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Fever (or pyrexia) is a rise in the body temperature above the normal (average normal body temperature being 98.6°F or 37°C). When the body is invaded by a bacterial or viral infection, the white blood cells attack the invaders and release a substance called pyrogen, which on reaching the brain signals the hypothalamus (the body’s thermostat) to increase the body temperature. A new set point above 100°F indicates a fever. It is not advisable to suppress the fever as the fever will help kill the bacteria or virus. But, high fevers could be dangerous, especially for children.
Common symptoms of fever include feeling cold, feeling unwell, increased heart rate, stiffness or muscle aches, shivering. Common cold or influenza is sometimes accompanied by mild fever. Sinusitis might result in fever with nasal congestion and headache. Measles also causes fever accompanied by rashes. Some medications, vaccinations may also cause fever.
Most mild fevers will clear up on their own. Some suggested home remedies:
Herbs -Add a teaspoon of any of the herb leaves like tulsi, peppermint, yarrow or elderflowers to a cup of hot water and sip for 5 minutes. Sip it 3-4 times a day. These herbs induce sweating and bring down the fever.
Cold compress - Soak small towels in cool water and dab over your body. Place a cloth on your forehead to soothe any discomfort caused by the fever. Alternatively, you can relax in a tub of cool water. Or add vinegar (half cup) to lukewarm bathing water and soak in it.
Rest and clothing - Remove layers of clothing and dress light. Keep the bedding light. Rest to retain energy for your body’s fight against the sickness. Limit moving around and rest / sleep as much as possible. It is advisable to stay indoors.
Fluid intake - Drink plenty of fluids like fruit juices, soups along with water to stay hydrated and help reduce the severity of the fever.
Potato and Vinegar - Soak sliced potato in vinegar for 10 minutes. Place slices on the forehead a cover them with a wet cloth. The fever will drop in about 20 minutes.
Garlic and Olive oil - Take two large garlic cloves (crushed) and mix with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Warm the mixture and apply it under each foot sole. Wrap with plastic and keep it overnight. Also, you can also mix a clove of garlic with a cup of water. On steeping, strain out the garlic and sip slowly. Helps alleviate fever symptoms.
Raisins - Crush soaked raisins (around 25) and strain. Add juice of half a lime to it and drink twice a day. Alternatively, cut ¾ cup raisins and boil with around 7 cups of water. When it comes to a boil, remove from heat, cool and strain. Drink the cooled juice 6 times through the day.
Caution - Please seek immediate medical attention for fever in the following cases.
The fever has lasted more than 48 hours. The fever is very high. It is accompanied by a stiff neck, headache, and sensitivity to light, irritability or vomiting (indications of meningitis). The fever is accompanied by diarrhea. There is heavy sweating at night. Fever is in a very young child or infant. You feel very delirious and lethargic.
One can prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that are the common causes of fever by introducing some strategies for personal and environmental hygiene -
Washing the hands with soap and water. Handling food with clean hands.
Covering the mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing.
Drinking safe and clean water. Eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Getting right amount of physical activity and sleep.
Wearing protective clothing when the weather demands.
Following children's immunization schedule.
Disposing waste in a proper manner.
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