Fever is the temporary increase in the body’s temperature in response to some disease or illness.
A child has a fever when the temperature is at or above one of these levels:
100.4 °F (38 °C) measured in the bottom (rectally)
99.5 °F(37.5 °C) measured in the mouth (orally)
99 °F (37.2 °C) measured under the arm (axillary)
An adult probably has a fever when the temperature is above 99 – 99.5 °F (37.2 – 37.5 °C), depending on the time of day.
Normal body temperature may change during any given day. It is usually highest in the evening. Other factors that may affect body temperature are:
In the second part of a woman’s menstrual cycle, her temperature may go up by 1 degree or more.
Physical activity, strong emotion, eating, heavy clothing, medications, high room temperature, and high humidity can all increase your body temperature.
Fever is an important part of the body’s defense against infection. Most bacteria and viruses that cause infections in people thrive best at 98.6 °F(36.94°c). Many infants and children develop high fevers with minor viral illnesses. Although a fever signals that a battle might be going on in the body, the fever is fighting for the person, not against.
Brain damage from a fever generally will not occur unless the fever is over 107.6 °F (42 °C). Untreated fevers caused by infection will seldom go over 105 °F(40.5°c) unless the child is overdressed or trapped in a hot place.
Febrile seizures do occur in some children. However, most febrile seizures are over quickly, do not mean your child has epilepsy, and do not cause any permanent harm.
Unexplained fevers that continue for days or weeks are called fevers of undetermined origin (FUO).
Almost any infection can cause a fever. Some common infections are:
-Infections such as MALARIA, pneumonia, bone infections (osteomyelitis), appendicitis, tuberculosis, skin infections or cellulitis, and meningitis
-Respiratory infections such as colds or flu -like illnesses, sore throats, ear infections, sinus infections, infectious mononucleosis, and bronchitis
-Urinary tract infections
-Viral gastroenteritis and bacterial gastroenteritis
Children may have a low-grade fever for 1 or 2 days after some immunizations.
Teething may cause a slight increase in a child’s temperature, but not higher than 100 °F(37.7°c).
Autoimmune or inflammatory disorders may also cause fevers. Some examples are:
-Arthritis or connective tissue illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus
-Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
-Vasculitis or periarteritis nodosa
The first symptom of a cancer may be a fever. This is especially true of Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia.
Other possible causes of fever include:
-Blood clots or thrombophlebitis
-Medications, such as some antibiotics, antihistamines, and seizure medicines
A simple cold or other viral infection can sometimes cause a high fever (102 – 104 °F, or 38.9 – 40 °C). This does not usually mean you or your child have a serious problem. Some serious infections may cause no fever or even a very low body temperature, especially in infants.
If the fever is mild and you have no other problems, you do not need treatment. Drink fluids and rest.
The illness is probably not serious if your child:
-Is still interested in playing
-Is eating and drinking well
-Is alert and smiling at you
-Has a normal skin color
-Looks well when their temperature comes down
Take steps to lower a fever if you or your child is uncomfortable, vomiting, dried out (dehydrated), or not sleeping well. Remember, the goal is to lower, not eliminate, the fever.
When trying to lower a fever:
-Do NOT bundle up someone who has the chills.
-Remove excess clothing or blankets. The room should be comfortable, not too hot or cool. Try one layer of lightweight clothing, and one lightweight blanket for sleep. If the room is hot or stuffy, a fan may help.
-A lukewarm bath or sponge bath may help cool someone with a fever. This is especially effective after medication is given — otherwise the temperature might bounce right back up.
-Do NOT use cold baths, ice, or alcohol rubs. These cool the skin, but often make the situation worse by causing shivering, which raises the core body temperature.
Here are some guidelines for taking medicine to lower a fever:
ANALGESICS help reduce fever in children and adults.
Eating and drinking with a fever:
-Everyone, especially children, should drink plenty of fluids. Water, popsicles, soup, and gelatin are all good choices.
-Do not give too much fruit or apple juice and avoid sports drinks in younger children.
-Although eating foods with a fever is fine, do not force foods.
TEST AND EXAMINATION:
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, which may include a detailed examination of the skin, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, chest, and abdomen to look for the cause of the fever.
Treatment depends on the duration and cause of the fever, as well as your other symptoms.
The following tests may be performed:
-Blood studies, such as a CBC or blood differential
-X-ray of the chest
-RDT for malaria parasites
Elevated temperature; Hyperthermia and Pyrexia