A fever usually manifests itself is a sudden spike in the body’s temperature. It is a way of the body telling you that it’s fighting an infection.
When dealing with a disease, the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that regulates temperature), triggers a sudden rise in temperature.
By so doing, the body can defend itself against the disease-causing pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. A fever may also come as a result of consuming certain medications and foods.
You can, therefore, say that a fever is the body’s defense mechanism against foreign invaders. It is the best indication that the immune system is properly functional.
Thus a fever is marked by a temperature that’s at least 100.4° F (38° C). An illness is likely to be accompanied by symptoms such as body aches, fatigue, and chills depending on what its cause is.
Assessing the Situation
Before you lean the best way to break a fever, it is essential to know the additional symptoms in both adults and children.
The level of discomfort when one has a temperature varies from individual to individual. There are times when you will feel evil with a slight fever and better with a high fever. The contrary situation is also real.
It is impossible to know how to break a fever, before learning the accompanying symptoms. When you have an illness, you are likely to experience any of the following symptoms:
· Feeling lightheaded or weak
· Loss of appetite
· Muscle aches
When you have a fever accompanied by any of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor. The worst of them is the rash. The sooner a doctor determines its cause, the better you will be able to overcome the infection.
Don’t neglect a fever that comes with nausea and loss of appetite. Get medical attention from a qualified doctor, as soon as possible. When you start having confusion, convulsions or hallucinations, get urgent medical treatment.
Common Causes of Fever
The many symptoms that accompany fever could be due to several ailments. To know what exactly they are looking at, doctors often assess the other signs and not just the temperature. Diseases that could lead to a fever include:
· The common cold
· Sinus infections
· Localized infections in the gums, ears, urinary tract or skin
· The flu (influenza)
· Gastrointestinal infections
· Reactions of children’s immunity to vaccinations
Although not common, a fever could be a sign of a life-threatening or chronic ailment such as meningitis. It could also be as a result of autoimmune conditions like lupus, colitis, and arthritis.
If you have a persistent unexplained fever for some weeks, tell it to a doctor since this could mean you have cancers like Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia.
If you have a fever due to a blood clot, you could also experience symptoms such as swelling, redness, and localized pain.
How to Take Your Temperature
The average temperature in the human body stands at 98.6° F (37° C). This may vary from one individual to another.
Changes in temperature that happen on day to day basis are regular. To ascertain that you have a fever, use a thermometer.
The type of thermometer you use may yield different results, even though you are considered to be feverish if the reading is 100.4° F (38°C) or above.
The best places to test for fever include the forehead (temporal artery), ear, rectum, and mouth.
An armpit (axillary) thermometer will mark you out to be feverish if the temperature is at least 99.4° F (37° C). For babies and infants, pediatricians recommend that you use a rectal thermometer.
Your doctor is better placed to advise you on the type of thermometer to use to take a child’s temperature.
Best Way to Break a Fever
You don’t have to do much to break some fevers, given that they do fizzle out naturally on their own.
But if the temperature is dangerously high, you ought to take measures to reduce it. You may want to try any of the following methods.
1. Get Lots of Rest
You need plenty of rest to help your body do everything possible to fight pathogens by increasing the number of white blood cells.
These are the body’s defenses that kill invaders such as bacteria and viruses. As you sleep, your brain secretes hormones that trigger the production of new cells in the tissues.
To recover quickly and accurately, your body needs to rest for between 7 and 9 hours every night. Talk about getting rid of a fever while doing nothing but rest.
You don’t have to attend school or work unless you want to infect others with the illness causing the heat. Although you may not know it, the best way to break a fever is to rest throughout the whole day.
2. Properly Hydrate
When you have a fever, the body loses water and some essential nutrients through excessive perspiration. To keep hydrated, drink a lot of fluids from morning to the evening. The fluids will also flush out toxins that may have built up to cause the fever.
Taking plain water is an excellent place to begin. If you can find coconut water, you will be able to take in the electrolytes your body needs. Sports or energy drinks are a no-no. The sugar and chemical content could only cause inflammation. If anything, bacteria are fond of attaching themselves to all types of sugar. When giving juice to children dilute it in a one to one ratio of water.
3. Drink Herbal Tea
The first impact of drinking herbal tea is that it is going to hydrate your body. When drank hot, tea stimulates sweating, which helps cool down your body temperature.
Include ingredients such as ginger, peppermint, lemon, cinnamon, thyme, Echinacea, red clover, and oregano.
4. Don’t Force Yourself to Eat
When feeling feverish, eating could be the last thing on your mind. How can you eat when you have nausea, upset stomach or no appetite? Any sickness can make eating so unappealing and keeping food in the stomach impossible.
Whether it is you or a loved one, there is no point in trying to force feed down the throat.
To maintain strength and nourish your body, try some bone broth or chicken soup. If anything, chicken soup has proven medicinal benefits including the ability to slow down the movement of the white blood cells.
This action is thought to work very well when it comes to alleviating symptoms of upper respiratory ailments. Once these diseases are taken care of, the fever will be a thing of the past.
Avoid foods that contain high amounts of sugar or those which are highly refined.
5. Cool Yourself Down
One of the natural ways to get rid of a fever is taking a sponge bath or a warm bath. This is the best way to break an illness that seems too high to handle.
To avoid shivering, replace cold water with lukewarm water when dealing with an overly high fever. But hot water is a no-no, given that it can cause an unwanted rise in temperature.
If you have sore muscles, add to the bath some lavender or peppermint essential oils. These together with Epsom relieve your muscles of those aches.
Alternatively, take a sponge or cloth and soak it in cold water. After wringing out the water, place the sponge or towel on your forehead to make a cold compress.
Replace it after every 20 minutes until the fever begins to subside. You may also want to spray flashes of water every 30 minutes until you cool down. Use a spray bottle. The areas to target include the upper chest, neck, and face.
6. Sit or Lay Close To a Fan
If you are feeling sweaty, you need a lot of air to circulate you to make the evaporation process more effective.
The more the sweat evaporates, the colder you will start to feel. As the air surrounding your skin moves, evaporation of perspiration increases and the surface blood vessels and skin get cooled down. Sitting close to fan helps to speed up the process.
When at rest, relax and sleep close to a working fan to reduce the fever. Expose as much of your skin to the blowing air for better results.
What you should avoid is staying too close to the fan or turn it up so high. This will only cause chills. Remember, shivering causes goosebumps, which only results in higher core temperature levels.
In a hot and humid house, use the air conditioning to cool down. But you can avoid staying in a room that’s too cool by using a mechanical fan.
7. Wearing Hot Socks
This is the best way to break a fever for adults while in bed. It all takes wearing a pair of wet, cold socks to bed. Apart from boosting the immune function, the coldness stimulates proper blood circulation.
While this may not directly break the fever, it targets the other symptoms to deal with the temperature effectively.
This method deals with coughing, headache, congestion, sore throat, inflammation, and infection. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them in a basin of cold of water. Wear the socks to bed and insulate them with a couple of dry wool socks.
8. Know When to Call a Doctor
Most fevers never pose a real threat to life and can be managed naturally. But to avoid complications like febrile seizures, brain damage, and comma it is necessary to call a doctor.
The following are some of the signs that you need the services of a physician:
· The fever rises way above 105° F
· The illness persists for more than three days or defies all types of home treatments
· One of the accompanying symptoms is a rash
· Accompanying the fever is swelling or intense pain in several areas of the body, which could suggest an infection
Fever is not handled correctly could necessitate emergency care, especially among babies and infants.
Don’t overstay at home with someone who could develop complications due to temperature. There is the need for emergency care for fever if any of the following happens:
· A child who had never developed seizures starts doing it for the first time. Seizures that take 5 minutes or longer could also be a warning sign
· You or the child have weakened immunity
· The fever comes together with the loss of consciousness, shortness of breath or confusion
· The temperature reaches with a festering wound or rapidly growing rash, which all imply a severe infection to the tissues
· The fever seems to be causing dehydration with signs such as urinating less than three times a day or very dark urine
· Your under-3-months-old baby has a fever
Depending on the underlying infection, the doctor will give you the right medication. If it is a bacterial infection, you may be forced to take antibiotics.
This will eliminate the disease and root out the fever from deep down.
9. Take Anti-Fever Medication
The best way to break a fever is taking medication such as Tylenol (acetaminophen). This isn’t just another painkiller, but it helps lower body temperature by targeting the hypothalamus.
It is useful, only because it focuses the brain to help reduce your body’s heat. This is the best medication for infants and babies with high fevers.
But adults and teenagers can also use it. The most important consideration when it comes to dosage is the individual’s body weight. Acetaminophen shouldn’t be taken together with alcohol.
Ibuprofen is the other great medication and has been shown to be more effective than acetaminophen when it comes to reducing fever among 2 to 12 years old children.
When given to children younger than two years, it could cause serious side-effects. As an anti-inflammatory medicine, ibuprofen helps reduce joint and muscle aches.
In adults, aspirin can help treat extremely high fevers. It is also an effective anti-inflammatory, although more toxic than ibuprofen and acetaminophen, especially in children.
Aspirin is, therefore, not a proper treatment for fever in children and adolescents with viral infections such as flu or chicken pox.
It can cause Reye’s syndrome, which manifests itself regarding confusion, vomiting, brain damage, and liver failure. Aspirin may also cause stomach ulcers, due to its corrosive effects on the gastric walls.
The Bottom Line
You do not have to be overly concerned about a fever. Once you know the best way to break a fever, dealing with it should be very easy. You should know how to handle it in adults, adolescents, and children.
As soon as you notice a fever, know how to handle it from the individual’s age. Stay hydrated and keep fresh. If any of these measures fail to work, the only recourse you have is to see a doctor.
In case you have no idea how to deal with the fever, merely call a doctor. Who knows? There could be an underlying issue which must be addressed before the temperature can be rooted out.
Don’t keep a child at home who has seizures due to an illness. Such an individual may even require emergency admission at a health facility where they will receive the appropriate treatment.