With the current situation of the world, it is important to be aware of our health. One of the common signs of an illness is fever. Fever happens when our body temperature goes beyond its normal range due to an infection or inflammation. Our body temperature is normally around 98.6°F (37°C), but it can vary by a degree or two depending on the time of day.
What is considered a fever?
A fever is generally defined as having a body temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. It is usually a sign that your body is fighting an infection or inflammation. Fever can also be caused by other factors such as excessive sun exposure or dehydration.
How to check for fever?
The most common way to check for fever is by measuring your body temperature with a thermometer. There are several types of thermometers available, such as digital, ear, forehead, and oral thermometers. The most accurate way to measure body temperature is rectally, but it is often uncomfortable and inconvenient. Therefore, most people use other methods such as oral or ear thermometers.
Digital thermometers are the most common and simplest way to measure body temperature. To check for fever using a digital thermometer, follow these simple steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before handling the thermometer
- Turn on the thermometer and wait for it to beep or show a reading
- Place the thermometer tip under your tongue or in your armpit, depending on the type of thermometer you have
- Wait for the thermometer to beep or show a reading. This usually takes around 60 seconds.
- Read the temperature on the display
Ear thermometers are another way to check for fever. They are more expensive than digital thermometers but are easier to use. To check for fever using an ear thermometer, follow these steps:
- Clean the ear thermometer with a clean cloth or alcohol swab
- Remove the protective cap from the tip of the thermometer and turn it on
- Pull your ear up and back to straighten your ear canal
- Insert the thermometer gently into your ear canal until the tip is seated properly
- Press the button on the thermometer to take the temperature
- Read the temperature on the display
Forehead thermometers are also known as temporal artery thermometers. They are especially useful for infants and young children who may not stay still for an ear or oral temperature measurement. To check for fever using a forehead thermometer, follow these steps:
- Remove any dirt and sweat from the forehead
- Place the thermometer on the center of the forehead, between the eyebrows
- Press the button on the thermometer and hold it steady while you slide the thermometer across the forehead to the hairline
- Release the button and read the temperature on the display
What to do if you have a fever?
If you have a fever, it is important to take care of yourself and rest. You can also take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the fever and relieve any discomfort. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids such as water, tea, or electrolyte drinks.
If your fever does not subside after a few days of home treatment, or if you have other symptoms such as severe headache, stiff neck, or difficulty breathing, you should consult a doctor.
Q. Can a low-grade fever be dangerous?
A. Low-grade fever is generally not dangerous and can be a sign of a mild infection or inflammation.
Q. Can I use the same thermometer for everyone in my family?
A. It is better to use separate thermometers for each person to avoid the risk of spreading infection.
Q. Is it necessary to take medication for a fever?
A. It is not always necessary to take medication for a fever. However, if the fever is causing discomfort, the doctor may recommend taking an over-the-counter medication.
Q. Can I use a mercury thermometer to check for fever?
A. It is not recommended to use a mercury thermometer as it can break and release toxic mercury fumes. There are safer alternatives such as digital or ear thermometers.
Q. What kind of complications can occur due to high fever?
A. High fever can lead to dehydration, confusion, seizures, and other serious complications. It is important to seek medical attention if the fever is persistently high.
Checking for fever is a simple and effective way to monitor your health. By following the above steps, you can accurately measure your body temperature and take the necessary steps to take care of yourself in case of fever. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Take preventive measures such as social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands frequently to protect yourself from infections and illnesses.