Fever, when should we worry?

heat This is an increase in our body temperature. This increase is a sign that something abnormal is happening. The hypothalamus is responsible for increasing temperature. Adults do not notice this increase unless it is very large. However, in children and infants, a slight increase should already be a warning sign. In general, we consider ourselves to be suffering from a fever when the temperature rises above the normal range of 36-37°C.

What does “fever” mean?

Fever or increased temperature is our body’s defense against fighting certain diseases. In fact, this natural reaction the immune system to fight infection if present. This is a combat effect against viruses.

When you have a fever, you start to cold feeling. The fever usually gets worse in the afternoon. And there are several factors that mean it rises earlier or to a greater or lesser extent, such as food, exercise or rest.

Symptoms of fever

Depending on the intensity of the fever and the person, you may suffer from one or more symptoms, which I detail:

  • We notice colds, chills and tremors
  • lack of hunger
  • Apathy and feeling tired
  • And a lot of sleep, and quite the opposite, lack of sleep.
  • Hypersensitivity, irritability and confusion.
  • Palpitations and tachycardia
  • Nervousness and lightheadedness
  • I was very thirsty
  • excessive sweating
  • Headache and muscle pain
  • At very high temperatures, seizures and even delirium may occur.

How to measure temperature

As I explained earlier, depending on where we take the temperature it will be different, it just depends on the thermometer we use. If we put it under the arm, then ideally put it under the armpits and cross them; if it is a baby or a child, then it is better to hold it in your arms, holding it so that it does not move. It should take 5 minutes if there is no warning on the thermometer.

If we use it rectally, you can drop a little Vaseline and carefully insert it into the anus, the inside of the sensor for at least 3 minutes. Babies must be constantly monitored and held if we have placed a thermometer there, as movement may cause harm. You can also take it in your mouth for 5 minutes.

Why does a fever occur?

In most cases, this is due to infection. However, there are other reasons why we may suffer from fever and when our body reacts to some abnormal situation, although there may be many more reasons than the ones I explain here and even more than one reason.

  • Throat infections, sore throats (usually accompanied by high fever), flu and colds, pneumonia, chicken pox and other infectious diseases, both viral and bacterial, septicemia.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Burns, including sunburn.
  • High outside temperatures or even during very strenuous physical activity due to fatigue, heat stroke.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse. Failure can also cause fever.
  • Medicines such as anticholinergics, malignant hyperthermia due to anesthesia
  • Vaccine
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Bleeding
  • Tumors
  • Impacts or injuries

Normal values

We are considered to have a fever when it exceeds our body’s normal range. It should be kept in mind that the temperature can be measured in the armpit, mouth, anus or ear, depending on where we measured it, it may differ slightly.


The most important thing is always take it the same wayat least during its duration.

To measure temperature, we must take into account the thermometer we use. If they are electronic, they usually have a warning on them. However, if it is not there, you should wait 5 minutes with the thermometer turned on.

Heat: We consider ourselves to have a fever when the readings are higher than normal.

Low temperature: We consider this to be a very low altitude, below 38°C.

Hyperpyrexia: when the temperature is already very high, above 41 °C.

Hyperthermia: When you have a high temperature but with symptoms other than a fever, such as not changing with the time of day or not responding to fever-reducing medications, it is as if we have a high body temperature but are not suffering from a fever.

Types of fever

Depending on the type of fever, your doctor can give you an idea of ​​the cause of the fever, and this may be another parameter for diagnosis:

Keep going: It always has the same degrees, does not change by more than 1 degree, and even if we take it at any point in time, it will always be the same. This goes away with the help of medications.

Sender: When it fluctuates more than 1 degree during the day without taking medication.

Intermittent: when after 24 hours the fever may disappear and reappear in about a day.

repetitive: This is when it changes over more than one day, for example it appears, then disappears after a few days and may appear again. This usually occurs in weak people and a weakened immune system.

wavy: When there is no clear picture of fever, several types of fever are combined, with both the time of onset and temperature fluctuations depending on other parameters, such as time of day.

What should we do and go to the doctor?

In general, a fever should not be a cause for concern unless it is very high or fluctuating. In this case, you should try to check your body temperature more often and try to keep it low. Whereas it is always lower in the morning, but as time passes the temperature usually increases.

In children and infants we should pay special attention and tell the doctor if we are in doubt, but in general:

  • In children under 3 months: if the rectal temperature is 38°C or higher, in newborns, if their temperature also drops below normal.
  • In babies from 3 to 6 months: with a rectal temperature of more than 38.9 ° C, they cry a lot, are restless, or even sleep too much.
  • In children from 6 to 24 months: if the rectal temperature is above 38.90 ° C, for more than 24 hours, as well as in the presence of diarrhea, vomiting, or symptoms of a serious cold.

Children If, in addition to the fever, the fever is very high and any other symptoms are observed:

  • Headache or stomach pain
  • If you have experienced heatstroke (for example, high temperatures in a car)
  • Fever lasts more than three days.
  • If you seem distracted and sleepy
  • First of all, it is very important to go to the emergency room as soon as possible if you are suffering from seizures.

In adults:

When the temperature is very high, more than 39 °C, or the fever lasts more than three days, or other symptoms are observed, such as:

  • Additional symptoms appear, such as:
  • Strong headache
  • Hypersensitivity to light
  • Confusion, neck pain when moving.
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Abdominal pain, especially when urinating.
  • Severe muscle pain and even sensory difficulties.

Medicines for fever

The pharmacy can give us some medications without a prescription to control the temperature, although if the temperature lasts more than three days, especially in children, it is advisable not to give the drug and quickly consult a doctor.

Write down temperature fluctuations and foods taken, as well as hours, because, as I said, this is another parameter for the doctor’s diagnosis.

Both drugs should usually be taken every 8 hours. If the temperature is very high, which sometimes happens with problems such as angina, one drug is usually alternated every 4 hours.

Dosage can be increased to every 6 hours, always on the recommendation of a pharmacist.

This drug is contraindicated in children and adults who are particularly sensitive to aspirin or have duodenal ulcers or stomach problems. It should also not be taken by people who are taking anticoagulants or have blood clotting problems, pregnant women, or people with liver or kidney problems.

Antibiotics should not be taken to reduce a fever, as they are not intended for that, but to treat an infection and should be prescribed by a doctor.

Babies under one month old cannot be treated at home; they should go to the hospital or immediately inform the doctor.

Meritchel Marty Castanier

Meritchel Marty Castaner graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Navarra in Pamplona, ​​Spain. In January 1990 he opened Farmacia Meritxell in Andorra la Vella, which has become a benchmark in the field of international products. In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious iDermo Award in the “Best Pharma 2.0” category. She is the developer of her own brand of anti-aging nutritional supplements, Unique Pink Collagen. She complements her work as a pharmacist with another great passion: health care consulting.

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