Your body will provide a natural response if a bacteria or virus wants to enter your body. This response is also known as a fever. The moment you get a fever, your body temperature will rise to 38 degrees or above. This is because your body is producing antibodies against the virus or bacteria. The heat makes you sweat, causing the virus or bacteria to disappear from your body. Your body temperature will never rise to 42 degrees or higher. Your body will also ensure it can lose the heat by sweating. Despite the fact it can cause some very unpleasant symptoms, a fever is actually very useful. Not only is it your body’s way of signalling that something isn’t right, it also results in your liver producing substances which will stop the bacteria and viruses from continuing to multiply. A fever can also be caused by heat stroke or poisoning, in addition to bacteria and viruses.
You may have the following symptoms with a fever:
- A body temperature of 38 degrees or above.
- Glowing and red cheeks.
- A glowing forehead.
- Chills and chattering teeth.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Profuse sweating.
- Being delirious.
- A reduced appetite.
- A headache.
There are a number of things you can do yourself if you have a fever:
- Drink about 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day. We recommend you drink more if you have a high fever, making sure your body doesn’t become dehydrated.
- Place a wet wash cloth on your forehead.
- Wear thin and cool clothes.
- Sleep under a thin sheet.
- Get plenty of rest. There is no need to lie in bed all day. Feel free to go outside if you feel up to it. Just make sure you don’t overload yourself and that you dress appropriately.
- Take some paracetamol if you have a high fever. This can reduce the pain, but won’t get rid of it altogether. Check the paracetamol’s package leaflet for the correct dosage before taking it. A different amount will be recommended, dependent on your age.
The fever will usually subside within 5 to 7 days and you won’t need to worry. However, a fever can also be caused by something more serious. We therefore recommend you contact your GP if:
- You feel drowsy.
- You feel short of breath.
- You have trouble drinking and therefore drink half as much as you normally do.
- You have a heart, lungs and/or kidney disorder.
- You suffer from diabetes.
- You don’t, or hardly, urinate. The guideline for this is less than 2 times a day.
- You have a compromised immune system due to an underlying condition or disease. For example, your resistance may be greatly reduced if you’re undergoing, or have had, chemotherapy.
- You’ve been in the tropics in the past four weeks.
- You’ve had a fever before and it keeps coming back.
Don’t immediately go and see your GP if you have a fever. You may be infected with the coronavirus. Follow your GP’s or the doctor’s assistant’s advice and they will make sure you can still visit the surgery if necessary.