Fever

Fever is a defence response by the human body.

Overview

Fever is a defence response by the human body. Increased body temperature and pronounced fatigue are typical symptoms. It is important to drink plenty of fluids, and some home remedies can also provide relief (e.g. cooling leg compresses).

Symptoms

Main Symptoms

Fever is an increase in body temperature (> 38°C). A fever has different phases:

  • Muscle tremors (shaking and trembling), shivering and chills are signs of a rapid rise in fever
  • When the peak has been reached, the shivering and chills disappear, and the body starts feeling the heat
  • Later, when your temperature falls again, an attack of sweating accelerates the cooling process

Other symptoms

  • Headache or painful limbs
  • Upset stomach
  • General feeling of being unwell, accompanied by fatigue

Causes and treatment

Causes

Common causes include:

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Measuring the exact body temperature
  • Blood/urine tests
  • Lung x-ray
Possible therapies
  • Antipyretic (i.e. fever-reducing) drugs
  • Fluid replacement, if needed
  • Antibiotics, if needed

What can I do myself?

Fever is a natural defence response by the body. As such, it doesn’t always have to be reduced immediately. It depends on how the sick person feels.

  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, tea)
  • Apply leg compresses with vinegar or lemon water (start at warm to the touch, go cooler with every change)
  • Take antipyretic (fever-reducing) drugs

When to see a doctor?

  • Fever > 40°C
  • Additional complaints such as severe headache, neck pain or pain in lumbar region
  • If accompanied by disorientation
  • When it is difficult to breathe (air hunger) or breathing is painful
  • Fever at an advanced age
  • Fever after a trip to the tropics
  • If accompanied by a skin rash

Specially for children:

  • Fever in babies up to 3 months old
  • Febrile seizures
  • Fever that lasts longer than 24 hours
  • Fever that is higher than 39° Celsius
  • If the child is listless

Synonyms

fever, increased temperature, high temperature, pyrexia

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Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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