Fever is a symptom of an infection, usually associated with a cold. It is a way for the body to defend itself against viruses and bacteria.

How does a fever feel?

When you have a fever, it is common to feel weak and dizzy. When the fever rises you usually freeze and when it drops you sweat.

A body temperature of 38 degrees or higher is considered a fever in adults. Fever often accompanies other symptoms that can provide clues to the cause of the fever.

What causes fever?

The most common cause of fever is the cold virus, which also causes symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose and cough. Influenza virus gives a stronger feeling of illness with higher fever, headache and muscle aches. Other common viral diseases that cause fever are three-day fever that causes a rash in children or glandular fever with symptoms such as sore throat, swollen glands and stomach pain.

Fever can be caused by bacteria, such as sore throat, skin infection, pneumonia, sinusitis or ear infections. If the fever is associated with burning when urinating, it may be due to a urinary tract infection. In case of fever and concomitant stomach pain, it may be a venereal disease or appendicitis.

You can also get a fever with rheumatism, food poisoning or as a side effect of certain medicines. Fever can be a sign of a more serious illness. Seek care immediately if you:

• has severe fever
• also has difficulty swallowing or breathing
• also has difficulty bending the neck
• feels that you are losing consciousness
• has a child who has a febrile convulsion for the first time

 Contact a health center if you:

• suddenly has a high fever and feels very bad
• has a high fever for four days for no apparent reason
• has a fever that goes down and then up again
• also has a stomach ache
• also has difficulty urinating or if it hurts when you urinate

How is fever treated?

Stay home and rest from work or school. You do not have to go to bed if you do not feel like it, but avoid exercising as it can cause myocarditis.

Be sure to drink plenty as you sweat out a lot of fluid when you have a fever. Eat if you have an appetite, but you do not have to force yourself.

The bedroom can be cool, but not cold. Get dressed if you faint and take off if you sweat. A cup of tea or a warming pillow can feel good when the fever rises.

Fever itself is not dangerous, but if you feel bad about it, you can take antipyretic drugs to feel better.

Paracetamol is antipyretic and is available in many different dosage forms that are suitable for both children and adults. Ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid also have an anti-inflammatory effect but are less suitable for those over 75 years, have cardiovascular disease or have previously had stomach ulcers. Acetylsalicylic acid should not be given to feverish children under 18 years of age without contact with healthcare.

This is how you measure body temperature best

Take the temperature after at least 30 minutes of rest. Children often have higher body temperature than adults, especially if they play actively. If a child has a high temperature but seems alert, you can wait and measure again a little later.

Body temperature is measured with a fever thermometer in the mouth, armpit, forehead, ear or rectum. It is most reliable to measure in the ear or in the rectum. The ear is closest to the body's temperature center and gives a more current value of the two. The temperature in the rectum can differ compared to the ear with rapid temperature changes.

When using an ear thermometer, it is important to follow the instructions carefully to get a correct measurement value. Use a new lens cap every time you measure. Children's ear canals are crooked and need to be straightened by gently pulling the ear upwards before measuring. For children under one year, measurement in the rectum is recommended because infants' ear canals can be too crooked and narrow.

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