Fever is basically an increase in the body temperature above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Fever is an autoimmune response to any foreign invader in the body including virus, bacteria, fungi, drugs or any toxins. In adults, fever is not considered significant unless it is consistently over 100.4 degrees F. in children younger than 3 months old, it is important to seek medical attention immediately but that might not apply to older kids or adults. Sweating with chills may be other symptoms along with arise in body temperature.
HOW IS FEVER DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of fever is often combined with other symptoms. The general physician may perform a complete physical examination and evaluate other associated symptoms. A blood and urine test is the preliminary diagnostic tests, which would more or less reveal the cause of fever. In cases where these tests are not conclusive, further imaging tests may be conducted.
HOW IS FEVER TREATED?
Treatment for fever depends on the underlying cause. Antibiotics may be given for fever due to a viral infection. Antipyretic drugs are given for bringing the body temperature down.
DID YOU KNOW?
Limiting exposure to infectious agents is one of the best ways to prevent a fever. Infectious agents often cause body temperature to rise. If left untreated fever can lead to complications eg febrile convulsions, heart problems, eye diseases, etc.
A fever is not an illness by itself but is usually a symptom of another condition or infection. It makes up 30% of healthcare visits by children and is a symptom that is seen in 75% of adults that are suffering from a serious illness. A fever is considered as the body’s natural self-defence mechanism against a far serious or not so serious underlying illness. The increase in normal body temperature leads to muscle contraction and hence makes you start feeling cold.
Usually a fever need not be treated, but if it begins to cause physical discomfort, then some medication can be taken to bring down the temperature to normal. Medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help in this regard. If taken together, they are far more effective in lowering the temperature.
Let’s have a look at one of the most common kinds of fever: viral fever. The symptoms seen in viral fever are body aches, lethargy, skin rashes, chills, and headaches. Viral fever is usually transmitted from person to person via contact with their bodily fluids. When we sneeze, cough or yawn, we tend to spray fluid that is full of bacteria or viruses from our bodies. These particles then enter the air that can be breathed in through the nose or mouth of your friend, thus infecting them. From this time on, it takes about 16-48 hours for the infection to completely develop.
A doctor would carry out several blood tests to rule out conditions like malaria, dengue and chikungunya. Blood tests are even more important in this respect as they’ll help the doctor to ascertain whether the fever is due to virus or bacteria.
It is best to stay home and take plenty of rest and eat lots of warm, healthy and fresh food. Visit the doctor so he can give you appropriate medication like antipyretics that would give you some relief if your body aches too much or if the body temperature is causing you too much discomfort. Never ignore a viral fever and its symptoms and self-medicate.
Prevention is the best cure they say. To keep fevers like at bay, avoid crowded places that may be areas of high contamination, wash your hands regularly. If you do have a cold or cough, cover your face when you sneeze or cough, so as to avoid infecting others.
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