Treat at home: Fevers

Laid up on the couch, watching Ellen and feeling sorry for yourself? Follow these easy steps to ease the fever that’s keeping you down and out.

Get well soon!
Woman with a fever

Gone are the days when our mums were available to ease our fevers and ills, now we’ve got to fend for ourselves when we are sick. Take note of these steps to treat your fever and get you back on your feet quickly.

Fevers can occur for a number of reasons — ranging from a symptom of the common cold or flu, through to other infections and viruses. Remember though, fevers aren’t always bad news, often it is part of your body’s defence mechanism fighting whatever illness it is that’s keeping you down. So embrace the fever and find ways to get comfortable as you rest.

Fever symptoms can include:

  • Flushed cheeks and face
  • Feeling hot and clammy (or actually sweaty)
  • Shivering
  • Chattering teeth
  • Generally feeling unwell and achy.

The Fever Fact Sheet of 2008 from Hunter New England, NSW Health recommends the following “normal temperature ranges” dependent on the measuring method you use:

  • Armpit: 34.7-37.3 degrees C
  • Mouth: 35.5-37.5 degrees C
  • Ear: 35.8-38 degrees C.

When taking an adult’s temperature, NSW Health suggests taking it “by mouth, in the ear or under the armpit. The armpit method is less accurate and is normally used only if the person is extremely drowsy or not clear mentally.”

Adults with temperatures over 40 degrees C, as well as those whose fever has lingered for more than three days or feel as though they are getting worse, should see their GP.

If your fever is manageable at home, some helpful tips to make you feel better include:

  • A dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen (always check with your pharmacist or GP before taking medications to determine what is best for you)
  • Drink lots of water and avoid drinks that will add to dehydration, such as tea, coffee and alcohol
  • Dampen your skin with moist towels or sponges — use water that is room temperature, not cold, and avoid cold showers/baths (putting cold water on your skin will only cause your skin and blood vessels to rapidly react to the change in temperature which might trap the heat even further)
  • Rest, rest, rest!

Importantly though, if you are feeling fine but feverish, just take it easy. A high temperature isn’t always an indicator of how sick you are; what’s more important is how you feel. So, listen to your body and do what feels right.

This article should only be viewed as containing helpful tips and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. If you’re concerned about your health, please seek specialist medical advice.

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