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Posts Tagged ‘Fever’

When to worry about a fever?

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm
has-your-kid-got-a-fever
What is a fever? — A fever is a rise in body temperature that goes above a certain level. The level that is considered a fever depends on how you take the temperature. Here are the values that are considered a fever:
  • Oral (mouth) temperature above 100ºF (37.8ºC)
  • Armpit temperature above 99ºF (37.2ºC)
  • Ear temperature above 100.4ºF (38ºC) in rectal mode or 99.5ºF (37.5ºC) in oral mode
  • Forehead temperature above 100.4ºF (38ºC)
  • Rectal temperature above 100.4ºF (38ºC)

 

What is the best way to take my temperature? — Armpit, ear, and forehead temperatures are easier to measure than rectal or oral temperatures, but they are not as accurate.

Here is the right way to take an oral temperature:

  • Wait at least 30 minutes after you eat or drink anything hot or cold.
  • Wash the thermometer with cool water and soap. Then rinse it.
  • Place the tip of the thermometer under your tongue toward the back. Hold the thermometer with your lips, not your teeth.
  • Keep your lips closed around the thermometer. A glass thermometer takes about 3 minutes to work. Most digital thermometers take less than 1 minute.

 

The height of the temperature is less important than how sick you feel. If you think you have a fever and you feel sick, your doctor or nurse might want you to double-check by getting an oral or rectal temperature.

What causes fever? — The most common cause of fever in adults is infection. Common infections that can cause fever include:

  • A cold or the flu
  • An airway infection, such as bronchitis
  • A stomach bug

 

Most of these infections are not serious and get better on their own.

When should I see a doctor or nurse? — Call your doctor or nurse if you get a fever and you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Recently got back from a trip to Africa, Asia, or Latin America
  • Just got out of the hospital, or had surgery or another medical procedure
  • Get infections often
  • Are on chemotherapy – Call your doctor or nurse if your oral temperature goes above 100ºF (37.8ºC) for more than 1 hour. Also call if it goes above 101ºF (38.3ºC) even just 1 time.

 

You should also call if you have:

  • Fever that lasts several days or keeps coming back
  • A recent bite from an insect called a tick – Infections you can catch from tick bites can cause fever and other symptoms.
  • A serious health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus, or sickle cell anemia
  • Fever plus 1 or more of these symptoms:
  • Rash
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe headache or neck pain
  • Seizure or confusion
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • Severe pain in the belly, back, or sides
  • Any other symptom that is unusual or worries you

 

Will I need tests? — Maybe. Your doctor or nurse will do an exam and talk with you about your symptoms. You might also have the following tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Chest X-ray or CT scan – These imaging tests create pictures of the inside of the body.

 

Your doctor or nurse will talk to you about any other tests you might need.

Can I do anything on my own to feel better? — Yes. You can stay home, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. You can also take acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) to relieve fever.

How are fevers treated? — That depends on the cause. Many people do not need treatment. If you do, treatments can include:

  • Antibiotics to fight the infection. But antibiotics only work on infections caused by bacteria, not infections caused by viruses. For example, antibiotics will NOT work on a cold.
  • Medicines, such as acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin). These medicines can help bring down a fever. But they are not always necessary.

Source: Uptodate

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COMMON COLD: EVERYONE GETS IT

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

COLDWhat causes coughs, runny noses, and other symptoms of the common cold? — These symptoms are usually caused by a viral infection. Lots of viruses can take hold inside your nose, mouth, throat, or lungs, and cause cold symptoms.

Most people get over a cold without lasting problems. Even so, having a cold can be uncomfortable. And if your child has a cold, it is hard to know when the symptoms call for a trip to the doctor.

What are the symptoms of the common cold? — The symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Sniffling and runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Chest congestion

 

In children, the common cold can also cause a fever. But adults do not usually get a fever when they have a cold.

How can I tell if I have a cold or the flu? — The common cold and the flu both cause many of the same symptoms. But they also have some important differences.

Is it a cold or the flu?
Cold Flu
Symptoms
Fever Rare Usual; high (100°F to 102°F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Rare Common
General aches, pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Usual; can last up to 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort, cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe
Treatment Antihistamines

Decongestant

Pain/fever reliever (eg, ibuprofen/Motrin®), naproxen/Aleve®, acetaminophen/Tylenol®

Antiviral medicines – see your doctor

Pain/fever reliever (eg, ibuprofen/Motrin®), naproxen/Aleve®, acetaminophen/Tylenol®

Prevention Wash your hands often

Avoid close contact with anyone with a cold

Annual vaccination; antiviral medicine – see your doctor

Wash your hands often

Avoid close contact with anyone who has the flu

Complications Sinus congestion

Middle ear infection

Asthma

Bronchitis

Bronchitis, pneumonia; can be life threatening

When should I call the doctor or nurse? — Most people who have a cold do not need to see the doctor or nurse. But you should call your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • A fever of more than 100.4º F (38º C) that comes with shaking chills, loss of appetite, or trouble breathing
  • A fever and also have lung disease, such as emphysema
  • A cough that lasts longer than 10 days
  • Chest pain when you cough, trouble breathing, or coughing up blood

 

If you are older than 75, you should also call your doctor or nurse any time you get a long-lasting cough.

Take your child to the emergency room if he or she:

  • Becomes confused or stops responding to you
  • Has trouble breathing or has to work hard to breathe

 

Call your child’s doctor or nurse if he or she:

  • Refuses to drink anything for a long time
  • Is younger than 3 months
  • Has a fever and is not acting like him- or herself
  • Has a stuffed or runny nose that gets worse or does not get better after 2 weeks
  • Has red eyes or yellow goop coming out of his or her eyes
  • Has ear pain, pulls at his or her ears, or shows other signs of having an ear infection

 

What can I do to feel better? — If you are an adult, you can try cough and cold medicines that you can get without a prescription. These medicines might help with your symptoms. But they won’t cure your cold, or help you to feel better faster.

If you decide to try nonprescription cold medicines, be sure to follow the directions on the label. Do not combine two or more medicines that have acetaminophen in them. If you take too much acetaminophen, the drug can damage your liver. Also, if you have a heart condition, or you take prescription medicines, ask your pharmacist if it is safe to take the cold medicine you have in mind.

What should I know if my child has a cold? — In children, the common cold is often more severe than it is in adults. It also lasts longer. Plus, children often get a fever during the first three days of a cold.

Are cough and cold medicines safe for children? — If your child is younger than 6, you should NOT give him or her any cold medicines. These medicines are not safe for young children. Even if your child is older than 6, cough and cold medicines are unlikely to help.

NEVER give aspirin to any child younger than 18 years old. In children, aspirin can cause a life-threatening condition called Reye syndrome. When giving your child acetaminophen or other nonprescription medicines, never give more than the recommended dose.

How long will I be sick? — Colds usually last 3 to 7 days, but some people have symptoms for up to 2 weeks.

Can the common cold lead to more serious problems? — In very few cases, yes. In some people having a cold can lead to:

  • Pneumonia or bronchitis (infections of the lungs)
  • Ear infections (in children)
  • Other infections

 

How can I keep from getting another cold? — The most important thing you can do is to wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol hand rubs work well, too. The germs that cause the common cold can live on tables, door handles, and other surfaces for at least two hours. You never know when you might be touching germs. That’s why it’s so important to clean your hands often.

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