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  Fever

Fever is a sign and not an illness in itself. It is usually an objective sign measurable and observable by the physician which means that there is something wrong in your body, most likely an infectious process is going on. Fevers are not necessarily bad but may signify that your body particularly your immune system is fighting off either the bacteria or viruses that are trying to invade your system.

Fever
Fever


The following are the common causes why people develop fever. First, it is one way of dissipating heat from the body to help regulate body temperature. At the start of the fever and when the body tries to increase its temperature, chilly sensation along with some shivering may be felt to generate heat. This is when you prefer to be wrapping yourself with a thick blanket and turn up the heating pad. Eventually, as your body reaches its new setting point, you started feeling hot and this is when your temperature begins to normalize hence, you sweat profusely to dissipate the excess heat from the body. Secondly, fever is one way of the body’s response to a viral or bacterial infection. As discussed above, fever usually means that your body’s immune system is competently trying to fight off the invading viruses or bacteria to control the infectious process. Sometimes even certain inflammatory conditions such as temporal arteritis (inflammation of an artery in the head) may trigger fever as well. Rarely, malignant tumors (e.g. kidney cancer) may also cause fever. The last possible cause of fever is due to some side-effect of some medications (e.g. immunizations like DPT (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) and pneumococcal vaccines, antibiotics, anti-hypertensive and anti-convulsant drugs.

Depending on the cause of the fever, additional signs and symptoms may include: profuse sweating (diaphoresis), chills , headache, muscle pains, joint pains, loss of appetite, dehydration, and general weakness or body malaise Very high temperature or high grade fevers (between 103 F and 106 F) may cause sensorial changes like delirium or confusion, irritability, hallucinations and even loss of consciousness.

Medical treatment depends on the underlying cause of the fever. The physician will be most likely prescribing antibiotics for bacterial infections, such as pneumonia or strep throat caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes respectively. On the other hand for viral infections, which are usually a self limiting condition including stomach flu (acute gastroenteritis) and infectious mononucleosis, the best treatment is often bed rest and intake of plenty of fluids. Other over-the-counter medications may help to lower down the temperature and provide relief with some of the aforementioned associated symptoms along with the fever. These OTC drugs include acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and aspirin for adults. But aspitin is not given to children because of its dangerous, possibly fatal side effect known as the Reye’s syndrome.

The most common complication of a rapid rise or drop in temperature is the condition known as benign febrile seizure (BFC) which is common in a small percentage of children younger than age 5. Although parents are often alarmed with this condition, majority of febrile seizures cause no long lasting effects and disability.

Seek medical advice immediately for an unexplained fever which is greater cause for concern in infants and children than in adults. Any of the following condition necessitates consultation to a doctor especially if your infant is: younger than 2 months of age and has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher even if without any other signs or symptoms; older than 2 months of age but has a temperature of 102 F or higher and a newborn who has a lower-than-normal temperature (below 95 F) rectally, it may signify an ongoing infection.

Any changes in sensorium in infants with fever such as unexplained irritability manifested as persistent crying when you change your baby's diapers or when he or she is moved or when there’s lethargy or unresponsiveness to any stimulation are ominous signs which needs immediate medical attention. These may be signs of meningitis (inflammation or infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord) in infants and children younger than age 2 which is a medical emergency.

Seek consult to a pediatrician immediately once a child is irritable, with protracted vomiting, severe headache or abdominal pain or has any other symptoms causing significant discomfort aside from the presenting fever. For a child younger than 2 with a fever longer than one day and longer than 3 days in a child 2 years and older, consult a doctor for further investigation and proper management.

In an adult, you need medical consultation if you have the following manifestations: temperature more than 104 F; persistent fever (more than 3 days); severe headache; unusual skin rash; unusual sensitivity of eyes to bright light (photophobia); stiff neck and pain as you bend the neck forward; confusion; repeated vomiting; chest pain or dyspnea (difficulty of breathing); extreme irritability; abdominal pain or pain when urinating (dysuria) and any other unexplained symptoms.

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Fioricet tablets

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Naproxen tablets

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Ibuprofen tablets

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Percocet tablets

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Acetaminophen and butalbital pills

Acetaminophen and butalbital

Acetaminophen is an analgesic (pain reliever) and an antipyretic (fever reducer). Butalbital is in a class of drugs called barbiturates that depresses your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) causing relaxation. The combination, acetaminophen a more...

Aleve tablet

Aleve

Aleve, also called Naproxen, is a Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID), and is used to relieve some symptoms caused by arthritis. It is also used treat other conditions, such as: gout attacks; bursitis; tendonitis; sprains, strains, or other injur more...

Bextra tablets

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Bextra, sometimes called Valdecoxib, is in a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and works by reducing substances in the body that cause inflammation, pain, and fever. more...


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