What is a Fever?
A fever is an elevated body temperature of 38C or above in children and 37.5C or above in adults. Generally, it indicates an infection and is not a cause for alarm. However, the severe fever could indicate more serious underlying conditions that require urgent medical attention.
If you are experiencing a fever, it is likely due to an underlying cause. A temperature reading with a thermometer, easily obtained from a local store or pharmacy, can determine if a fever exists. In most cases, the fever symptoms will subside in a few days once the underlying issue is treated.
Signs and Symptoms of a Fever in adults
There are several potential causes of elevated body temperature in adults, including:
- Infections, such as a cold or flu
- Some inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease (IBD)
- Food poisoning
- Extreme sunburn
- Hormone disorders
- Autoimmune disorders
- Blood clots
- A side effect of a medication or illegal drugs
Fever in children
If your child or baby is displaying a fever, other symptoms besides the high temperature can be present. These include:
- A rash
- Lack of appetite
- Feel sweaty, clammy or hot to the touch
- Looking or feeling unwell
- A cough or sore throat
If your child has a fever along with any of the following symptoms, you must seek urgent medical attention:
- Crying non-stop
- Feels cool on the hands and feet
- If they are younger than three months old and have a temperature higher than 38C,
- Is vomiting
- If they are between 3 and 6 months old and have a temperature higher than 39C
- Has swollen limbs
- Wheezy or more rapid than average breathing
- Is showing signs of dehydration
If your child has a fever, as well as any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency medical care:
- Is struggling with their breathing, and you can see the skin sucking in beneath or between their ribs
- Has pale, mottled skin
- Is unresponsive or drowsy
- Is having seizures or fits
- The soft spot on the top of their head is bulging
- Has a rash that does not disappear with a glass rolled over it - this might be a sign of meningitis and needs urgent attention.
- Has a pitched cry very different to their usual cry
- Does not like bright lights
- Having a stiffed neck
- Are drowsy, or you are unable to wake them up.
In children, a fever may be a result of:
- Kidney infection or UTI
- Recent vaccinations
- A cold, flu or other RTI
- Chickenpox or another common childhood illness
- Ear infection
What should you do if you have a Fever?
Treating a fever is not usually necessary; however, if it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is crucial to treat the underlying issue. In most cases, a fever will pass in a few days, but it is important to seek medical advice if it does not.
They must be provided with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, particularly for ill children or babies. Additionally, other methods may be employed, such as:
- Cooling the forehead by using a damp cloth
- Wear light clothing, avoiding excess layers
- Utilize a fan to circulate air
When your child has a fever, ensure they are clothed appropriately to avoid becoming too hot or cold.
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Professionals can provide advice and guidance to your child.
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