Fever refers to elevated body temperature. Normal oral measurement is 98.6 F (37 C) or the normal rectal temperature is 99 F (37.2 C). Your normal temperature may actually be 1 F (0.6 C) or more above or below the average of 98.6 F. Fever is not considered medically significant until body temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever serves as one of the body’s natural defenses against bacteria and viruses. It is a non-specific symptom and can happen in both infectious and non-infectious diseases.
Fevers of 104 F (40 C) or higher demand immediate home treatment and subsequent medical attention, as they can result in body organ damage. It can also cause seizures in children and less commonly in adults. Go to nearest appropriate medical facility if you or your child has a high temperature. It’s best to take age appropriate dose of either acetaminophen or ibuprofen or contact your doctor ASAP if you are not sure what to do. YOUR DOCTOR IS YOUR BEST SOURCE OF MEDICAL INFORMATION. Untreated high temperature can cause side effects and could be a sign of serious underlying disease.
- Never give aspirin to children or adolescents
- Never immerse anyone with fever in ICE water
- Tepid water baths (85 F 30) are OK
- Wet towel is preferred
- Never sponge an adult or child with alcohol, as this is dangerous
- Don’t ignore a restless child with high fever, as kids are susceptible to febrile seizures
The common cold, also known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection, is a self-limited contagious illness that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses. More than 200 different types of viruses are known to cause the common cold. In fact, children in preschool and elementary school can have three to 12 colds per year while adolescents and adults typically have two to four colds per year. The common cold is the most frequently occurring illness in the world, and it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work.
Common cold vs. Influenza
Common cold is frequently confused with influenza. The influenza virus causes influenza, while the common cold generally is not. While some of the symptoms of the common cold and influenza may be similar, patients with the common cold typically have a milder illness. Patients with influenza are usually sicker and have a more abrupt onset of illness with fever, chills, headache, body aches, dry cough, and extreme weakness. There is lab testing available at your doctor’s office to differentiate between common cold and influenza when the indication exists.
The following is the best resource for up-to-date information and education related to flu for Texans. It’s really a comprehensive website for flu related questions specific to our area.
This CDC article about “H1N1 and You” answers the most commonly asked questions and is an excellent source of information.