Fever by itself is not a disease, but it is typically a symptom signifying an illness or a condition often related with an infection. Fever is mostly accompanied by physical discomfort, fatigue, and body ache. The patient starts feeling better as the fever subsides. Medical treatment may or may not be required to treat the fever, depending on several factors such as the patient’s health status, age, and the underlying cause of fever.
Mild fever is generally not considered as a serious health concern, but a condition of hyperthermia may result in rise in body temperatures to dangerous levels. Extreme temperatures may be associated with heat injury such as a heat stroke or adverse effects of a drug. The body fails to regulate its temperature in the condition of hyperthermia.
Fever in Children
Fever is a common condition among children because they are more susceptible to infections compared to adults. If the fever in a child is accompanied by additional symptoms such as loss of appetite, increased fussiness, lethargy, ear ache, cough, sore throat or diarrhea, it is recommended to consult a physician at the earliest.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that if the rectal temperature of an infant younger than four months is 100.4˚ F or higher, you should urgently consult a physician or go to an emergency room. Such fever could be an indication of a life threatening infection. If any child has a fever higher than 104˚, it is advisable to consult a doctor or visit an emergency room immediately. High fever may lead to seizures in young children.
The doctor should be called immediately if the child has a fever accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
Appears very ill
Is extremely fussy
Is becoming drowsy
Suffers from a seizure
Shows other symptoms such as sore throat, rash, stiff neck, headache or ear ache
Has a history of medical problems or a weak immune system
Depending on the underlying cause of the fever, the treatment can be determined. If the fever has been caused due to a bacterial infection such as a strep throat, the doctor will recommend antibiotics. As the infection reduces, the fever will subside automatically. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDs such as Motrin or Advil are commonly recommended to provide relief from mild fever.