks good, when the temperature drops

Take steps to lower your temperature, if you or your child experience discomfort, vomiting, dryness (dehydration) or not sleeping well. Remember, that the goal is, to reduce, rather than eliminate the fever.

If you need to lower your body temperature:

  • Don't wrap it up, who has chills.
  • Remove excess clothing or blankets. The room should be comfortable, not too hot or cool. Try one layer of light clothing and one light blanket for sleeping.. If the room is hot or stuffy, a fan might help..
  • A warm bath or sponge bath can help cool a person with a fever.. It's effective after, how about medicine, otherwise the temperature may rise again.
  • Don't use cold baths, ice or alcohol rubs. They cool the skin, but often worsen the situation, causing chills, which raises the core temperature of the body.

Here are some recommendations for taking medication to reduce fever:

  • Acetaminophen (paracetamol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) help reduce fever in children and adults. Sometimes doctors advise using both types of medications..
  • Take acetaminophen every 4-6 hours. He works, as if turning off the thermostat of the brain.
  • Take ibuprofen every 6-8 hours. Do not use ibuprofen in children aged 6 months and younger.
  • Aspirin is very effective for treating fever in adults. But don't give aspirin to a child, unless your child's doctor tells you.
  • Find Out, how much do you or your child weigh. Then check the instructions on the package, to find the right dose.
  • For children 3 months or younger before, how to give medicine, call your doctor.

Food and drink:

  • Everything, especially children, should drink plenty of fluids. Water, fruit icecream, soup and jelly are all good choices.
  • For young children, do not give too much fruit or apple juice and do not give sports drinks.
  • Don't force your child to eat, if he doesn't want.

Prevention of fever

Fever is usually caused by an infection or disease, therefore it is important to take measures to prevent the occurrence of these diseases. To reduce the risk of developing a fever, important:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face or nose.
  • Stay away from the sick.
  • Don't share food, drinks and other personal items.
  • Get the recommended vaccinations
  • Observe the rules of hygiene, e.g. brush your teeth and bathe regularly.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Exercise regularly and get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures.

By following these simple steps, you can help reduce your risk of developing a fever or other illnesses. It is also important to seek medical attention, if you develop a fever, that persists for more than a few days or if it is accompanied by other severe symptoms.

Used sources and literature

Leggett JE. Approach to fever or suspected infection in the normal host. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 264.

Nield LS, Kamat D. Fever. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Bloom NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 201.

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