When one has a fever, it can indicate a variety of conditions, including infection. The normal temperature slightly differs from the average body temperature of 37 C or 98.6 F. For infants and young children, especially
the newborns, a slight elevated temperature can indicate a serious condition. As for the adults, a fever is not considered dangerous until it goes up to 39.4 C or 103 F or even higher. Adults who are suffering from fever below 38.9 C or 102 F should not be treated using any medications unless it is instructed by your doctor. For fever of 38.9 C or 102 F or higher, your doctor usually recommends over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Aspirin can be used by adults but it is not recommended for adolescents and children below 19 years old. Take note that it might trigger Reye’s syndrome, which is a rare but fatal disorder. Additionally, do not give ibuprofen to infants below 6 months old.
Taking the temperature
If you are using the latest thermometers, most of them provide a digital reading. Some take the temperature in the ear canal quickly, making them useful for older adults and young children. Other thermometers are used orally, under the arm or rectally. If you are going to use a digital thermometer, make sure that you have carefully read the instructions so that you can take the temperature accurately. On normal circumstances, the temperature is usually elevated at 4-6PM and at its lowest around 6AM.
Taking the temperature orally is simple. All you have to do is to position the bulb of the thermometer under the tongue. Instruct the individual to close the mouth for the required length of time or once you hear a beep, usually in a minute.
Even though this method could not provide accurate results, an oral thermometer can be used. Simply position the thermometer on the axilla with the arm down. The arm should be held across the chest. Wait for the results for one minute or when there is a beep.
Rectal route for infants
For young children, the rectal route of taking the temperature is usually used. Initially, apply a lubricant on the bulb of the thermometer and position the child on his/her stomach. Insert the bulb carefully ½ – 1inch into the rectum and hold in place for a minute or until the beep sounds.
When to seek medical attention
It is important to seek medical help for fever if a child younger than 2 years old has fever for more than a day or more than 3 days as well as babies older than 3 months with a temperature of 38.9 C or 102 F or higher. As for adults, temperature higher than 39.4 C or 103 F or fever for more than 3 days should seek medical attention. It is important that you learn all about fever and the causes. Taking the temperature is an important part of advanced first aid training that you have to be familiar with.