You feel a little warm, sweaty, and in full-on sweats with chills. Yep, you have a fever! But wait – does that mean you need to rush to the hospital? What is considered a fever anyway? How do I know how high mine should be?
First, if you have any fever symptoms, you should see your doctor. It’s better to be checked out than to rush off to the emergency room after not having a doctor’s checkup because you’re worried about getting swabbed or pricked with a needle.
In this article, however, we’ll review everything you need to know about fevers.
What Is A Fever?
A fever is a raised body temperature. To determine the difference between an average body temperature and a fever, we use the term “normal” to mean 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). If your body temperature is above that, you have a fever.
A fever is considered any temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), but you may feel sick before that. The higher the temperature, the more likely you will be uncomfortable, unable to function well, or even become delirious or confused.
If your temperature is 101 or 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 or 38.9 degrees Celsius), you may feel warm and tired and are likely to have a headache.
Fever changes how your brain works. That’s because your brain has to work harder when your body is fighting off an infection.
You may feel dizzy or nauseous with a fever if it rises quickly or goes above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius). These symptoms are called pyrexia, from the Greek root “pyro,” meaning fire.
Top 5 Causes of Fever
When it comes to fever, many possible causes range from mild to severe. Fever is a normal part of your body’s immune response, and while it can be unpleasant, it is not harmful in healthy individuals.
As long as you’re taking your temperature regularly and checking in with your doctor if it’s outside the normal range, there’s no need to worry too much about this natural process.
Viruses are the most common cause of fever. They include influenza, colds, chickenpox, and hepatitis A. Viral infections can be spread from person to person, caused by direct contact with an infected person or by touching something that has been contaminated with their saliva or mucus (for example, handshakes).
Bacteria can also cause fever when they enter your body through your mouth or nose (as in respiratory tract infections such as sinusitis), through cuts or sores on your skin (such as impetigo), or your urinary tract (as in cystitis). Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics if necessary.
Fever can be caused by drug reactions, aspirin, anticonvulsants, quinine, and some antibiotics. People with Wilson disease may have a high fever because of liver failure.
Fever can also be caused by diseases such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid production), Addison’s disease (adrenal gland failure), and Hodgkin’s disease (cancer).
Cancer cells reproduce rapidly, meaning they often produce higher amounts of internal heat than healthy cells. Because cancer grows faster than other parts of your body, fever may be one of the earliest signs of cancer (although it may also indicate another cause of fever).
The flu is a contagious respiratory infection that spreads through droplets from the nose and mouth when someone sneezes. A virus causes it. The most common symptoms include fever, body aches, chills, headache, fatigue, and sore throat.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fever?
Fever is your body’s way of fighting off an illness or infection. The body’s temperature rises to help destroy the foreign substance and fight the disease.
The following are common signs and symptoms associated with fever:
- Mild fatigue and weakness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Headache, body aches, and muscle pains.
- A slight, overall feeling of being unwell (malaise).
- Aches and pains in your muscles, joints, or abdomen (tummy).
- Being more sensitive to light than usual (photophobia).
- Feeling warmer than usual, particularly when you touch another person, and having flushed cheeks or a red face (rubor).
- A high temperature of 38c (100.4f) or above that lasts more than 24 hours –is known as a sustained fever.
How Do You Know If Your Child Has A Fever?
Children and adults show fevers differently, which is why it’s essential to know the signs of a fever in children. But how do you know if your child has a fever?
Increase Body Temperature
A fever can be mild, moderate, or high. A fever is benign if it’s between 100.4 and 102.2 degrees F (38 and 39 degrees C). A moderate fever is between 102.3 and 104 degrees F (39 and 40 degrees C). A high fever is 104 or higher.
Swollen or Tender Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands that are part of the body’s immune system. They are located in the neck, armpits, and groin. If your child has a fever, he may have swollen lymph nodes in the back of his neck or around his ears.
A temperature above 100 degrees can make a toddler or young child feel tired and irritable. Moreover, the child will feel warm, weak, and nauseous.
Pale or Flushed Appearance
If your child has a fever, he may look pale or flushed. This is because blood vessels near the skin surface expand when your child has a fever.
The best way to tell if your child has a fever is to use an electronic thermometer to take his temperature. Take their temperature rectally for kids under 3 years old using an electronic rectal thermometer. For kids 3 years old and older, take their temperature under the tongue using an electronic, oral thermometer.
When Should You See The Doctor?
We all know your doctor is the best place to go when you have a problem. But what if you don’t know if you’re having trouble? Or what if you don’t know who to see?
When it comes to minor illnesses and health problems, several guidelines can help you determine whether or not you should see a doctor. Here are some of those guidelines:
See your doctor as soon as possible:
The first and most important thing to remember when it comes to doctors is that you should never wait until your symptoms get worse or you have a fever. This can lead to severe problems and even death. The best way to avoid these issues is to see the doctor as soon as possible.
If your symptoms last more than two weeks:
You should visit your doctor if the symptoms last longer than two weeks. This includes things like a cough that won’t go away or an abscess (a collection of pus) in your body that won’t heal.
If you have these symptoms, getting them checked out as soon as possible is essential so that they don’t become worse or lead to other severe medical conditions.
If you’re worried about something being wrong with your health:
If you’re concerned about something wrong with your health, it can be helpful to talk with someone who knows more about it than your family doctor. A specialist may be able to give you advice on how to deal with whatever it is that’s bothering you.
Can Fever Be Dangerous In Children?
Yes, it can be dangerous for children to have a fever, but it is a good thing to do. It can be a regular part of growing up and should not be cause for alarm.
The body needs to be able to fight infection and build up resistance against disease. If your child has a fever or has been sick with a fever for longer than two days, it is essential to see a doctor.
Moreover, the body’s temperature depends on many factors, including where you are, who you are with, and what time of day it is.
For example, your body works hard to fight infection and build resistance to disease if you have a fever at work or school. This is why you should tell your doctor if you have a fever at work or school.
What Other Symptoms Are Important To Watch Out For?
Other heart attack symptoms include lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath, and chest pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
If you’re experiencing chest pain that lasts for more than 10 minutes and does not respond to nitroglycerin (a medication commonly used to treat heart conditions), call 911 or your local emergency number.
If you have shortness of breath when standing up or after lying down for a few minutes, but it goes away on its own within a few minutes, there’s no need to call 911 unless it happens again. But if it continues for hours or until you go to bed, you should call 911 immediately.
Visit University Urgent Care, Fort Worth, TX
You’ve almost certainly experienced a fever in your life. They’re so common and cause such a mild illness that most of us don’t even worry about them most of the time. But knowing when to see a doctor can alleviate symptoms, discover an illness early or provide quick relief. We accept both walk-ins and appointments while providing convenient, and affordable care for fever symptoms and their causes. Don’t wait! Come see us today!