Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough –When your body temperature temporarily raises, a fever has struck. The immune system is communicating. Most likely an infection has made its way into your body. Fevers don’t make you feel very great, usually bring on discomfort and just wanting to be lethargic. Our average body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C). A fever is considered 100 F (37.8 C) or higher.
When you have a fever, you may feel weak, have chills, get sweaty, feel achy, feel irritable, lose your appetite, and/or feel dehydrated. Taking you temperature can be done with a few types of thermometers including one that goes into the ear (lympanic), one that is done orally, one that goes against the forehead, or rectal. The oral and rectal thermometers are considered the most accurate.
Fevers vary in severity, especially among adults versus children. Adults need to see a doctor when their temperature is 103 F (39.4 C) or higher. There are also several symptoms that shouldn’t be taken lightly for adults and medical attention should be sought. This would include having a rash, severe headache, vomiting, abdominal pain, pain urinating, feeling confused or having your speech altered, and/or possibly having seizures.
For infants and toddlers there are a couple causes for concern that would warrant calling a doctor. For a child between 7 and 24 months, having a rectal temperature higher than 102 F (38.9 C) and it is lasting longer than a day, then a doctor should be called. This is especially true if the fever includes having a cough, running nose, and/or diarrhea. For children between 3 and 6 months old, a doctor should be contacted when rectal temperature higher than 102 F (38.9 C). For children under 3 months old, a doctor should be contacted when there is a rectal temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher.
If a child has a fever, there isn’t always cause for concern, but certain scenarios should be taken more seriously than others. For example, if a child has a fever for more than 3 days, if the fever is from sitting in hot car, if the child can’t stop vomiting, and/or if the child has a seizure with the fever, a doctor needs to be sought. To treat a fever, getting as much rest as possible is the best solution. Wearing cool clothes and keeping yourself is a cool climate with loose clothes is a good idea to avoid raising body temperature anymore. You can also take a lukewarm bath no hotter than 85 °F. Staying hydrated is very important too. Taking ibuprofen is more to alleviate the discomfort of the fever, not to treat the fever. The body’s immune system is using a fever in its arsenal, so you have to ride it out and let the job be done. Fevers don’t last forever and affect persons differently. Regardless, let the heat work your body and let your immunity work its magic