Fever is a condition that affects both children and adults. This involves an increase in the body temperature higher than 100.4 degrees F. It is considered as a response of the body to an underlying health condition, usually bacterial or viral infections. Managing the underlying condition can put an end to the fever.
Common causes of fever in adults
- There is a viral or bacterial infection.
- Inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.
- Severe withdrawal from prohibited drugs or alcohol.
In some cases, fever has no known cause which is called as a fever of unknown origin. This occurs once the fever is higher than 100.9 degrees F for 3 weeks or more.
What are the indications?
- Chills and shivering
- Muscle stiffness
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Fever that comes and goes
- Fever that is high in the morning
Diagnosing fever in adults
In most cases, the doctor will ask when the fever started and how high the reading was. The doctor will also ask about other symptoms and assess for any signs of infection. During the physical examination, the doctor will feel the neck for any lumps and listen to the heart and lungs. If the individual has any recent infection or surgery, it should be reported to the doctor as well as any medical conditions such as diabetes. In addition, list down any medications taken and the immunization records.
Medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are commonly used to reduce the fever. These are readily available over-the-counter. Just remember though that these medications can lead to stomach bleeding if not taken properly. As for ibuprofen, it can cause kidney damage. Due to this, those who have kidney disease, allergies to aspirin or ulcers should not use ibuprofen. In addition, acetaminophen can also cause liver damage.
Antibiotics can be taken if the individual ends up with an infection due to bacteria. These medications work by eliminating the bacteria. Make sure that the prescribed dosage is completed even if the individual feels better already.
Aside from the medications that can be given to manage the fever, there are also measures that must be considered to manage the symptoms. Initially, the individual should take a bath in lukewarm or cool water. You can utilize an ice pack that is wrapped in a small towel or a washcloth moistened with cool water. Apply the ice pack or damp washcloth on the forehead or the back part of the neck.
When to seek care
A doctor should be consulted if the individual experiences the following:
- The individual has a bloated sensation or abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- There is pain or burning sensation during urination or there is pain in the back
When is immediate care required?
You have to call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department if the following are present:
- Fever persists or continues to worsen after treatment
- Stiff neck and a troublesome headache
- Confusion in which the individual could not clearly think or remember things normally done
- Heart starts beating faster than normal even after treatment
- Shortness of breath or chest pain while breathing.
- Limited urine production or none at all
- The skin, lips or nails are bluish in color