An Overview of the Types, Causes, and Treatment Alternatives for a Fever

An Overview of the Types, Causes, and Treatment Alternatives for a Fever

Nov 09, 2021

Changes in your body temperature are affected by several factors, including the time of day and season of the year, physical exercise, eating, and even sleeping. The body adjusts accordingly to accommodate various body temperatures. However, it is different when your body temperature changes because of a health condition or infection. For that kind of change, it is called a fever.

What Is a Fever?

A fever is a noticeably high body temperature, usually above the normal range of 98–100°F (36–37°C). It often occurs as a symptom of an infection in your body. When the body temperature rises due to a fever, instead of feeling hot, you will feel cold. The feeling is called body chills, which occur until your fever goes down. Fortunately, a fever most commonly resolves on its own. In some cases, however, you may have to seek​ fever emergency care, especially if the body temperature has been high for several hours and is not resolving on its own.

Types of Fever

For the correct fever diagnosis and treatment, your doctor has to figure out the kind of fever you have. The five types of fevers are:

  1. Intermittent fever – it usually has a fluctuating baseline between the raised temperatures and the normal temperature.
  2. Remittent fever – it keeps changing back and forth. Even when the fever goes away, your temperatures do not necessarily go back to the normal range.
  3. Hectic fever – the temperatures keep changing throughout the day, with a big range between them, usually higher than 1.4­°C.
  4. Sustained or continuous fever – remains at the same temperature range throughout the day.
  5. Relapsing fever – the kind that goes down for a few days or weeks then rises again later.

What Causes of Fever?

Doctors in ​Houston emergency rooms can point to various causes of fevers. In all cases, a fever is your body’s way of notifying you that something is wrong. Some factors commonly linked to causing an increase in the body temperature include the following:

  1. Allergic reactions – to various things, including dust, mold, pollen, food, and other stimuli
  2. Environmental factors – usually during summer seasons, caused issues like sunburns and heat strokes.
  3. Infections – the most common types being the flu and common cold. Other infections include tonsillitis, ear infections, bladder infections, to mention a few.
  4. Hormonal imbalances – various conditions that alter your hormonal balance can cause a fever, for example, hyperthyroidism. Some women also get a fever and hot flashes during their menstrual cycle or menopause.
  5. Medication – when used to treat conditions like high blood pressure or cancer, drugs can tamper with the normal temperature of your body.

How to Know You Have a Fever

The symptoms of a fever differ from one patient to another, usually depending on the type of fever and the cause thereof. the common symptoms, however, include the following:

  1. Body chills and shivering
  2. Sweating
  3. Dehydration
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Feeling sleepy, even during the day
  6. General body weakness, aching muscles, and fatigue
  7. Feeling too hot to touch
  8. Flushed cheeks
  9. Irritability and restlessness
  10. A high-temperature reading – anything above 100.4°F (38°C) indicates a rise in body temperature

When you have a high fever, treatment in the ER may be necessary, as you may experience more severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, lack of concentration, delusions, loss of consciousness, severe chest pains, and seizures. Regardless of how severe your symptoms are, be sure to visit the nearest emergency room when your fever does not resolve on its own after a day or two.

How to Feel Better When You Have a Fever at Home

Although a fever is your body’s way of addressing illnesses and infections, you will not feel great as the fever moves through your body. Therefore, you must determine to manage your fever at home while you work on visiting an emergency room near you for treatment. Some of the tips to manage your fever at home include:

  1. Hydrate – drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration.
  2. Take over-the-counter medication – although you are better off getting a prescription in a ​24-hour emergency room.
  3. Place a damp washcloth on your forehead
  4. Take a cool bath
  5. Eat digestible foods like soup, rice, or crackles.

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