By: Dr. Cooper, The Pharmacist – The Voice of Medication – Dr. Tremain Cooper, LLC
One of the most common conditions leading families into the pharmacy seeking relief is fever. A fever happens when your body temperature elevates higher than 100°F (37.8°C). The primary purpose of treating fever is to relieve the discomfort associated with it and eliminate the underlying cause of the fever, not necessarily to lower the temperature. Elevated body temperature can be a positive warning that something more serious is going on within the body. However, we do want patients to obtain relief from the discomfort. We have tools to help us do just that. What are the best techniques and strategies available to treat fevers? The techniques and strategies are circumstantial and patient specific but involve a combination of both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical methods. The most important thing to remember with a fever is to obtain an accurate measurement with an FDA-approved thermometer and never rely solely on feeling the body to measure fever.
CAUSES OF FEVER
Common Causes of Fever: Pyrogens, bacterial and viral infections, unknown causes, diseases, street drugs, intense physical activity, dehydration, heat, inflammation, metabolic disorders.
List of Medications that cause ‘drug fever’: Antibiotics, cancer drugs, heart medication, blood pressure medication, adhd medication, anti-depressants, gout drugs, prednisone. Drug fever occurs only after medications are ingested.
Identifying the cause of the fever is important to determine the best course of action. The best course of action may not include medication. Most fevers go away naturally.
ACCURATELY MEASURING A FEVER
Types of Thermometers: Rectal, Armpit, Oral, Temporal, Tympanic.
Non-Mercury Thermometers: Thermometers containing mercury are harmful to the environment.
There is a difference between a rise in body temperature and a rise in skin temperature. A thermometer is the proper way to measure a rise in body temperature. The more accurate the measure the easier it is to assess the potential danger. Rectal measurements give the best temperature readings. Oral measurements are the easiest and most comfortable.
TREATING THE FEVER
Common Signs and Symptoms of a fever: Headache, diaphoresis, fatigue, chills, rapid heartbeat, bone pain, muscle pain, irritability, and anorexia
Complications of fever: Seizures, brain damage, dehydration, change in mental status, and death
We choose to treat patients with fever to prevent complications. High fever decreases your ability to think intellectually and makes people delirious and disoriented. The complications of an untreated fever can result in death.
11 RECOMMENDATION FOR TREATING FEVER
- IBUPROFEN (Motrin®) (Advil®)
- ACETAMINOPHEN (Tylenol®)
- ASPIRIN (Bayer®)
- NAPROXEN SODIUM (Aleve®)
- MAGNESIUM SALICYLATE (Doan’s®)
- ADEQUATE FLUID INTAKE
- BODY SPONGING. Do not use isopropyl or ethyl alcohol because of the risk of alcohol poisoning.
- ICE WATER BATHS
- WEARING LIGHTWEIGHT CLOTHING
- REMOVING BLANKETS
- MAINTAIN COMFORTABLE ROOM TEMPERATURE