Three Tips for Fighting a Fever

Immediate care physician, Dr. Kurt Eppley, offers three tips for fighting a fever.

Nothing slows you down quite like the onset of a fever, and the aches and chills that accompany it. If you feel one coming on, there are a few things you can do to help fight it off—or at least alleviate some of the symptoms.

A fever is when your body temperature rises above the normal 98 to 100 degrees or more,” said White-Wilson Immediate Care Physician, Dr. Kurt Eppley. “While the symptoms of a fever are unpleasant, your elevated body temperature is actually helping your body fight off an infection.”

 

Dr. Eppley recommends these three fever fighting tips:

  • Rest. Your body is fighting an infection, and you should take it easy so your body can do its job and recover. Try to sleep it off, or at least stay off your feet. If you’re active, your body temperature can increase.
  • Hydrate. A fever can leave your body dehydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids. For children, an oral rehydration solution (ORS) like Pedialyte or Infalyte can help replace lost fluids.
  • Cool down. Help regulate your high body temperature by wearing light clothes and resting in a cool environment.

 

When to seek medical attention:

Adults and children above the age of five should seek medical attention if a fever persists for more than three days, rises above 103°F or is accompanied by other symptoms like difficulty breathing, severe headache, chest pain, persistent vomiting, unexplained mental confusion, stiff neck, abdominal pain, extreme listlessness, pain urinating, seizure, sensitivity to light, irritability, skin rash, swollen throat, muscle weakness or any other unusual symptoms.

“There is most likely no cause for alarm if your child is acting normal and responsive; however, an unexplained fever in an infant or child can be cause for concern even if it is not accompanied by other symptoms,” said Dr. Eppley. “If you are unsure about whether or not to seek medical care, it is always best to play it safe and call your child’s doctor with any questions or concerns.”

Seek medical attention or call your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Is younger than three months and has a fever of 100.4°F or higher
  • Is between three months old and six months old and has a fever of 102°F or higher, and seems irritable, lethargic or demonstrates more discomfort than usual
  • Is between ages six and 24 months and has a fever 102°F or greater that persists for more than a day, even if there are no other symptoms of illness present. Based on the severity of your child’s symptoms and temperature, you may want to call a doctor sooner.
  • Has a fever that persists for more than three days
  • Is acting strange, lethargic, nonresponsive, seems listless and has poor eye contact
  • Is acting unusually irritable or uncomfortable
  • Has severe headache, stomachache or has been vomiting repeatedly
  • Has a pre-existing illness or is on a new medication
  • Has been left in a warm or hot car (seek emergency medical care immediately)

Newborns often have trouble regulating their body temperatures. You should also seek medical attention if your baby has a body temperature lower than 97°F.

Medication

“Keep in mind that your body is hard at work fighting off infection when you are running a fever,” said Dr. Eppley. “However, if you are running a fever of 102°F or higher or extremely uncomfortable, there are a number of over-the-counter medications that when used properly can help relieve the symptoms of a fever and lower your body temperature.”

For high fevers or extreme discomfort, your doctor may recommend:

  • Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin)
  • Aspirin for adults only. Aspirin should never be given to children, and can be fatal in some rare cases.

Be sure to use caution when taking any medication. Read the label directions carefully before using an over-the-counter medication, and follow the instructions of the label or your doctor. If the medication does not work, you should not give a child more medication without calling his doctor. Additionally, long-term usage or high-doses of acetaminophen can cause liver or kidney damage, and can in some cases even be fatal.

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