Fever is a common condition that can arise due to various factors such as an infection, inflammation, or injury. It is an evolutionarily conserved response by the body to a stressor, which activates the immune system and promotes the healing process. However, fever can also be a sign of a serious underlying condition and requires medical attention. In this article, we will discuss the common symptoms associated with a fever and how to identify them.
What is fever?
Fever is a rise in body temperature above the normal range. In humans, the normal body temperature ranges between 36.5°C (97.7°F) and 37.5°C (99.5 °F). Fever is defined as a body temperature greater than 38°C (100.4°F). It is a common condition and affects people of all ages.
Common symptoms of fever
Fever is a symptom of an underlying condition and is often accompanied by other symptoms. The common symptoms associated with fever are:
1. High body temperature
The most common symptom of fever is a high body temperature. The body temperature can rise rapidly and may exceed 40°C (104°F) in some cases.
When the body temperature rises, the muscles start to contract involuntarily, causing shivering. Shivering is the body’s way of generating extra heat to raise the body temperature.
When the body temperature rises, the sweat glands secrete sweat to cool the body down. Sweating is a common symptom of fever.
Headache is a common symptom associated with fever. The rise in body temperature can cause headaches, which can range from mild to severe.
5. Muscle aches
Fever can cause muscle aches and fatigue. The muscles may feel sore and tender to the touch.
Fever can cause fatigue, which is a feeling of exhaustion or weakness. The body is expending energy to fight the underlying condition, which can lead to fatigue.
7. Loss of appetite
Fever can cause a loss of appetite. The body may divert energy towards fighting the underlying condition, causing a reduced desire to eat.
Fever can cause irritability, which is a feeling of restlessness or agitation. This may be due to the discomfort caused by the fever.
Fever can cause dehydration, which is a condition where the body loses more fluids than it takes in. This can lead to dry mouth, thirst, and dark urine.
10. Rapid heartbeat
Fever can cause an increase in heart rate. The heart beats faster to circulate more blood to the body, which helps to regulate the body temperature.
Causes of fever
Fever can be caused by various factors, including:
Infections such as viral, bacterial, and fungal infections can cause a fever. The fever is the body’s way of fighting the infection.
2. Inflammatory conditions
Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus can cause a fever. Inflammation is a natural response by the body to injury or infection, and can cause a fever.
Some medications such as antibiotics and antihistamines can cause a fever as a side effect.
4. Heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a condition where the body overheats due to exposure to high temperatures. This can cause a fever.
Cancer can cause a fever, especially if it has spread to other parts of the body.
Diagnosing a fever
A fever can be diagnosed by taking a body temperature reading. The most accurate way to take a temperature is by using a digital thermometer. The thermometer should be placed under the tongue, in the ear, or in the rectum for accurate readings.
When to seek medical attention
Most fevers are harmless and go away within a few days. However, in some cases, a fever can indicate a serious underlying condition and requires medical attention. You should seek medical attention if you:
1. Have a high fever
A high fever can be a sign of a serious underlying condition and requires medical attention.
2. Have a fever that lasts more than three days
If your fever lasts more than three days, you should seek medical attention. This could be a sign of an infection or other underlying condition.
3. Experience severe symptoms
If you experience severe symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, or confusion, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Home remedies for fever
You can try some home remedies to help reduce the symptoms associated with fever. These remedies include:
Rest is important for recovery from a fever. It helps the body divert energy towards fighting the underlying condition.
2. Drink fluids
Drinking fluids can help prevent dehydration. Water, juice, and broth are good options.
3. Take fever-reducing medications
You can take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to reduce fever and alleviate other symptoms.
1. Can stress cause a fever?
Yes, stress can cause a fever. Stress activates the immune system, which can cause a fever.
2. How long does a fever last?
Most fevers last a few days and go away on their own. However, some fevers can last longer and require medical attention.
3. Can a fever cause brain damage?
A fever usually does not cause brain damage. However, in rare cases, a high fever can lead to seizures, which can cause brain damage.
4. Should I take a shower if I have a fever?
Yes, taking a cool shower can help reduce a fever. However, you should avoid taking a hot shower as it can raise your body temperature.
5. Can a fever indicate COVID-19?
Yes, a fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. If you have a fever, you should get tested for COVID-19.
Fever is a common condition that can arise due to various factors such as an infection or inflammation. It is characterized by a rise in body temperature above the normal range and is often accompanied by other symptoms. Most fevers are harmless and go away within a few days. However, if you experience severe symptoms or have a high fever that lasts more than three days, you should seek medical attention. You can try some home remedies to help reduce the symptoms associated with fever.