What Is Fever?
When the temperature of the body rises above normal i.e. above 100.4°F or 38°C, this is considered as fever, controlled hyperthermia or pyrexia. A fever generally is not hazardous on its own. However, sometimes a fever can indicate the presence of some other condition such as an infection. A fever or high body temperature is a way by which the immune system of our body tries to fight any infection.
Fevers can be classified according to:
Length of time
- Acute: Lasts less than 7 days e.g. upper respiratory tract infection.
- Sub-Acute: Lasts up to 14 days e.g. typhoid.
- Persistent or Chronic: Lasts over 14 days e.g. HIV, cancers, tuberculosis, etc.
- Low (100.5-102.1°F or 38.1-39°C)
- Moderate (102.2-104.0°F or 39.1-40°C)
- High (104.1-06.0°F or 40.1-41.1°C)
- Hyperpyrexia (above 106.0°F or 41.1°C)
Fevers can be:
- Continuous or sustained: Does not vary more than 1.5°F or 1°C, over 24 hours, but is not normal e.g. typhoid
- Intermittent: The fever remains for many hours in the day but does not occur all the time e.g. tuberculosis
- Remittent: In this case, the fever varies more than 2°C and does not become normal e.g. infective endocarditis
Sometimes, the fever may exist for many days or weeks without any reason and these are known as FUO or fevers of undetermined origin.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fever?
While a fever may be a symptom of some health condition, some of the symptoms of fever are:
- A high body temperature, chills, and shivering
- Palpitations, excessive or intermittent sweating
- Flushing of the skin
- Feeling faint, dizzy or weak, dehydration
Other symptoms may include:
- Depression, lethargy
- Sleepiness, low appetite
- Inability to concentrate
- Increased sensitivity to pain or hyperalgesia
Very high fever can cause confusion, irritability, seizures, and delirium.
What Are The Causes Of Fever?
The most common cause of fever are infections; however, various illnesses, conditions, and medicines can also cause the temperature of the body to rise including:
- Infectious diseases and infections (like common cold, flu, malaria, HIV, pneumonia, gastroenteritis and infectious mono).
- Illegal and legal drugs (cocaine, amphetamines, and antibiotics).
- Injury or trauma (stroke, heart attack, burns, heat exhaustion or heat stroke).
- Damage to tissue (due to surgery, crush syndrome, hemorrhage, heart attack and hemolysis (when red blood cells break open and release hemoglobin).
- Other medical conditions like lupus, cancers, arthritis, skin inflammation, blood clots, inflammatory bowel disease, gout, embolisms and metabolic disorders.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Fever?
- Cool the room using a fan.
- Take a cool bath.
- Put a damp cloth on the forehead.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fluids. This will prevent dehydration and also help to cool your body. Water also helps to flush out the toxins from the body effectively.
- Get a lot of rest.
- Eat foods that are light and can be digested easily.
- Practice good hygiene such as washing your hands before and after eating and after you go to the toilet.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Fever?
- Don’t overdress or underdress, although you may want to dress more warmly when developing a fever and cool down when the fever is breaking.
- If you have a fever, avoid any contact with other people, so that you don’t spread the infection.
What Are The Best Foods For Fever?
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet as this will help you to fight the infection better.
- Consume plenty of fluids such as water, fresh juice, hot tea, vegetable or chicken broth, thin soups, ice pops made of fruit juice.
- Having fresh fruits like watermelon, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, and cantaloupe can help to strengthen your immune system, as they are rich in vitamin C.
- Having bananas can help to replace the potassium that is lost due to sweating, diarrhea or vomiting.
- Eating citrus fruits can help to boost the immune function and decrease inflammation as they contain flavonoids.
- Yogurt contains good bacteria which can help to reduce fevers and eating probiotics can help you not become ill.
- When you have a fever, eating protein-rich foods such as chicken, turkey, scrambled eggs, silken tofu, protein shake or smoothie, etc. can strengthen your immune system and give you the energy to fight the infection.
What Are The Worst Foods For Fever?
- Avoid sugar and sugary foods like fruit juice with sugar, canned fruits, soda, honey, etc. as consumption of sugar can hamper the immune system and worsen the fever.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages as this can hamper your immune system.
- Avoid raw foods as they are difficult to digest when you’re suffering from fever.
- Avoid red meat, shellfish, etc., as they may be difficult to digest.
What Are The Medicines For Fever?
What Are The Tips To Manage Fever?
Some natural remedies for fever are:
- Basil has antibiotic properties and can help to reduce fever. Boil basil leaves with a teaspoon of ginger in a cup of water till it gets reduced to half the quantity and drink this 2-3 times in a day with some honey or you can mix a teaspoon of basil with some pepper to a glass of hot water. Let this steep for 5 minutes and drink the tea 2-3 times in a day.
- Apple Cider Vinegar is a great remedy for fever. Add half a cup of the apple cider vinegar to warm water and soak in the solution for 5-10 minutes to bring down the fever. Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with a spoon of honey in water and drink it 2-3 times in a day for relief.
- Garlic has antifungal and antibacterial properties which can help to fight infections and warm garlic helps to promote sweating and removes the toxins from the body and helps to provide relief if you’re having a fever. Mince a clove of garlic and add it to a glass of water and steep for a few minutes, strain and drink this twice a day for relief. Crushing 2 cloves of garlic and warming it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and applying this on the soles of the feet can help to reduce fever. However, this treatment may not be suitable for pregnant women and kids.
- Raisins have phenolic compounds which have antioxidant and antibacterial properties and can help to fight infection and reduce fever. Soak some raisins in water until they become soft and crush the raisins and strain the liquid. Add some lemon juice to this and drink it 2-3 times in a day for relief.
- Turmeric is a great remedy for fever and the curcumin contained in turmeric has antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties that help the body to fight infections. Mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to a glass of hot milk and drink it 2 times in a day to reduce fever.