Question

Infectious Disease

How can I help treat a fever?

A Answers (4)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    If the fever is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or is making you uncomfortable, alternate between taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen. This combination of drugs targets different receptors and delivers a one-two punch to fevers. Switch back and forth between them every 4 to 6 hours until your fever is gone or you feel better; be sure not to exceed the maximum dosage for a 24-hour period as indicated on the package.

    To feel better instantly, try putting cool or wet towels on your neck and underarms. Doing so targets where most major blood vessels run and provides soothing relief.
  • ARealAge answered
    There are several ways to lower a patient's temperature and reduce a fever:
    • Sponge the skin with tepid water. Do not use alcohol -- the vapors can be dangerous!
    • Bathe the patient in cool water, about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Give the patient an over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Adults may also try aspirin. Do not give aspirin to anyone under 19 -- it may cause a rare but serious condition called Reye's syndrome.
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  • Here are some tips to feel better, recover faster, and stay safe if you have a fever:
    • Drink lots of water. If your child has a fever and won't drink, give him Popsicles to suck on.
    • Dress lightly and keep the room cool. Being too hot can make a fever worse.
    • Stay home and rest. Sleep. This will help your body fight the illness.
    • Bathe in lukewarm water. Lukewarm means slightly warm, not hot or cold. Stop bathing if this causes shivering.
    • If fever is 101 degrees F or more, take medicine to lower it. Use acetaminophen (like Tylenol) or ibuprofen (like Advil). Follow the instructions for timing and dose. Do not give aspirin to a child or teen -- it increases risk for a serious problem called Reye's syndrome.
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  • Cool liquids: Drinking cool liquids may help relieve symptoms of fever. Fluids, such as water or drinks that contain electrolytes, including Pediatric Electrolyte®, Pedialyte®, or Enfalyte®, are often recommended because they also help prevent dehydration. However, drinking cool fluids does not treat the underlying cause of the fever.

    Sponge bath: A five- to 10-minute sponge bath of lukewarm water may help bring a high temperature down. This cools the skin and may help reduce the body's internal temperature. A sponge bath is most effective if it is used shortly after a dosage of acetaminophen or ibuprofen is given because the medication can work to keep the fever down after the bath takes effect.

    Children with fevers who shiver during a bath should be removed from the bath and dried. In such cases, the shivering raises the body's internal temperature because shaking muscles generate heat. If the fever does not improve or the child experiences symptoms of a febrile seizure, seek immediate medical care.

    Acetaminophen, aspirin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Patients who have fevers may take acetaminophen, aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®), to reduce a fever before treatment is started. These medications are only recommended for the treatment of fevers that are higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Avoid aspirin in children because it may cause serious side effects, including Reye's syndrome, a life-threatening condition that causes brain inflammation and vomiting.

    Antimicrobials: Medications called antimicrobials are used to treat infections, a common cause of fevers. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, anti-fungals are used to treat fungal infections, antivirals are used to treat viral infections, and anti-parasitics are used to treat parasitic infections. The exact type, dose, and duration of treatment depend on the type and severity of the infection, as well as the patient's age and overall health.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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