Facts About Fevers

older man with wet towel on his head(BlackDoctor.org) — You know the feeling. You’re achy and run down. Something’s not quite right. When you finally get home and reach for the thermometer, you soon find that your temperature’s above normal. You have a fever—a sign that something is out of balance in your body.

Fevers aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, by turning up the heat, a fever can help you fight off disease-causing bacteria and viruses, which tend to grow and flourish at the body’s normal temperature. Fever also activates your body’s immune system, which protects you against infection.

Normal body temperature is considered to be 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. “But in reality there’s a lot of individual variation in the ‘normal’ temperature,” says Dr. Fred Gill, chief of the internal medicine consult service at NIH’s Clinical Center. “Body temperature often fluctuates throughout the day. It tends to be higher in the afternoon and early evening and is typically lower in the middle of the night. A slight rise in temperature without other symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a fever.”

In general, doctors don’t consider you to have a fever until your temperature reaches 100.4 degrees. Fever can make you feel uncomfortable and have trouble sleeping, but it’s rarely dangerous in adults. It’s different for infants under 3 months old. They should be evaluated by a doctor for any fever that reaches 100.4 degrees.

Fever often brings the shivers. You feel chilled because blood vessels in your skin tighten and shrink, keeping warm blood deeper within your body and making your skin feel cold. As a result, your muscles contract and you shiver. Fevers often start to subside when you begin to sweat. Sweating is good because it helps your body cool down and return your temperature to normal.

Infections are the most common cause of fever, but there are many other triggers. Toxins, certain medications, cancer and diseases that weaken the immune system are a few of the things that can cause your temperature to rise.

Fever in children between 6 months and 5 years of age can sometimes cause febrile (fever-induced) seizures. During a febrile seizure, a child often loses consciousness and shakes. Most seizures last just a minute or 2. Although they can be frightening to parents, febrile seizures are usually harmless.

In general, if a fever is mild and you have no other major symptoms, simply drink fluids and get plenty of rest. If a child with a fever is comfortable, drinking liquids and sleeping well, no treatment is needed.

Over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to control discomfort. Adults can generally take aspirin, but children and teens with fever should avoid it because aspirin increases the risk of a rare and sometimes deadly disease called Reye’s syndrome.

When giving children medication, follow your pediatrician’s recommendation. Check the label as well to make sure you’re giving the right dose for your child’s weight.


Stroke And HBP Found In Pregnant Women With Migraines

Happy couple finding out results of a pregnancy test(BlackDoctor.org) — Acccording to a new study, pregnant women who have migraines might have a higher risk haveing a stroke, high blood pressure, and blood clots.

Migraine describes a cluster of symptoms that usually includes a severe throbbing pain on one side of the head accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness or extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Women who experienced migraines during pregnancy were 15 times as likely to also suffer a stroke, the study, published online today by British Medical Journal, found.

Stroke is rare in women who are expecting, about four cases for every 100,000 births, “so this relative increase is not as alarming as it might seem,” the researchers, led by Cheryl Bushnell, a neurologist at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, wrote in the paper. Still, doctors treating pregnant women admitted to hospitals with active migraines should help to reduce the risk of vascular ailments and treat pregnancy complications, the researchers said.

“This is very, very interesting,” said Anne MacGregor, director of clinical studies at the Migraine Clinic in London, in an interview. “We just have to be careful about how this is interpreted.”

Because the results are preliminary, women shouldn’t panic, said MacGregor, who wasn’t involved in the research.

Body Changes

The most probable explanation for the link is the interaction between migraines and changes in the body during pregnancy, such as increased blood volume and heart rate, which put more stress on the circulatory system, the study’s authors said. The scientists couldn’t say whether migraines cause the blood-vessel, or vascular, conditions or vice versa.

“Because these data do not allow determination of which came first, migraine or the vascular condition, prospective studies of pregnant women are needed to explore this association further,” the researchers wrote.

The study used a U.S. database of more than 18 million hospital records, identifying almost 34,000 pregnancy-related discharges with a diagnosis of migraine from 2000 to 2003. The researchers then searched the records to establish a connection to vascular complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure and blood clots.

Blood Clots

Migraines tripled the risk of venous blood clots and doubled the risk of heart disease, the study found. Women with vascular risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure and cigarette smoking were also strongly linked to migraines.

The study only picked up a subset of afflicted patients, and may not reflect the actual situation because migraine often disappears in pregnancy, MacGregor said. Symptoms of blood-vessel conditions may have been misdiagnosed.

Migraine headache occurs in up to 26 percent of women of childbearing age and one-third of women between the ages of 35 and 39, the study said. Although very common in this age group, little is known about the prevalence of migraine during pregnancy.

The study won’t change how doctors treat their migraine patients, MacGregor said.

“This will not change clinical practice,” she said. “The strength is not there.”