Fever – methods to decrease the temperature
Fever is the modality through which the organism protects itself from infections and lesions and is an instrument used in order to intensify the natural mechanisms of defense. Before the antibiotics apparition, the doctors used to deliberately infect with malaria patients with syphilis, with the hope that increased fever will save them.
The mechanism is quite simple. The brain orders the organism to move the blood from the surface of the skin to the interior. The white cells (leucocytes) and the immune bodies from the blood can reach in this way the source of infection and to act by means of its liquidation. The blood being far from the skin, the body surface looses little heat and the temperature increases. But before taking measures for decreasing the temperature, here is what the doctors recommend:
- Be sure that it’s fever. Although 37 degrees is considered normal temperature, this value can sometimes be something we have to be worried about. Normal temperature varies from a person to another and from an hour to another during the day. The food, the excess of clothing, the emotional unease and the physical exercises, all can contribute to the temperature increase. In fact, physical exercises can make the temperature reach to 39.5 degrees Celsius. In what concerns children, these tend to reach a higher temperature than adults, and also higher variations during the day. That is why you should follow the general rule: if the temperature is higher than 37.5 or 38, then you can think that it might be fever. Only if it is over 38 degrees you can be sure it is fever.
- Do not try to fight off fever. If you have fever, do not forget that: fever is not a disease, but the symptom of a disease. When the organism feels the bacterium or viral invasion, it releases substances that determine the increase of the internal temperature, producing fever. A higher temperature of the body hardens the bacterium and viruses reproduction and spreading. In fact, the natural means for protecting the organism can shorten the period of the disease through a quick reaction and potentate the antibiotics action. These factors should be more important than the discomfort that a slight fever can have if let to follow its normal course.
- Drink a lot of liquids. If you have fever the body will sweat in order to get cold. However, in the case of a very high fever, the water lost is excessive and the organism resorts to blocking the sweating canals in order to prevent the continue water loss. This blocking of the canals makes the fight against fever more difficult. The solution is to drink a lot of liquids:
- Fruits and vegetables juices. They are rich in vitamins and minerals and represent exactly what you need for increasing your resistance. There are recommended especially consistent and nutritive juices such the ones of carrots and beetroot;
- Use hot and warm applications. A wet application a piece of soft and wet linen can considerably decrease the fever. If you have high fever, put warm applications on your forehead, on the wrists and calves. The rest of your body must be covered. If the body temperature exceeds 39.5 degrees, do not use hot applications. You can use warm applications in order to stop the fever increase. Change them as they have the same temperature as your body and continue the procedure until the temperature decreases. Attention: Do not use cold applications. Cold can cause the constriction of the main stems , blocking the blood inside them and increasing the temperature even more.
- Try a warm sponge. The evaporation has a cooling effect on the body temperature. Wadding with warm water is recommended in order to help the skin radiate the heating excess. Concentrate where the fever is higher: armpits and the inguinal region.
- Analgesics. It is recommended aspirin (for adults), paracetamol or ibuprofen, administered according to the instructions on the pack. The aspirin and ibuprofen are non-steroid anti-infective and they are efficient in diminishing the pain and inflammation. The paracetamol is recommended if you have a sensible digestive system or if you are allergic to aspirin. It does not function as efficiently as the non-steroid anti-infective in the case of inflammations and muscular pain, but it presents less risks and minimal side effects. Attention: Children under the age of 16 mustn’t be administered medications that contain aspirin, because these infer a greater risk, small but real, for a fatal estate called Reye syndrome.
- Dress yourself comfortable. Be careful in what concerns the clothes and the thickness of the beds. If you are too warm, you should put away the blankets or the clothes you do not need, allowing the body heat to spread in the air. If you are too cold, cover yourself to feel comfortable. Resist the temptation of running away from a cold by sweating under the blankets, because you do not do anything than extend the period of the disease and accentuate the dehydration risk.
- Create an atmosphere that contributes to your healing. Do in such a manner that the sick person’s room becomes a healing factor. Do not overheat it – the German doctors do not recommend the temperature of the room to exceed 18 degrees.
- The light should be agreeable and the air fresh. Permanently assure enough fresh air in the room in order to bring forward the healing, but do not produce draft. Reduce the number of turned on bulbs, because faint light is more relaxing. Maintain the circulation of the warm air with a small ventilating fan that is revolving.
Address the doctor if:
- Fever is associated with the rigidity of the cervix, or if there is a hive that doesn’t give up
- Fever that exceeds 38.5 degrees and lasts more than 3 days or doesn’t react not even partially to the treatment.
- The fever increases over 39.5 degrees
Babies, old debilitated persons or any other person suffering of a chronic disease such as diabetes, a heart disease or along disease might not resist to a high fever more than a few days.