Fever: Emergency first aid
In General, a person has a fever when their body temperature is over 38°C. Fever itself is not a disease or illness, but something the body uses to fight infections caused by bacteria, for example. What can I do myself if I have a fever and when should I see a doctor?
What is a fever?
A fever is generally a response of the body’s immune system. In other words, fever is not itself an illness, but rather the body’s response to a variety of factors. These may include stress, colds, heat accumulation, as well as infections, tumours or metabolic disorders.
Note: Fevers should not be underestimated in babies, small children, older people, tumour patients or people with weakened immune systems.
What are the symptoms of a fever?
In addition to elevated body temperature, fevers are usually accompanied by other symptoms as well:
- Head and body aches
- General discomfort
- Loss of appetite
What should you do?
The following can help if you have a fever:
- Bedrest (with cooler room temperature and little light)
- Drinking plenty of tea and water
- Taking a lukewarm bath
- Leg or chest compresses
- Fever-reducing medications
See a doctor if:
- Accompanying symptoms such as vomiting, severe diarrhoea, dizziness, confusion
- Temperature above 40°C
- Fever after travelling in tropical countries
- Lack of urine production
- Unusual skin rash, joint swelling
- Severe headache, neck stiffness
- Persistent low-grade fever for several weeks
- Febrile convulsions (loss of consciousness, particularly in small children)