Treatment of Fever at Home

Fever or pyrexia can be defined as body temperature higher than normal body temperature. According to studies on many healthy individuals 18 to 40 years of age, the mean oral temperature is 36.8° ± 0.4° Centigrade (98.2° ± 0.7° Fahrenheit). Low levels are seen at 6 A.M. and the maximum normal oral temperature at 6 A.M. is 37.2°C (98.9°F). Higher levels of body temperature are seen at 4 to 6 P.M. and the maximum normal oral temperature at 4 to 6 P.M. is 37.7°C (99.9°F). These values define the 99th percentile for healthy individuals. So according to these studies, an A.M. temperature of more than 37.2°C (98.9°F) or a P.M. temperature of more than 37.7°C (99.9°F) could be defined as fever.

For checking the body temperature, always take oral temperature with a thermometer. Keep the thermometer just below tongue for about 2-3 minutes to get the best result. If the patient of fever is a baby and can not cooperate to take oral temperature, you can take temperature from axilla (keep the thermometer for 2-3 minutes in axilla).

The most of the fevers in an individual is due to self limiting infections, such as common viral diseases (e.g. common cold or flu). In these types of common viral infections temperature is usually very close to 100°F (little more than 100°F or little less).

If the fever is less than 100°F it can be tried at home first, by giving cold sponging (wipe the body or the lower and upper limbs with cold water every few minutes till temperature comes down to normal). This simple measure will bring down the temperature to normal in maximum cases with out any medication. If the temperature do not come down with cold sponging for 30 minutes or more than you can give paracetamol (acetaminophen) at the dose of 10 mg/kg body weight orally either tablet or as liquid. This will bring down temperature to normal. If there no reduction in fever, you should consult your doctor. You should also not try to treat fever at home if it is more than 100°F (see your doctor for that).

If you have fever you should drink plenty of fluids as there is evaporation of water through lungs and sweat, which you should replace by drinking plenty of oral fluid (water, fruit juice etc.).