A fever is not a disease in itself, but is a symptom of various possible infections. The term is used to refer to the rise in body temperature, which generally occurs when your immune system is fighting to overcome or prevent and infection. In babies and young children, even a slight rise in temperature may be a cause for concern. In adults, a fever may be considered serious when it rises to 103 F or above. However in many cases, even minor conditions can cause a high fever, while serious ailments can result in a low grade fever. A fever usually subsides in a few days and there are many over-the-counter medications that can help to treat one. Mild fevers may also be left untreated. If a fever is accompanied by other signs and symptoms that you are unfamiliar with however, it would be best to seek prompt medical attention.
Symptoms of Common Fever
A fever develops when your body temperature crosses its normal range. The average normal temperature is considered to be 98.6 F. A temperature that is slightly lower or higher than this is also considered to be normal. The symptoms of a fever will depend on the underlying condition that is causing it. But there are some general signs that are usually indicative of a fever. These may include:
- Body ache
- Appetite loss
In most cases, fevers are not life threatening. If a fever rises rapidly and the patients temperature rises too high however, serious complications could develop. A high fever may result in the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling or redness in a body area
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the throat
- Skin rash
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Breathing difficulties
- Pain during urination
There are some symptoms of a fever in babies and young children which require immediate medical attention. These include:
- Body temperature of 101 F or above
- Refusal to eat or drink
- Lethargy and unresponsiveness
- Newborn babies may experience a drop in temperature when there is a fever since their bodies are unable to regulate temperature properly
- Fever that persists for more than a day
Causes of Common Fever
There are various factors that can affect your body temperature. Normally, body temperature tends to be lower in the mornings and higher in the evenings. Hormonal changes that occur during ovulation or menstruation and also activities such as vigorous exercise can cause your body temperature to fluctuate. Some of the common causes of a fever include:
- Viral infection
- Bacterial infection
- Intake of certain medications such as those which are used to treat hypertension
- Heat exhaustion
A high fever can arise due to infectious or non-infectious causes. Infections that can cause a high fever include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Respiratory tract infection
Non-infectious conditions that can trigger a high fever include:
- Reactions to certain drugs
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohns disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Remedies for Common Fever
When afflicted with a mild fever that doesnt threaten to escalate, its best not to try and lower body temperature. Controlling a fever simply restricts the symptoms, but does not address the underlying cause. This can also have serious consequences, as in some situations the patients condition may be deteriorating, but this would not be apparent as the fever has been suppressed. There is also an opinion that reducing a fever hampers the natural immune response of the body. The body attempts to get rid of viruses through a low grade fever. There are many home remedies for fever that may provide comfort from the symptoms. These include:
Intake of Fluids: Dehydration occurs during a fever and hence it is important to consume lots of water, fresh juices and other fluids. Children below the age of 1 may be given oral rehydration solutions that help to regulate fluid levels in the body.
Adequate Rest: The body needs rest in order to recover from a fever. Any physical activity can actually cause your body temperature to rise even more.
Have Lukewarm Bath: Soaking in lukewarm water for about ten minutes helps to cool the body. You can also have a sponge bath. If there is shivering, dry off quickly because it can increase body temperature.
Basil Leaves: Boil some basil leaves in water and drink after straining. This helps to alleviate common fever and may be consumed once daily.
Saffron: Add about half a teaspoon of saffron to boiling water. Allow it to steep for some time and then strain. Drink a teaspoon of the solution every hour.
Garlic: An effective natural medicine for cold and fever is garlic. You can add it to soups or broths or even eat it raw.
Eucalyptus: Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to boiling water and inhale the steam rising from it. This is an effective remedy for relieving common cold and fever.
Turmeric: To relieve infections and inflammation; add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to grated ginger, onion and lemon grass. Add some basil leaves and black pepper to the mixture and consume thrice daily.
Raisins: Soak some raisins in water, crush and then strain the solution. Add some lime juice and consume this at least twice a day.
Elderberry: The herb elderberry is known to be a good remedy for viral fevers and colds. It contains compounds known as anthocyanins that help to boost immunity. Elderberry is available in the form of syrups, capsules and juice.
Grapefruit: The juice of grapefruit helps in bringing down a common fever. Dilute the juice with an equal amount of water and drink once every day.
Honey: Add one tablespoon of honey to some ginger or lime juice and consume daily. This helps to treat common fever.
Ginger: This is an old folk remedy for common colds and fever. Ginger helps to alleviate infections of the respiratory tract and also eases body aches and pains. Drink a cup of hot ginger tea for relief from a sore throat and other symptoms of common fever.
Zinc: This is an important mineral that is known to reduce symptoms of the cold and flu. The mineral is found in foods such as eggs, meat and liver. You can also find zinc lozenges in many health stores.
Oregano and Marjoram: Add the herbs to hot water and allow it to steep for half an hour. Drink the solution when it is still slightly warm. This will help to lower your body temperature.
Lemon Juice: Squeeze a lemon in warm water and drink after every couple of hours. This will help to strengthen your immune system.
Diet for Common Fever
A healthy diet helps to prevent illness and fevers. There are also certain dietary measures that can help hasten the recovery process:
- Eat soft, easy to digest foods. This will enable your body to focus on healing and recovery.
- Porridge, yogurt, soups, broths and steamed vegetables are nutritious, mild foods that are beneficial during a fever.
- One of the best meals to eat during a fever is rice porridge made with chicken or vegetable broth and ginger. This helps to relieve inflammation and also strengthens the body.
- It is important to drink plenty of water and other fluids in order to prevent dehydration.
- Avoid spicy or oily foods that are difficult to digest and do not have any nutritional value. Foods to be avoided also include sugary products, sodas and refined foods. Also restrict your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
- Foods that contain flavonoids such as oranges, lemons and limes are beneficial in enhancing the immune response.
- Chicken soup is a popular remedy for colds and flu. It helps to ease congestion and provides some much needed relief. Chicken contains protein which helps in repair of the body tissues.
Suggestion for Common Fever
Since fevers commonly occur due to infections, one of the best ways to protect yourself would be by practicing good hygiene. While children in particular needed to be reminded about personal hygiene, its important for adults alike. Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling food, and whenever you get home from work or the outdoors. It is also a good idea to carry hand sanitizer with you when you travel. Another important habit that must be encouraged in children is to cover the nose and mouth whole sneezing or coughing. This will prevent the spread of infections.
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