The head glows, the eyes are glassy and you suffer from chills: these are the classic signs of fever. But when do you actually speak of a fever and when is the temperature only slightly elevated?
We all know the typical symptoms of fever. But what is the cause of the increased body temperature? Fever is a typical accompanying symptom of colds and is particularly common in children. The alarm bells usually ring in adults – because fever is dangerous!
That’s not true, though. Fever is a normal defensive reaction of the body to the penetration of bacilli. If an infection occurs, the body raises the temperature to strengthen the immune system.
So fever is a good thing in itself. However, when fever starts to be mentioned is very different. The limit is lower for infants than for teenagers and adults.
When does one start to speak of fever? When does one start to speak of an increased temperature?
Normal body temperature is between 36 and 37.4 degrees. This temperature fluctuates over the course of a day, after sport, for example, it is usually higher. But if the temperature rises above 37.5 degrees, the question pops up for many, is it fever? Or is it an increased temperature?
The temperature is called elevated from 37.5 degrees. Fever is then officially 38.5 degrees. At least adults, because children and infants are a special case.
Causes and treatment: What you need to know about fever
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fever in children
As soon as the child’s temperature rises, the parents start to worry. For good reason? In fact, the temperature limit for infants and toddlers is somewhat lower: even a temperature of 38 degrees is classified as a fever and you should consult a doctor. This is also recommended by the Professional Association of Pediatricians and Youth Physicians (Berufsverband der Kinder- und Jugendärzte e. V.). (BVKJ).
Of course, antipyretic measures, suppositories & CO. can also help to combat fever in babies and toddlers. But play it safe and consult a doctor if your protégé’s body temperature rises above the magical 38 degrees.
When does a high fever start?
Values from 39 degrees apply here. From 40 degrees one speaks of very high fever and from 41 degrees of extreme fever – but this occurs only very rarely.
How is fever measured correctly?
Measurement in the ear, buttocks or under the armpit. Where is the best place to measure fever? There are different methods to determine and classify fever correctly and to know when it is actually a fever or only an elevated temperature.
The most accurate measurement is in the Po. The use of clinical thermometers in the ear is often imprecise and is usually carried out incorrectly. Also the measurement under the armpit or in the mouth is not as accurate as the rectal method (especially in children) and is often slightly lower.
For hygienic reasons, the same thermometer should never be used for different measuring methods. Nevertheless, it is important to clean the thermometer thoroughly after each use.
When does fever become dangerous?
Fever in itself, as we’ve seen, is a good thing. But at a certain temperature it becomes dangerous. For adults this applies from a temperature of 39 degrees. If you have a high fever, you should definitely see a doctor and take it easy. The body now needs all its energy to defend itself against the attack of bacilli and the like.
In infants and young children, fever should always be closely monitored and a doctor should be consulted. Find out more: Baby has a fever? This helps the sick child
When should fever be lowered?
Slight fever and an elevated temperature are harmless. This stimulates the immune system and fights the infection. But when should the fever be reduced? If the temperature rises to 39 degrees and more, fever-reducing measures should be taken.
To lower the fever, the following options are available, for example:
- cold calf compresses
- lime blossom tea
- medicines like ibuprofen or paracetamol.
Tips for behaviour in case of fever
Antipyretic measures are good. But with fever, the body needs above all a lot of rest and little strain.
We should do these four things in fever:
- drink a lot
- sleep a lot
- physical strain > And of course there are numerous home remedies for fever that help to lower the temperature, such as foot baths, lime blossom tea or other antipyretic tea drinks.
NOTE: For risks and side effects of medicines read the package insert (for medicinal waters the label) and ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Further information about fever can be found at onmeda.de
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