Fevers - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Immediate medical help
Our body keeps adapting to several changes in the external environment. The White blood cells (WBC) act like soldiers in our body and keep fighting the various infections and germs that interact with our cells. While fighting back various chemicals are released and the temperature of our body rises. This, in simple terms is commonly known to us as fever.
The normal body temperature may range anywhere from 97 degree Celsius to 99 degree Celsius. If the temperature rises beyond that, it is considered a fever. As fever is a body’s natural response to infection, a low-grade fever isn’t usually a cause for concern, but if it is longstanding or temperature of 102°F and above should be treated.
Fever can cause a state of discomfort. A healthy body fights all types of infection and hence it takes a few days for fever to subside. Fever can be caused by the following:
- Bacterial infections like respiratory infections, pneumonia, cellulitis, diphtheria, tuberculosis, Urinary tract infections, rheumatic fever etc.
- Viral infections like dengue, influenza, HIN1, covid, monkey pox, chicken pox etc.
- Parasitic & amoebic infections
- Heat stroke
- Post trauma
- Malignant hyperthermia etc.
Signs and symptoms of viral fever:
Viral fever is caused due to a viral infection. It may last for a day or may go upto 5 days. Few viral infections are highly contagious and spread from person to person through direct contact or transmission via respiratory droplets in the air.
- Both joint and muscle aches.
- Sore throat.
- Runny nose.
- An increase in body temperature.
- Frequent chills.
Signs and symptoms of malaria fever
Malaria is caused by a parasite. When an infected mosquito bites a healthy person, the parasites enter the body causing Malaria. Malaria is very common in hot and humid countries and can cause serious health issues and even lead to death if left untreated.
- Profuse sweating
- Severe shivering
- Headache and muscle aches.
- Pain in the chest area
- breathing problems and cough.
- nausea and vomiting
Signs of typhoid fever
Typhoid is a major health issue in a developing country like India. It is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria. It is mainly caused due to the intake of contaminated food or water and is highly contagious.
- Constipation or diarrhea
- High grade fever
- Severe Headache
- Severe Stomach pain
- Pain in abdomen
Signs and symptoms of Dengue Fever
Dengue is a viral infection caused by mosquitoes (virus of Flaviviridae family). Early detection and proper medical treatment is very crucial for treating this infection.
- High fever (40°C/104°F)
- Muscle pain
- joint pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Rapid breathing
Fever is one the most common signs of infection hence it should not be neglected.
Low grade fever can be treated at home itself. Ample of rest and generous liquid intake can ease the discomfort. When the fever slightly rises, tepid sponging is recommended. Medicines like Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and Meftal also help in reducing fever. In case the fever does not subside in a couple of days, see a doctor for further diagnosis.
Immediate medical help
Fever must subside usually within 3-5 days but if it still continues, you must seek medical assistance. In case the body temperature is more than 103 degree celsius, consult a doctor. One needs to seek immediate medical help if fever is accompanied with the following symptoms:
- Pain in Chest
- Pain in abdomen
- Pain while urinating, blood in urine
- Severe headache
- Unusual sensitivity to bright light
- Stiffness in the neck
- Sudden forgetfulness of mental confusion
- Continuous vomiting
Things to have at home
Fever is a medical condition that can occur at any time. It affects adults as well as children of all ages. A few things must always be available at home for such situations.
- A thermometer
- Paracetamol tablets
- Paracetamol drops for kids
- Electrolyte packets