Managing Febrile Illnesses
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Managing Febrile Illnesses

Febrile illnesses are illnesses such as viral or bacterial infections which can cause a fever. Getting a high temperature is a completely natural and normal reaction of the body towards fever, and most of the time a fever is not harmful as it actually aids the body in fighting off infections. Treatment is usually only recommended if you are feeling uncomfortable and disturbed.

Although a temperature is a normal reaction to febrile illnesses, sometimes a fever can also be an early indicator of a more serious infection. This is why you should always make sure to follow up with appropriate medical attention if you find that your condition is worsening.

How To Treat A Fever

Treating your fever doesn’t have to be difficult. Try following these guidelines for general care at home:

  • Ensure you get plenty of bed rest, especially for the first two to three days. Try not to overexert yourself when you do resume your normal activities.
  • Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids. By increasing your fluid intake, especially when your appetite may be reduced, you can avoid dehydration and loosen any mucus secretions from the nose and lungs.
  • Avoid smoking and inhaling any second-hand smoke.
  • Unless instructed otherwise by your doctor, take paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief and to manage your fever. Patients who are younger than eighteen and have a fever should not be given aspirin as this can cause severe damage to the liver or brain.
  • If your doctor prescribed you a course of antibiotics, make sure that you complete the course accordingly, even if you are already feeling better. This is so that the infection fully clears up.
  • However, if the cause of the fever is unknown then antibiotics usually will not be prescribed.
  • Medicines that are available over the counter cannot shorten the duration of the illness, but they can be helpful in managing other symptoms such as coughs and congestion in the sinuses.

Treating fever

Symptoms Of Febrile Illness Which Require Medical Attention

Although febrile illnesses can be frustrating and uncomfortable, they should usually improve within a few days without causing any damage. However, if any of the following symptoms occur, see your doctor for a professional diagnosis and further treatment;

  • A temperature of 40°C or higher which does not improve after taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, and has not improved after three days
  • Severe headaches and migraines
  • Pain in the neck, throat, ears or face
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Coughing up mucus which contains blood
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea, or both
  • Feelings of weakness, dizziness and drowsiness

As a fever is only a symptom and not an illness itself, doctors need to identify the underlying cause before any specific treatment can begin. Sometimes tests can be necessary despite the doctor having already performed an examination and taken a detailed medical history. Your doctor may need you to have blood tests, urine examinations and culture, mucus or throat swabs for examination, and x-rays.

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