Most adults usually do not spend a lot of time worrying about a fever, unless they are generally sickly or are taking care of a sick child at home. However, every one of us has had the chance to face a fever at one point in our life or another. It may have been caused by a common cold, or perhaps a more serious health problem. Fevers among adults are usually short-lived and harmless, though. However, a fever that lasts more than three days may be a symptom of a serious illness and may pose a threat to the health.
What Is Fever?
Medically known as pyrexia, fever is defined as a raised body temperature. The normal body temperature ranges from 36ºC to 37ºC or 98ºF to 100ºF. When a person has a fever, his or her body temperature goes beyond this range.
What Causes Fever?
Fever takes place when the hypothalamus (also referred to as the body’s “thermostat”) raises the set point of the body’s temperature. This can happen due to a variety of factors. Here are some of them:
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Extreme sunburn
- Heat exhaustion
- Certain inflammatory conditions
- Certain immunizations
If you are experiencing fever, there’s a huge chance that your body has an unwelcome visitor – either a virus or bacteria. Your immune system actually serves as your body’s first line of defense, and when it detects a trespasser, it automatically activates chemicals that cause your internal thermostat to reset. The result is a rise in your body temperature. This happens gradually, depending on the aggressiveness of the intruder your immune system is trying to fight off. The more aggressive the virus or bacteria, the faster your body temperature will rise, with the intention of making life hard for the invader.
There is usually no mystery as to what causes fever. During the rainy or wet season when flu and colds are common, it’s not a surprise when your body temperature rises. There are occasions, however, that you may acquire a fever for no reason at all. Sometimes, it may linger for a bit longer than usual. Doctors refer to such case as FUO, or Fever of Unknown Origin. It’s also possible of you to acquire fever as a result of medication.
Natural Ways to Deal With Fever
Our first response to fever usually consists of partaking medication such as Aspirin, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen. There’s really nothing wrong with this, especially if it was prescribed by your doctor and if your body is already fiery with fever. However, do you know that there are natural ways to deal with low-grade fever?
When you have fever that’s not beyond 38.3°C or 101°F, it’s okay to let it run its course. If you start feeling uncomfortable, though, you can use these methods to tame the heat:
Bathe Yourself in Lukewarm Water
Taking a lukewarm bath is an excellent way to bring your body temperature down. Take time sponging areas like the armpits and groin where temperature is usually higher. You can also place cold, damp cloth on your forehead, as well as on the back of your neck when you are not bathing.
Use The Wet-Sock Method
This is a very popular remedy, especially among our folks. You can do this by warming your feet in hot water first, and then soaking a pair of thin cotton socks in cold water and slipping them on just before you go to bed. Make sure to wear a pair of dry socks over the wet ones, too. This will help increase blood circulation by drawing blood to both your feet.
Find out more about the wet-sock method here.
Sip A Cup Of Tea
Drinking a cup of herbal tea when you have fever can stimulate the body, aid with hydration, and promote sweating. Most herbal teas such as yarrow tea and elderflower can help open your pores and trigger sweating. They are also good when you’re dealing with flu and cold as they can help reduce mucus production. The same is true with basil tea and oregano tea, both of which are excellent in bringing down high temperature. Drinking tea also stimulates the body and helps it to heat up by increasing circulation, which in turn helps you fight chills. Moreover, during a fever, your body may lose water more rapidly than usual. Drinking several cups of tea will help replenish huge amounts of fluids you have lost and prevent dehydration.
Spice Things Up With Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a powerful compound with many uses, including treatment for mild fever. Sprinkling cayenne on your food during a fever will not only make you sweat, but will also help promote blood circulation, helping bring down the heat. Other spices such as horseradish, chill, and wasabi are also effective in clearing out the sinuses when you’re having fever due to a cold.
Nourish Yourself With Homemade Soup
A number of scientific studies show that homemade soup, particularly chicken soup, have indeed some medical value. Researches couldn’t identify exactly which ingredient in chicken soup makes it effective against cold, but they found out through blood tests that the soup promotes the activity of neutrophils, white blood cells that fight off infection. The next time you have a fever, try sipping some hot chicken soup. It does not only contain vegetables that are rich in nutrients, but is also very helpful with hydration. Not to mention the fact that it tastes good!
Walk It Out
Illnesses that are accompanied by a fever often impede your heart’s output. This means it may not be a good idea to exercise when you have a fever. However, it has been found that individuals with fever who get out of bed every 30 minutes and walk experience better muscular and circulatory functions. In that case, it might be a good idea to walk around your house for at least 5 minutes every half hour to increase your chances of recovering from a sickness with fever faster.
Let The Fever Run Its Course
There are instances that attempting to reduce a fever can be counterproductive. Since fever is the body’s natural response to illness and infection, reducing it might cause whatever is causing your illness to live longer, resulting to your sickness to last longer as well. For this reason, before you try any attempts of bringing your fever down, evaluate yourself first whether you can afford having the fever for a while or not. If you feel you can go about your normal routine without having to bring the fever down, you can leave it alone and simply let it run its course. Only treat a fever when you start feeling uncomfortable. On when to seek medical help, that will be discussed in the next section.
When To See A Doctor
Fever should only be treated at home when it’s below 38.3°C or 101°F. Once your body temperature goes higher than 39.4°C or 103°F, you should seek medical assistance right away. Here is a list of additional signs and symptoms of fever that tell you that it’s time to see the do
- Your temperature is 39.4°C or 102°F has lasted more than 3 days, and you’re not responding to medication
- Your symptoms get worse and your temperature doesn’t go down
- You are experiencing a stiff neck
- You have severe headache
- You have sore throat and have difficulty swallowing
- You start to develop rashes
- You have trouble breathing
- You are experiencing chest pains
- You vomit repeatedly
- You have abdominal pain
- You experience pain when urinating
- You see blood in your stool
- Your skin is starting to swell
- You’re not responding to medication
Obviously, the rule for treating fever among children is a bit different. If you have kids at home who have fever, get medical help for them at once if:
- The child is 3 months old and below
- The child is 3 to 6 months old and has a body temperature of 38.9°C or 102°F
- The child is 6 to 24 months old and has a body temperature of 38.9°C or 102°F that last more than 24 hours
- The child 2 years old and above and is unusually lethargic and irritable
- The child doesn’t respond to medication
Fever is actually your friend. It’s the one that tells you there’s something wrong with your body and that you have to take action soon. But then again, it’s also very crucial to know when it’s okay to treat fever on your own and when it’s time to see a professional. How about you? How do you treat a fever? Have you ever tried using a home remedy for it? Let us know by sharing your thoughts on the comments section below!