Fever is not harmful on its own. Learn when it becomes dangerous, how to treat it at home (when possible), and its role in the current pandemic.
Also known as pyrexia, fever is known as higher-than-normal body temperature. It is a symptom caused by a wide variety of illnesses in anyone regardless of age.
Each of us has experienced a wave of chills combined with exhaustion that fever often brings.
Typically, fever occurs in response to an infection as with the flu, viruses that lead to a cold, strep throat bacterial infection, or most infectious diseases or with inflammation that appear with tissue injury or disease such as cancer.
However, there are many other causes for fever, including poisons, drugs, heat exposure, abnormalities of the brain or injuries, or disease of the endocrine system.
Yet, a fever rarely occurs without other symptoms and is often characterized by specific complaints, which may help us identify the fever’s root cause.
Read on to find more about the symptoms of fever, as well as some causes and treatment options.
The Most Common Symptoms
Because fever is usually accompanied by various complaints, this allows doctors to determine the cause root of your fever.
Normally body temperatures can vary depending on the person, weather, and even time of the day. For most of us, a temperature of 98.6 F or 37 C is the baseline.
Temperature is controlled by the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus works like a thermostat for the body.
Its role is to maintain a normal temperature through well-known heating mechanisms, like sweating and widening blood vessels close to the skin.
When someone has a fever, they may also:
- Feel cold and shiver when nobody else does;
- Have a low appetite;
- Have increased sensitivity to pain;
- Feel sleepy and lack energy;
- Have difficulty concentrating.
What Are The Causes And Signs Of Fever In Adults?
Fever occurs when fever-producing substances or pyrogens trig our body’s immune systems. Pyrogens can be found outside the body, which in turn, can generate additional pyrogens inside the body.
Pyrogens are there to tell the hypothalamus to increase the temperature set point. This is when our body starts to shiver, our blood vessels contract, and when we get under the blanket in an attempt to reach the new temperature that is higher than our baseline.
Of course, other pyrogens can be produced by our body, typically in response to inflammation: there are known as cytokines.
Pyrogens or fever-producing substances that come from outside the body include the following:
Easy At-Home Treatments
Normally, a fever is not harmful on its own. Most fevers simply go away within a few hours to days as the body defeats the infection.
You can help yourself feel better with these at-home remedies for fever:
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids like water, soup, juice, and broth.
- Consuming light foods that are easy on the stomach.
- Resting and using a compress, like a damp towel.
- Taking a warm bath and dressing in light, comfortable clothing.
- Reducing the temperature in your room.
When Is Fever Dangerous?
Contrary to what you might have heard, a fever isn’t always a problem. Known as a temporary increase in body temperature, fever is just a symptom, not an illness.
In fact, it can sometimes be a good sign: it’s often a sign that your body is fighting a virus or an illness.
But how do I know when a fever is dangerous?
As hard as it may be to believe, fever is a good thing sometimes. Still, you should know when to let a fever run its natural course and when to seek medical attention.
A normal body temperature ranges between 97.7 F and 99.5 F, but when it exceeds 99.5 F, it is considered a fever in both adults and children.
If your fever exceeds 105 F, then you should call your doctor immediately.
It may be a sign of serious illness if it’s accompanied by severe symptoms such as:
- A severe headache;
- Sensitivity to bright light;
- Stiff neck or neck pain;
- Skin rash;
- Frequent vomiting;
- Stomach pain;
- Difficulty breathing.
So when should I worry?
As for the question of “when to worry” or better “when to act” about a fever, it is typically considered to be in the case of intermediate and high-grade fevers.
Low-grade type fevers that last more than about four to seven days may necessitate medical attention.
Fevers that persist, regardless if they’re low, intermediate, or high grade, always need investigation.
For centuries we’ve heard that fever is not a disease but rather a symptom of diseases like cancer to flu.
In the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, fever has great importance as it’s considered an important part of the Corona disease.
Not knowing the cause of your fever, how can it be included as a symptom in COVID-19?
In COVID-19, nearly 80% of patents have no fever.
- But why up to 80% of them doesn’t have it?
- Is it because there is no need for the care of fever or simply because the disease lacks symptoms?
- Is fever a symptom?
There is not a single trace of symptom definition that can be found in fever definition and vice versa because a symptom has no ability to make other actions.
Research clearly states that fever is NOT a symptom in COVID-19, and none of the diseases require fever as its symptom.
Fever in adults is not harmful on its own. It’s a natural response of your body dealing with an illness or a disease.
There are high or prolonged fever cases that may signal a serious illness, so here’s where you may need urgent medical treatment.
Ignoring it isn’t either a solution. There are numerous ways you can fight low-grade fever with at-home remedies without getting medical attention. For instance, getting plenty of rest and fluids can help your body recover.
But if your fever lasts longer than three days or if you have other severe symptoms, see your doctor immediately!