Thursday, September 28, 2023

How to reduce fever and when to see a doctor?

Fever is the inseparable companion of all types of infections with viruses or bacteria, or any poisoning. We know the picture well, we have experienced it more than once: the body temperature rises; We feel cold, sweaty, weak, tired, drowsy, loss of appetite and general weakness.

It becomes more common in times like this, when the rainy season increases the circulation of the respiratory virus.

What can we do to lower it? Is it the same for children or adults? When is the right time to find a doctor and when is it better to look for an emergency service? At Siéntase Pura Vida we reviewed this information using documents from the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Mayo Clinic and with the help of general practitioner Emmanuel Morales Delgado and pediatrician Marilys González Anglada.

What is a fever?

First we need to understand what this condition is, because fever is not a disease in itself, but a symptom, a manifestation that something is happening in our body.

“Fever is an increase in temperature above normal,” González summarized.

What controls how much is normal and what is not? In our brain we have an area called the hypothalamus, which regulates, among other things, our temperature.

The hypothalamus indicates that the body temperature under normal conditions should be about 37 °C, but there are parameters that are considered normal between 36.5 °C and 37.5 °C.

“Around this temperature is where the cells feel comfortable and the biochemical and physiological functions are carried out,” said Morales.

According to González, it is normal to have differences during the day of up to half a degree, especially if we exercise throughout the day. It is normal that if we take the temperature, it will be higher, but it will not exceed 37.8 °C.

The same thing happens if we are very sheltered or have very hot clothes, so it is necessary that, before taking the temperature, we remove the warm clothes, undress, wait a few minutes, and take the temperature.

“When you overdress, it’s normal to have a fever, and when you undress, you don’t have a fever,” González said.

According to the CDC, if we are not under this level of physical activity, we can describe a low-grade fever when the temperature is between 37 ° C and 38 ° C; Since then it has been feverish.

However, there are changes with age. According to González, the fever itself can be measured in children from 37.8 °C. In the case of adults, Morales commented that 37.5 °C is still considered a normal temperature and between 37.5 °C and 38 °C is a low-grade fever.

“Usually what happens is that our body is confronted with an infectious agent, like a virus or bacteria, and then our defense cells give a warning signal. They produce substances called prostaglandin which is responsible for telling the hypothalamus to raise the temperature,” explained González.

Defenses work

Is fever a defense mechanism? González indicated that in some studies it was found that the increase in temperature makes certain defense processes work better, but the exact mechanism why this is done is not yet known in Medicine.

Morales explained that there are bacteria and viruses that are thermosensitive, that is, they are sensitive to temperature. Therefore, when the body raises its temperature, it is a form of defense to kill bacteria and viruses that are sensitive to the changes made by the body.

“We should not be afraid of a rise in temperature, in most cases it is not good and self-limiting, the body regulates it by itself,” emphasized the pediatrician.

Morales also emphasized that fever is a mechanism regulated by the body, “one no longer has a temperature of 50 °C, the body has a way of regulating it up to a limit and the cells stop working . It’s a matter of self-control.”

What do’s and don’ts)?

Reducing or calming the fever is a good idea. The immune system uses many weapons to continue to defend itself, so it is not necessary to maintain a high temperature.

“We don’t always need a whole army of defenses to stop viruses or bacteria. Most are easily removed. Fever is just one weapon, but it’s not the main one, the main weapon is the defense cells, which they seek to eliminate. Fever is an ally, but the immune system can resist without it,” said Morales.

“As a doctor, you don’t leave the patient with a fever, you lower it, because we want the patient to feel better,” he added.

This is the advice of specialists.

  • Maintain good hydration.
  • Stay in light clothing.
  • Place wet cloths with cool (not cold) water on the forehead or skin.
  • Place in a ventilated place.
  • Bathe with warm (not hot) water.
  • If we use medicines, it can be after a call to the doctor or pediatrician, or over-the-counter medicines such as anti-flu medicines (in case of flu).

However, there are other things that we should not do.

  • Attempting to lower the temperature by force, ice baths and ice baths are counterproductive.
  • Self-medication, you can take some over-the-counter medicines, but avoid antibiotics.
  • Trying to keep doing our normal life, like working or studying, can prevent us from progressing faster.
  • In the case of children, force them to eat.

When to ask for help?

In most cases, fever is temporary and responds quickly to the infections we have. However, there are some warning signs to seek a doctor and even go directly to an emergency room.

It is also important that you keep a list of other symptoms that accompany the fever: diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing,

These are the recommendations for children:

  • If it lasts more than three days, it is good to go to the pediatrician’s office. If it lasts more than two weeks, tests should be performed to determine the source.
  • If there is a change in the state of consciousness.
  • If it is a baby less than three months old.
  • If the child has too much sleep.
  • If seizures occur.

“There are diseases, such as tuberculosis or malaria, that are rare and cause fevers that usually cannot be explained by anything. But there are other things, such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis or certain types of cancer, that are best ruled out. It is also possible that the medicine is the cause of the fever,” said the pediatrician.

In the case of adults, Morales recommends seeking medical advice as soon as the fever starts. Because, for example, it is normal in our impulse to think that we have a virus and that “it will go away on its own,” but there are also bacterial infections that require an antibiotic prescription.

“Or we can also have a virus and we start taking antibiotics, and there we can’t do anything, an antibiotic can’t do anything to the virus,” he said.

These are the recommendations for adults:

  • If you have a fever for more than five days.
  • If an adult has a seizure, they should go to the emergency room.
  • Cognitive impairment or display incoherence
  • Vomiting without nausea.
  • Night sweats.
  • Losing weight in a short time.

In most cases, the fever will disappear by itself and the memory of some uncomfortable hours or days will remain, but it is good to know that we can lower it and know the possible warning signs. . Feel Pura Vida and know how to act when faced with fever.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news