As soon as you feel a fever coming on, you often make your way straight to the medicine cabinet and pop a few pills. A fever isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. It’s just a sign that your body is putting up a good fight against an infection. A high temperature means that your body is producing more white blood cells to go out and destroy the invading bacteria or virus. Because of this, interfering with your body’s defense mechanism by taking pills to bring down the fever might not be such a good idea. So should you let the fever run its course? When do you know it’s too high and needs to be controlled? Here are a few pointers to help you treat a fever the next time you come down with one.
Infants And Toddlers
Your tiny tot might be active but could still feel warmer to the touch than usual. The best way to take an infant’s temperature is by using a rectal thermometer. For toddlers, a good old fashioned digital thermometer is best. If your baby is below 3 months and the temperature is above 100.4 F or 38 C you must visit your pediatrician. For kids between 3 to 6 months who are still quite active and have a temperature up to 102.4 F, medication is not needed unless there is a rash or other symptoms. As a rule of thumb, all children no matter what their age, need to visit a doctor if their temperature is above 102 F. Children above 6 months can be given some OTC medicines on your doctor’s advice. However, remember to never give aspirin to young children. If the fever persists for more than 2 days or if your child is listless, it’s important to rush your kids to the doctor.
Young Children And Teenagers
The same rule applies here as well. Children with a temp up to 102 F do not need medication. Just keep them back at home and rested so their body has a chance to fight off the infection. This is true especially when you can identify the source of the infection like a runny nose or an upset stomach. If the temperature is higher, hasn’t gone down after 3 days or is accompanied by a rash, persistent vomiting or throat swelling, a visit to your doctor is essential. If your child’s temperature isn’t coming down even after the medicines the doctor prescribed, do not reduce the time for the next dose. Instead, call your doctor and get their advice. It’s also important that you keep your child well hydrated with water or juices.
The 102 F rule applies also to adults over 18 years. If your fever is accompanied by a stiff neck, shortness of breath, pain while urinating or a severe headache, then make a doctor’s appointment. Low grade fever in senior citizens is no cause for alarm unless it’s accompanied by shortness of breath or confusion. A fever above 103 F whatever be your age does need medical support. People with compromised immune systems should get immediate medical attention even if they have just a low fever. Since fever is a sign of infection, those with pre-existing conditions like HIV, cancer or autoimmune diseases should not take a chance by waiting and watching. Their body needs immediate medical help to fight off any infection before it can become more serious.
Making The Patient Comfortable
If the fever is high, try bringing it down with a warm bath or a sponge down. Adding apple cider to the water can also help reduce your fever. Never have a cold bath to bring down high fevers because the sudden drop in temperature can send your body into shock. When this happens, blood rushes to your internal organs and raises your internal temperature, while your surface temperature reduces. Ensure the patient also has a lot of fluids to drink. If your child is making a fuss, just give them a few ice chips to suck on at frequent intervals.
Feeding The Fever
Your grandma really does know best! A hot bowl of chicken soup is good for the soul and even better for a feverish body. Several components of the chicken soup have health benefits but the best part of it is the cartilage in the broth. Cartilage stimulates the white blood cell production which in turn fights those germs off. Adults can also have hot ginger tea which opens up your pores and encourages the body to sweat out the fever. Orange juice and other fruit juices rich in Vitamin C are also good to get the fluid levels in your body up because they naturally boost your immunity.