How to Reduce a Fever

As many illnesses and infections thrive at normal body temperature, the body naturally raises its temperature to fight the illness. When one experiences a fever, it generally means that one’s immune system is fighting an illness or infection. In such instances, one should allow their immune system to function naturally, and wait for the fever to pass. And also, one can take some steps to reduce the fever and relieve the symptoms.

How to Reduce a Fever in Adults

1. Rest

Rest is often recommended for adults who have a fever of 102°F (38.9°C) or lower in most instances. That being said, one should consult a doctor if one’s fever is accompanied with other symptoms such as stiff neck, severe headache, and shortness of breath.

2. Drink Lots of Liquids

As most people sweat excessively when they have a fever, ensuring to replenish one’s bodily fluids is essential. For this reason, drinking plenty of fluids is very important.

3. Stay Cool

Trying to stay cool can be very helpful when trying to reduce fever. You may wish to place a damp cloth on your forehead, keep your home at a cool temperature, and sleep with a light blanket.

4. Remove Extra Clothing

The clothes you wear should be as minimal as possible when learning how to reduce a fever. Heat is lost through the skin, and covering up with numerous layers of clothing will make it hard to do so.

5. Sponge Bath

A sponge bath with lukewarm water will likely help to reduce fever, and also make the sick feel better. Simply fill a basin or bath tub with around two inches of lukewarm water, and use a sponge to wet the sick individuals’ skin. When performing a sponge bath, ensure not to use rubbing alcohol, ice, or ice water, as this will likely exacerbate the illness.

Medications to Reduce Fever in Adults

Common medications used to reduce fever are ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen. Both of the medications can be used to reduce fever and pain.

Ibuprofen can be bought over the counter, and usually comes in 200mg tablets. It works to prevent the hypothalamus from raising one’s body temperature, thus reducing fever. A safe dose is generally 1 to 2 tablets per 4 hours.

  • Side effects of taking ibuprofen include vomiting and nausea, and this can be averted by ensuring to take the medication on a full stomach. Other rarer side effects include constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and heartburn.
  • Individuals who have kidney disease or stomach ulcers should avoid this medication; as should those who are pregnant, and those allergic to aspirin.

Acetaminophen is also an over-the-counter medication, and often comes in 325 mg or 500mg tablets. Similar to ibuprofen, 1 to 2 tablets per 4 hours is advised to those wishing to know how to reduce a fever. One should not exceed more than 3g per 24 hours. Overdosing on this medication can also cause failure of the liver.

  • While side effects are rare for this medication, some individuals may have an allergic reaction to the active ingredients.
  • Those with liver disease or those who are chronic alcohol drinkers should avoid consumption of this medication.

Common brands of acetaminophen include Feverall, Genapap, Tempra, Panadol, Tylenol, and Aspirin Free Anacin. One should always check the ingredients in any medication before taking them. And note that other medications may include acetaminophen in combination, meaning that if other medications are being taken, one should be aware of their total dosage of acetaminophen.

When to See a Doctor

A normal body temperature is generally considered to be 98.6°F (37°C). One should consider seeking medical advice if you have:

  • A high, prolonged fever (above 102°F) with fatigue and body aches
  • Symptoms that last for more than 10 days or get worse instead of better
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Fainting or feeling like you are about to faint
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Severe sinus pain in your face or forehead
  • Very swollen glands in the neck or jaw
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