Fever (fever) is a temporary increase in body temperature that often occurs due to illness. Having a fever is a sign of something unusual in your body.
For an adult, the ailment can be uncomfortable, but usually it does not cause concern if it does not reach 39.4 degrees Celsius or higher. For infants and young children, a slightly elevated temperature can indicate a serious infection.
Within a few days the heat usually disappears. Antipyretic drugs reduce fever, but they should only be consumed at high body temperatures. Heat seems to play a key role in helping your body fight a range of inflammations and infections.
Symptoms and features
Heat is a rise in temperature above the normal range. The natural temperature for humans can slightly exceed the average of 36.6 degrees Celsius.
Depending on what causes the fever, additional signs and symptoms of fever may include: sweating; chills; headache; muscle pain; loss of appetite; irritability; general weakness, etc.
Children aged 6 months to 5 years may experience febrile seizures. According to statistics, about a third of children who have one febrile seizure will have another (most often in the next 12 months).
To check the temperature in an adult or child, you can choose one of several types of thermometers, including oral, rectal, ear (drum) and frontal thermometers.
Although this is not the most accurate way to measure temperature, you can use the classic axillary thermometer. To use it, you need to place the device in your armpit and cross your arms. A child during this period is recommended to keep to limit his mobility. For the most accurate indicators, the measurement procedure should last at least 5 minutes. Axillary temperature is slightly lower than the temperature in the mouth.
Types of fever
A fever can be classified depending on how long this condition lasts, and with what temperature indicators it borders.
The temperature can be classified according to the following phenomena:
- hypothermia - up to 35 degrees Celsius;
- norm - from 35 to 38 degrees Celsius;
- hyperthermia - temperature rise above 37 degrees Celsius;
- fever - an increase in body temperature over 38 degrees Celsius with the preservation of thermoregulation.
The temperature elevation can help indicate which type of problem is causing it. The length of time varies temperature:
- acute type - duration up to 7 days;
- sub-acute - duration up to 14 days;
- chronic or persistent - lasting more than 14 days.
Fever that lasts for days or weeks without explanation is called “of uncertain origin.”
Diagnosis of the disease
Diagnosis of heat is simple - a person’s body temperature is measured, if the readings are high, then heat is diagnosed. It is important that the person’s temperature is checked at rest, because physical activity stimulates an increase.
A person is diagnosed with fever if:
- the temperature in the mouth exceeds 37.7 ° C (99.9 ° Fahrenheit);
- the temperature in the rectum (anus) exceeds 37.5-38.3 ° C (100-101 degrees Fahrenheit);
- the temperature under the arm or inside the ear exceeds 37.2 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit).
Since fever is a symptom, not a disease, when the doctor has confirmed that there is an elevated body temperature, he may order additional tests and studies. Depending on what other signs and symptoms exist, they can include blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, etc.
Types of Thermometers
For infants and preschool children, it is recommended to use safer devices: rectal, frontal, electronic, infrared. The most popular and affordable are rectal.
Rectal thermometer application for babies:
- Apply oil cream (petroleum jelly or ordinary sunflower oil) to the device head.
- Put your baby on your stomach.
- Carefully insert the thermometer head into the anal opening of the baby for 1-2 centimeters.
- Keep the thermometer and baby for three more minutes.
Important: Do not let go of the thermometer while it is inside the child. If the baby wriggles, the device may go deeper and cause injury.
An ear thermometer is one of the safest variations of an infrared thermometer.
The device must be properly installed in the ear of the child to get the most accurate performance. Too much earwax can lead to inaccurate results.
Measurements of the temperature of the eardrum are not accurate in young children and should not be used for children under the age of 3 years (36 months). This is especially true in children under 3 months of age, when obtaining the exact temperature is very important.
Electronic (oral) thermometer
Patients 4 years of age and older can measure temperature using an electronic thermometer under the tongue with a closed mouth.
- Clean the thermometer with soapy water or wipe with alcohol and rinse thoroughly.
- Turn on and place its tip as close as possible to the tongue.
- The mouth should remain closed, as an open mouth can lead to inaccurate readings.
- The thermometer needs to remain in place for about a minute or until you hear a beep. Check digital readings.
Important: before the procedure, avoid hot or cold drinks for 15 minutes to ensure correct readings.
When do I need to see a doctor?
The heat itself can not be the cause of anxiety or the reason for calling a doctor. However, there are some circumstances when you should still seek medical help.
Heat in children
Unexplained fever is a greater cause of concern in infants and children than in adults. Contact your local pediatrician if the child:
- younger than three months of age and has a rectal temperature of 38 ° C or higher;
- aged 3 to 6 months and has a rectal temperature of 38.9 ° C and above, and looks unusually irritable or drowsy;
- aged 6 to 24 months and has a rectal temperature above 38.9 ° C, which lasts longer than one day, but does not show any other symptoms.
If the baby also has other signs and symptoms, such as a cold, cough or diarrhea, then you should call the doctor at the first signs of the disease, without waiting for serious complications.
In the event that the child behaves freely and the body temperature varies at around 37 degrees Celsius, it is important to provide him with good nutrition, plenty of water. Various factors can be the cause of this kind of temperature change: emotional and physical stress, stress, etc.
The doctor needs to urgently call if the child:
- sluggish and irritable, vomiting, severe headache, abdominal pain, or any other symptoms causing significant discomfort;
- has a fever after prolonged exposure to the sun or in a very warm room (there is a suspicion of overheating);
- stays with high body temperature for more than three days;
- refuses food, games, does not want to make contact with anyone.
It is important to closely monitor the condition of the child during the period of manifestation of heat, since this symptom may demonstrate the presence of serious diseases, pathologies or inflammatory processes in the body.
Symptoms in adults
Seek medical attention when body temperature reaches 39.4 ° C or higher. Get medical attention immediately if any of these symptoms accompany a fever:
- Strong headache;
- unusual skin rash, especially if the rash quickly worsens;
- unusual sensitivity to bright light;
- stiff neck and pain when tilting the head;
- mental confusion;
- persistent vomiting;
- shortness of breath or chest pain;
- pain in the abdomen or pain when urinating;
Causes of fever
Heat is the result of the body's immune response to pathogenic bacteria and extraneous microorganisms. Among which: viruses, bacteria, fungi, drugs or other toxins.
These substances are considered febrile (called pyrogens) and cause the body's immune response. Pyrogens signal the hypothalamus in the brain to increase body temperature to help the body fight infection.
Heat occurs when an area in the brain called the hypothalamus - also known as the body's "thermostat" - shifts the maintenance of normal temperature upward. A person may feel cooling and add layers of clothing or turn into a blanket, may shiver to provide more heat to the body, which ultimately leads to an increased temperature (heat).
Normal values change throughout the day - they are lower in the morning and higher in the afternoon and evening. Although most people consider 36.6 ° C normal, the body temperature of a healthy person can vary from about 36.1 ° C to 37.2 ° C - this is considered a normal option.
The heat itself is not contagious, but if viruses and fungi are the cause of this symptom, then a healthy person can acquire the disease itself.
Heat or fever can be caused by: a virus; bacterial infection; heat stroke; certain inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis - inflammation of the lining of the joints; malignant tumor; certain medications (antibiotics and medicines used to treat high blood pressure or seizures); diseases (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis or pneumococcal vaccine).
Sometimes the cause of the heat is not identified. If the patient has a fever for more than three weeks and the doctor cannot find the cause after an extensive assessment of the condition, the diagnosis sounds like "fever of unknown origin."
Children aged 6 months to 5 years may experience convulsions caused by fever (febrile seizures), which usually include loss of consciousness and shaking of the limbs on both sides of the body. Despite the anxiety of parents, the vast majority of febrile seizures do not cause any lasting effects.
High temperatures up to 40 ° C or prolonged bouts of fever can lead to: dehydration; convulsions; weight loss; other serious complications.
It is very important to begin treatment of the underlying cause of the heat in the situations described above. Many of the infections that can cause at least a slight increase in body temperature often lead to serious complications if such obvious symptoms are ignored.