How Hot is Too Hot?

October 22, 2015


When it comes to a fever, it’s commonly known that this pesky sign of illness can be good for you. Fevers help fight infections, but how hot is too hot and when should you take action against an unsafe or quickly rising fever?

While we believe fevers can be good, they can also be quite dangerous. There are several causes of a fever, but many of them are a reaction to an infection, medication, severe trauma or a medical condition.

So what is it that causes a fever? The hypothalamus in the brain controls body temperature and usually varies throughout the day from a normal body temperature of 98.6. When the body is responding to an infection or illness, it may reset the body to a higher temperature.

A fever is not an illness, it’s usually a symptom of another underlying condition.  Generally, a fever is not dangerous. But, in children, if the patient is suffering from lethargy, fussiness, poor appetite, sore throat, cough, ear pain, vomiting or diarrhea, it is often times important to make a physician aware of the the condition.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if an infant younger than 4 months old has a rectal temperature above 100.4 you should seek medical assistance immediately. If a child older than 4 months old has a temperature above 104 degrees, medical attention should also be sought as high fevers can cause seizures in young children.

We encourage patients to come in and see our physicians if a fever lasts more than a day in a child less than 2 years old or longer than 3 days in a child over the age of 2.

And, if a child looks very sick or extremely drowsy, we suggest coming in sooner. In the case of a weakened immune system, other medical problems or the presence of a seizure, please come seek medical attention right away.

If a temperature is within the normal realms of a fever, there are ways you can make it more comfortable for yourself or your little ones. The most common treatments for fever include over the counter drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen, but you can also treat fever naturally with cool damp washcloths on the forehead, a lukewarm bath and by consuming chilled foods such as popsicles. Some natural remedies call for the use or consumption of calcium, bone broth, gelatin, apple cider vinegar and herbs such as elder flower.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make a fever tolerable, but remember, if it gets too high, please come in and see us! We’re here to help.

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