Fever: First Aid Management
Fever is the impermanent elevation in the body’s temperature, as a response to an illness or disease. These are temperatures greater than 37.2-37.5°C (99-99.5°F), which can vary depending on the time of the day. The average body temperature is 98.6 °F (37 °C). The normal temperature of the body may vary slightly during any given day, but is usually highest at night. Other factors may also the body temperature including: physical activity, wearing heavy clothing, high room temperature, high humidity and women’s menstrual cycle, as these may all lead to a rise in body temperature.
Increase in body temperature does not cause damage to the brain unless it manifests in very high temperatures, particularly at over 107.6 °F (42 °C). Body temperature is regulated by the brain, specifically the hypothalamus.
Fever is medically called pyrexia.
How to Check for Fever
There are several ways to check for fever using a thermometer: rectal, ear, oral, and axilla. The rectal temperature gives off the most accurate reading. It is generally recommended to use digital thermometers as opposed to mercury thermometers because the latter may lead to mercury exposure.
- Rectal or Ear
- Normal temperature: 37.6°C (99.6°F)
- Fever temperature: 38°C (100.4°F)
- Normal temperature: 36.8°C (98.2°F)
- Fever temperature: 37.5°C (99.5°F)
- Axilla (underarm)
- Normal temperature: 36.4°C (97.6°F)
- Fever temperature: 37.2°C (99.0°F)
Causes of Fever
Almost all disease, illnesses and infections can lead to fever. This is because fever acts as a defense mechanism against these disease causing agents. The body increases in temperature to kill the invading bacteria or virus.
- Skin infections or cellulitis, bone infections, appendicitis, meningitis
- Respiratory infections, such as flu-like illnesses or colds, ear infections, sinus infections, sore throats, bronchitis, tuberculosis and bronchitis
- Urinary tract infection
- Gastroenteritis, both viral and bacterial in nature
- Autoimmune or inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and even some forms of cancer (e.g. leukemia, Hodgkin disease and non-Hodgkin lymphoma)
- Post-immunization, especially in children
- Teething in infants Associated Symptoms of Fever
First Aid Management for Fever
A fever can be effectively treated at home with appropriate first aid and if the underlying cause is not serious. If fever persists for three days or fluctuates, it is best to seek medical advice. Learn how to manage fever by taking First Aid Courses. When a child or an adult is experiencing fever, consider the following:
- Treating individuals with fevers below 38.9°C (102°F) may not require medications. But for individuals with temperatures exceeding the said temperature, over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, may be taken.
- Bathe in warm water. If this is not possible, sponge baths may help decrease the body temperature. This is most effective after taking medications. Ice baths or alcohol rubs may worsen the situation.
- Place ice packs on the forehead to aid in lowering the body temperature.
- Drink plenty of clear fluids, particularly water, fruit juices and sports drinks to help avoid dehydration.
- Do not cover the body in excessive clothing and or blankets. Wear light clothing and use only lightweight blankets. The room should not be too cold nor too hot
- Note the body temperature every two hours.
Fever is the transient increase in the body’s temperature, typically at temperatures greater than 37.2-37.5°C (99-99.5°F). Fever occurs as a response to an illness or disease