Fever is such a common thing. But many times, it has been fatal. So we decided to have a better look at fever, which can be a symptom of some underlying disease. A Journalist Reveals had an exclusive chit chat with Dr. Anil Ballani, Consultant Physician at Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, Khar to find out more about it.
During fever the body temperature increases more than the normal variation. In most fevers, the body temperature increases by 1-2 degrees centigrade. Fever occurs as a bodily response to any kind of infection, as high body temperature kills the viruses and bacteria. It is body’s immune response to pyrogenic cytokines which are released by various bacteria.
All fevers are not caused by infections! Fever is a part of diseases like
A. Auto-Immune diseases.
C. Sometimes fever can be drug induced.
It’s important to realize that sometimes the very antibiotics that are being used to treat fever can give rise to fever!
Fever indicates that an inflammatory process is going on in the body.
Every fever need not be brought down drastically.
Taking Action: There are certain situations where one has to be careful and try and keep the temperature down as much:
1. In children below 5 years, where a sudden onset of high fever, it can cause convulsions.
2. Hyperpyrexia in adults where fever is more than 106.7 F or 41.5 degrees centigrade, because if left untreated it can cause brain damage or be fatal.
The best and safest drug to reduce fever is paracetamol; 500/650 mg can be used every 4 to 6 hrs.
Alternatively, NSAIDS like ibuprofen can be used under medical supervision, keeping in mind the side effects on stomach and platelets.
Controlling Fever without Medicine: There are some methods to reduce fever other than popping pills.
Other measures are:
1. To wear thin loose cotton clothes.
2. To keep the room well ventilated and cool.
Slow fan or low AC is advisable.
3. Not to use thick quilts or many blankets to cover the patient, as it raises body temperature.
4. Tepid body sponging should be done to bring down high fever with cold water or water at room temperature.
Cold ice packs can be used around the head and armpits.
Some myths explained:
There are a few myths that revolve around this:
1. Fever is harmful! Not at all.
Fever helps in eliminating the virus and bacteria faster from our body.
2. All fevers need to be treated with antibiotics!
No. In fact most of the viral fevers do not need antibiotics. They are self-limiting and resolve in 5 to 7 days.
3. They have often shown in movies, etc. that when we hold cut onions in our armpits, we get fever. Putting onions in armpits neither induces nor reduces fever.
Prevention: There is no absolute way to prevent fever.
The best way to prevent fever is to prevent infection!
1. Good hygiene practices.
2. Proper hand washing technique.
3. Using masks during epidemics.
4. Taking proper vaccines as guided by your doctor.
5. Avoid contact with people having infection/s.
6. Taking blood tests to diagnose various infections as guided by your doctor.