Fevers are a common side effect from any kind of infection or virus, though most of us will be most likely to encounter them if we have a flu. A fever is considered any temperature above 100.4F (about 38C), with the average body temperature being 98.6F/37C for healthy adults.
Fevers often bring with them chills, goose bumps and cold sweats and often the patient will feel as though they are much colder or hotter than they actually are. This is one of the most unpleasant aspects of a flu and can make it incredibly difficult to get comfortable or to get to sleep. So what can you do to help yourself feel better? And do you need to be worried?
Should You Seek Medical Attention?
While a fever is very unpleasant, it is actually playing a key role in helping you fight the infection. Keep in mind that it isn’t the infection or virus itself causing the temperature but rather your own immune system. In most cases then, a fever is actually nothing to be concerned with and you can instead simply let it run its course.
However, you do also need to keep a close eye on your symptoms. Fevers are much more serious in babies and young children for instance, so it’s worth calling the doctor if you have a baby with a fever over 100.4F/38C. For older children, call a doctor if the temperature rises above 102F/38.9C.
For adults, you don’t need to call the doctor unless your temperature exceeds 103F/39.4C.
This is all assuming that the symptoms are indeed in-keeping with a flu and you are sure that you’re not suffering from something more serious such as meningitis. If you experience cold-like symptoms such as blocked sinuses and sneezing, if you have sore joints and if you experience a mild headache, then you are most likely suffering from a flu and the symptoms will normally run their course within a week.
However, if you have other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, diarrhoea or severe neck pain, then you should seek medical attention immediately. This is especially true if you have recently travelled outside of the country and/or been bitten by any unusual insects.
How to Reduce a Fever
Unfortunately, there is relatively little you can do to reduce a fever and as mentioned, this is actually a natural and necessary process for fighting the illness.
That said, analgesics may be helpful in combating symptoms and lowering the temperature. Paracetamol or ibuprofen are normally recommended. As is often the case, you should also be sure to keep drinking lots of fluids to prevent dehydration – one of the key dangers of a high temperature.
Try to avoid wearing too many thick clothes or layers of blanket and keep fresh air circulating inside the room. A bath or shower with lukewarm water can sometimes be comforting, as might dabbing a damp cloth on the forehead.
Get lots of rest, take time off work and give your body enough time to drive out the invaders. Once this happens, your temperature should return to normal. If your temperature persists for more than a few days though, consider getting in touch with your doctor.