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Fever: Debunking Major Myths

Most parents are worried about their children getting fevers. It definitely is a condition to worry about, but not every time. This is because not all temperatures above “the normal” are severe or dangerous. A number of myths have overshadowed the truth. Let us understand them one by one. 

Myth: A body temperature between 98.7°F and 100°F is fever.

Fact: Any temperature level that lies between 98.7°F and 100°F is a normal variation in the body temperature and not fever. The temperature of your body keeps on changing throughout the day depending upon factors like what you eat or drink, what you wear, how old you are, and how you are feeling from within. An actual fever is a body temperature that is equal to or more than 100.4°F.

Myth: All body temperatures above 100°F require medical attention.

Fact: A high body temperature does not always require medical attention. Sometimes, it balances out on its own. Also, there are a number of over-the-counter medications available for easy treatment of fever. Most temperatures get normal with time without medical attention from a doctor. Other remedies can be initiated at home including:

  • Wearing loose clothes.
  • Drinking lots of fluids, except alcohol.
  • Stay in bed and rest.
  • Take a bath with lukewarm water. 

Myth: The exact temperature (number) is very important. 

Fact: The exact number does not tell anything about the severity of the infection. It is not important to note the temperature unless the fever lasts for a longer time than usual. If the numbers are high, no conclusion can be made regarding the severity of the infection without a blood test. Plus, if you or your child (whosoever is having a fever) looks well, the condition may not be very serious.

Myth: Cancer patients get severe fevers easily.

Fact: Fever can be a sign of your body fighting infections. It is one of the “good boys”. However, fever in cancer patients might be common because they have a comparatively weaker immune system. This makes them prone to opportunistic infections. There is no clinical evidence to prove this though.

Myth: Fevers are very dangerous and can cause serious brain damage.

Fact: As said before, having a fever indicates that your body or immune system is trying to fight off the infections. It is a protective mechanism. Moreover, fevers do not cause any damage to the brain. If your child looks fine, there is nothing to be worried about unless other symptoms are also visible or felt.

Note: This article is published for informative purposes only. Please do not consider any advice as a substitute for medical prescriptions or appointments. Get immediate support from your health professional in case of severe symptoms.

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