Fever is the temporary increase in the body's temperature in response to a disease or illness. For an adult, a fever may be uncomfortable, but usually isn't a cause for concern unless it reaches 103 F (39.4 C) or higher. For infants and toddlers, a slightly elevated temperature may indicate a serious infection. The symptoms may include:
• Muscle aches
• Loss of appetite
• General weakness
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?
Generally, if the fever does not cause discomfort, the fever itself need not be treated. It is not necessary to awaken an adult or child to treat a fever unless instructed to do so by a doctor.
The following fever-reducing medications may be used at home:
Other home remedies for fever include staying hydrated. Drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages, which can contribute to dehydration.
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.
Fever as we understand from the word, is as we all know a condition wherein our body feels warmer than usual. Our body does not feel fit and we feel we need to slow down and rest for a while.
Our normal body temperature does vary and is quite affected by different factors such as exercising, certain food we eat or sleeping at specific times of the day. The temperature of our body is generally at its highest at about six in the evening and lowest in the wee hours of the morning like three am.
We measure the body temperature by inserting a thermometer in the mouth, and if inserted in the armpits, the resultant temperature needs to decrease by .02 or .03 degrees centigrade.
Fever is generally caused by either a viral infection or a bacterial infection and our body temperatures automatically rise, to combat this infection. In short, our immune system gets down to working hard to resolve the infection.
Other causes of fever include:
• Throat infection
• Common cold
• Heat stroke
• Amphetamine abuse and alcohol withdrawal
Symptoms of viral fever include – head aches, body aches, cold, running nose, sneezing, feeling uneasy, sleepiness or rashes. You may feel like vomiting often, and the temperature does not go down after a day or two, even after normal Paracetamol tablets are administered.
A viral fever can be diagnosed when the fever is followed by a cold and when blood work confirms the same. Remedies for when you have a viral fever:
• You should take sufficient rest and intake warm food that is soothing like soups and broths.
• Visit a doctor if the fever persists for more than a day
• Antipyretics are fever medicines that should be taken under medical guidance only.
• Analgesics or antibiotics will not work in case it is a viral fever. Antibiotics will take of the fever if caused by bacterial infection, thus they cannot kill the virus. If taken, it will only cause a disturbed stomach.
Thus a person who has been infected with a viral fever should not have much contact with people around him or her, so that the infection does not spread. The ones looking after a viral patient should also maintain hygiene by washing hands with warm soap and water. The patient on the other hand, should maintain a strict personal hygiene till the viral fever goes away.
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