Fever – a hot topic

If you’re feeling a bit hot, it must be a fever, right Full Instagram? Not necessarily. There’s a difference between feeling hot, and having a raised core, or body temperature. Listen up as we discuss this hot topic.

So, what is a fever, exactly?

Fever is a medical term that is used to describe a high body temperature – certain viruses and infections such as flu are accompanied by a fever.

A normal body temperature is about 37 degrees Celsius, but can be a bit lower or higher – not everyone will have the exact same standard body temperature.

There are 2 different types of fever known as: low-grade and high-grade fever. If your temperature is above normal, but below 38 degrees Celsius, you don’t generally need treatment. If, however, the temperature reading is higher than 38, you are ill and need to be treated.

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between feeling hot and having a high body temperature. Think about it: if you’ve been tanning by the swimming pool your skin is going to feel hot, but if you took your body temperature, you would see that it would be in the normal range.

What does it mean if I have a fever?

Viruses and infections can only survive at certain temperatures and so your body temperature is raised to help fight the illness – think of it as a soldier at the frontline attacking the enemy.

This is your body’s first line of defence. Your body temperature helps your doctor with the diagnosis and once he knows, you’ll be given medication to sort out the problem.

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Does a fever have any specific symptoms?

Yes, there are symptoms that you will experience if you have a fever and they include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle stiffness
  • General discomfort
  • A sore throat or ear-ache

What are the treatment options?

Treatment for fever is aimed at two things: the cause of the fever, as well as the fever itself. The type of treatment depends on whether you have a virus or bacterial infection: for viral infections, we usually only want to help your body recover, by supporting your immune system and treating your symptoms. With bacterial infection, a doctor could prescirbe an antibiotic.

To treat the fever itself, we usually use non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs): it helps your body temperature to cool down, because having a high temperature for too long can also cause damage to your body.

(An antibiotic can upset the natural processes of your intestines, ask your doctor if you could also have a probiotic which will help keep this in check.)

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Sources: Symptom Checker WebMD, Medicine Net, WebMD, eMedicine Health