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September 19, 2018

Fever: Emergency Room Tips

Fever: Emergency Room Tips

Each one of us or our loved ones have at some point experienced the wave of chills and exhaustion brought about by fever. A fever (pyrexia) occurs when body temperature is elevated to abnormal levels.  Medical professionals at FrontLine ER consider any body temperature above the average measurement of 98.6 Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) elevated.

Here Are Some Few Facts About Fever:

A fever may occur can affect any person, regardless of their age or sex, and can at times act as a body’s natural defense against virus, bacteria, fungi, drugs, or other toxins that cannot survive at a higher temperature.

Fever itself is not contagious unless it has been caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

What Causes a Fever?

Fever occurs when the body starts to respond to foreign invasions including viruses, bacteria, fungi, drugs, or other toxins. These foreign invaders produce pyrogens which trigger the hypothalamus in the brain to intensify the body temperature. This in turn helps the body to fight off the infection.

Some of the typical causes of fever include:

  • Viral infections in the Ear, Nose Throat and sinuses
  • Bacterial infections in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the circulatory system (heart and lungs).
  • Lower respiratory system infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Stomach flu (gastroenteritis)
  • Children’s immunizations /vaccine shots or teething
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infection of the genitourinary system
  • Having autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus,
  • Side effects of certain medication
  • Seizures, hormone disorders, blood clots, cancers, and illicit drug use
  • Fever after exposure to various new foods, toxins, or vaccine-preventable diseases after traveling outside the US.

Please note that:

  1. Fever should not be confused with hyperthermia, which is the failure of your body to respond to heat (thermoregulation) from external sources such as being in a hot environment.
  2. Fever should also not be confused with night sweats or hot flashes caused by hormonal changes during perimenopause. They can create an intense feeling of heat, sweating, skin redness accompanied by a tingly feeling: this is not the same thing as a fever.

When should you see a doctor at FrontLine ER?

Fever creates discomfort in children and adults. Most infections that result in a temperature rise may go away after some time, however, if you or your loved ones exhibit the following signs, visit FrontLine ER.

  • Temperature higher than 100.4 F (38 C) in infants, children, and adults
  • Shivering, chills, aching muscles, and joints or other body aches
  • A headache, stiff neck, sore throat, and difficulty when swallowing
  • Intermittent sweats or excessive sweating
  • Shortness of breath and rapid heart rate and palpitations
  • Skin flushes
  • Weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Eye pain or sore eyes
  • Loss of appetite and fussiness in children and toddlers
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Fever that develops in persons taking immunosuppressant drugs or who have a history and diagnosis of cancer, meningitis, AIDS, heart disease or diabetes.

How Frontline ER Diagnoses and Treats Fever

On arrival at the emergency room, a thorough physical examination will be done to find the source of the fever.

The doctor will then use a digital thermometer to perform an oral, axillary, tympanic, or rectal temperature check.  A temperature greater than 100.4 F is considered a fever. After taking the history and conducting a physical examination, the emergency physician may order the following diagnostic tests.

  1. A white blood cell count test
  2. strep throat, blood and urine culture
  3. Sputum and stool sample
  4. Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
  5. X-ray films or CT scan
  6. Thyroid and liver function tests

A fever experienced during pregnancy and accompanied by a rash, and joint pain could be a sign of an infection that could affect the baby.

High fevers are dangerous and demand immediate home treatment and prompt medical attention.  Fever-reducing medications like Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Naproxen (Aleve) are applicable.

Also, non-medical measures that can be taken include:

  1. Keeping the patient comfortable and not overdressed
  2. Applying tepid water (85 F [30 C]) baths or sponge baths. Remember,  do not attempt to immerse a person with a fever in ice water.
  3. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fluids
  4. Open all windows or use a fan to regulate airflow

With the appropriate treatment, most fevers will go away in a few days. Follow up with the doctor, a few weeks after the initial visit. This is recommended for people who have or had fevers arising from infectious causes like tuberculosis, drug-induced illnesses, or Fevers of Unknown Origin (FUO).  These patients may experience a relapse, and hospitalization may be required.

Is It Possible to Prevent Fever?

Yes, fever is preventable, but this is subject to the specific cause. Since most fever-related illnesses are caused by infection, avoiding the source of the infection and minimizing contact with sick people are the recommended options.

It’s also crucial to maintain good hygiene practices, ensure that immunizations are up to date and avoid the use of illegal drugs. If you’re in need of emergency care in Richmond or Dallas, Texas, look no further than FrontLine ER and avoid the crowds and long waits that are typical of the regular emergency rooms.

Emergency Care, Emergency Room