Did you know that a normal body temperature of 97.7 to 99.5 °F (36.5 to 37.5 °C) is essential to keeping your organs performing at their best? If your body feels hotter than usual, it might indicate an elevated body temperature, otherwise known as a fever, wherein your temperature goes beyond 100 °F (37.8 °C). If your fever ever reaches a temperature of 100.5 °F (38 °C) and higher, you may feel a significant decline in your body functions.
A fever is not an illness in itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying disease or health condition. Your body temperature increases when your immune system is trying to fend off disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. The phenomenon is actually a normal and effective part of your body’s inflammatory process.
Causes of a Fever
Bacterial or viral infection.
Common diseases such as flu, chicken pox, and tonsillitis trigger your immune system to generate antibodies to fight the infection. The increase in body heat helps in limiting the replication of temperature-sensitive bacteria and viruses.
Exposure to extreme heat.
Your body temperature rises if you expose yourself to a hot environment, such as when doing prolonged exercises under the heat of the sun.
Taking certain medications.
You can develop a fever when you are taking certain medications such as stool softeners, diuretics, narcotics, and antiepileptics. Taking these medications is a common cause of fever of unknown origin (FUO). The fever usually subsides once the drug administration has been discontinued.
Dehydration can also cause a fever because your body can no longer release heat through sweating, urination, and respiration (evaporation).
Additional Signs and Symptoms of a Fever
- Skin is hot to touch
- Shivers and chills
- Lack of appetite
- Signs of dehydration
- General body weakness
- Profuse sweating
- Headache episodes
- Sore muscles and joints
Fever Treatment and Home Remedies
When ill, always monitor your body temperature at least once every four hours using a thermometer that yields accurate and fast results. You can also speed up your recovery time by applying the following health tips:
Increase your fluid intake.
When you have a fever, your body has an increased metabolic rate that results in sweating and tachypnea (fast respiratory rate). To prevent dehydration, drink lots of fluid from food and drink sources.
Have enough rest.
Your body is already working double time to rid yourself of infection and the process consumes a lot of energy. Physical exertion can only exacerbate your condition as your body needs enough time to heal.
Wear comfortable clothes.
Wear light clothes to keep your body cool and allow heat transfer to the environment. Avoid wearing warm clothes and using heavy bed covers.
Have a tepid sponge bath to reduce your body temperature. Using a damp towel, wipe every area of your body especially around the armpit and groin. Pat your body dry with a clean towel.
Take fever medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. These are usually over-the-counter medications that have analgesic (relieves pain) and antipyretic (reduces fever) properties. Fever medications are usually taken every 4 hours.
When to Seek Medical Care
- Infant or child with a temperature of 38 °C (100.4 °F) and above
- Persistent fever for more than 3 days
- Fever accompanied by vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Presence of unusual skin rashes
Since fever is usually caused by viral or bacterial infections, proper hygiene is a must. Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after eating as well as after using the toilet. If your fever is caused by a contagious disease, limit your contact with other people to prevent the spread of infection.
By Joe Fleming
who is the President at ViveHealth. Passionate about healthy lifestyles and living a full life, he enjoys sharing and expressing these interests through his writing. With a goal to inspire others and fight ageism, Joe writes to help people of all backgrounds and ages overcome life’s challenges. His work ranges from articles on wellness, holistic health and aging to social narratives, motivational pieces and news stories. For Joe, helping others is vital.