Fever: Causes| Symptoms| Treatment| Prevention| Foods

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What is a fever?

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The fever causes when the human body temperature exceeds or rise above the normal range of measurement that is 36-37°C (98-100°F).

Fever is not considered to be clinically important or any medical condition needed unless the body temperature is above 100.4 F (38°C).

Above normal (36-37°C) but below (38°C) is considered to be a low-grade fever. The fever acts as one of the body’s natural defense against bacteria and viruses, which can not stay at high temperatures. therefore, low-grade fever should not usually be treated, unless some symptoms are seen.

Our body temperature is usually the highest at about 6 PM and it is the lowest at 3 AM. The normal body temperature can vary and are affected by factors such as time to time eating, exercising, and, sleeping.

Our body’s smart defense mechanisms work more efficiently at high temperatures. Fever is just a part of the disease, which is not much more important than the presence of other symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, sinus rush, joints pain, cold, fatigue, nausea etc.

The fever itself is not contagious. However, if the fever is caused by viral or bacterial infection, the infection can be contagious.

But, sometimes high fever can be serious or dangerous and can cause complications which may need some medical attention.

Sometimes, due to hormonal changes during perimenopause (period around menopause), the fever should not be confused with hot flashes or night sweats. Hot flashes and night sweats cause sudden and intense feelings of heat, as well as flushing (feeling redness and nervousness) and sweating, but not like a fever.

Also, the fever should not be confused with hyperthermia, which is a flaw in the reaction of your body of heat (thermodynamics), which can increase body temperature too. This is usually due to external sources such as being in a warm environment. Heat exhaustion and heat attack are the forms of hyperthermia. Other causes of hyperthermia may include side effects of certain medicines or medical conditions.

Causes of fever:

Fever is caused when your body’s immune system responses to bacteria, viruses, fungus, toxic substances, or medicines which are also known as pyrogens.

To help fight bacteria or infection in the body, the hypothalamus in the brain gets signals to increase the body temperature.

Fever is a common symptom of most infections such as common cold and gastroenteritis (also called flat flu), thus the risk factor for fever is in contact with infectious agents.

The specific infection that causes fever includes throat, ear, lungs, and kidneys.

In children, injections, vaccination shot or scream (long cry) may cause short-term fever.

Also, fever can be caused by blood clotting, wrong medication, hormonal disorder or drug side effects.

Other several factors that cause a fever:

  • Body exposure to hot weather or climate
  • Strep throat
  • If not hygiene properly
  • Caffeine overdose
  • Dehydration

Symptoms of fever:

  • Weakness
  • A headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chickenpox
  • Sinus infection
  • Sweating
  • Wrong medication
  • High-stress level
  • Sleepiness (low energy)
  • Cold

How fever can be diagnosed?

The diagnosis of fever is quite simple – if the person’s body temperature is high then he has a fever. In adults or children, temperature above 100.4°F (38°C) is considered to be a fever.

Various tests can be performed by doctors, such as blood, urine tests or other imaging scans to determine the cause of the fever and to treat the causes of the fever.

The body temperature can be measured by using digital thermometer by placing it under the armpits (axillary temperature), in the mouth (oral temperature), or by inserting the tip of the thermometer in the rectum (rectal temperature).

Armpits temperatures are not accurate in the form of rectal or oral measurements, and they usually measure 1 degree less than the oral temperature obtained together.

Treatments of fever:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help to reduce fever. They are available to buy over-the-counter of medical or online.

Aspirin should not be used for fever in children or adolescence which is associated with Reye’s syndrome during a viral disease (especially chickenpox and influenza, or flu). Reye’s syndrome is a dangerous disease which causes prolonged vomiting, confusion, and even failure of the liver.

Naproxen (Aleve) is another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that can temporarily reduce the fever under doctors prescriptions.

If fever is caused by a cold, which is caused by viral infection, then NSAIDs can be used to get rid of unsafe symptoms. Antibiotics have no effect against the virus and will not be prescribed by your doctor for a viral infection.

If fever is caused by bacterial infection, then a doctor can write antibiotics.
NSAIDs will not be effective if the person’s fever is due to hot weather (heat stroke) or persistent strict exercise. The person needs to cool down. If they are confused or unconscious, they should be treated by the doctor immediately.

Home remedy: Taped warm water 85°F (30°C) bath or sponge bath is a home remedy which can help reduce the fever. But not works for high-grade fevers.

Prevention of fever:

Any person with fever or without fever should consume or drink plenty of water, lots of fluid to prevent dehydration and avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages, which can contribute to dehydration. Dehydration can complicate any disease.

Proper hygiene – Fever is usually caused by bacterial or viral infections. Good hygiene practices help in reducing the risk of developing the infection. It involves washing hands before and after the meal and after going to the toilet.

Avoid contact with sick people – The person with fever from infection should have as little contact with as many people as possible to prevent infection. Anyone taking care of the patient should wash his hands regularly with soap and water.

Foods to eat when suffering from fever:

  • Cooked green leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage, cauliflower).

  • High protein foods (eggs, fish, chicken, paneer).

  • Fruits (apples, bananas, avocados).

  • High fiber meal if not suffering from diarrhea problems (oatmeal).

  • Use anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial in your meal (ginger, garlic, honey).

  • Include a high amount of liquids (water, fruit juices, coconut water).
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