Fever may cause dizziness
Fever with discomfort in the head and neck area
The normal core body temperature in humans is around 37 degrees Celsius, from fever If the temperature measured in the rectum (in the anus) is above 38.0 degrees Celsius, between 37.5 and 38 degrees Celsius one speaks of elevated or subfebrile temperature. If the temperature is measured under the armpit, 37.6 degrees Celsius is considered a fever.
In women, the body temperature fluctuates by up to 0.5 degrees Celsius over the course of the cycle. It is highest in the days shortly after ovulation.
Fever is triggered by chemical messengers in the immune system that are produced when the body is dealing with inflammation. Most of the time, the body then deals with infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria and fungi; injuries, autoimmune diseases or tumors are less common. Extreme exertion like running a marathon also leads to a fever.
Although fever is unpleasant because of the pronounced feeling of illness associated with it, as well as the sometimes severe headache and pain in the limbs, it has positive effects: By increasing the core body temperature, parts of the immune system work faster, more antibodies are formed and the aggressiveness of some pathogens is reduced. But that only applies to a moderate fever of up to 39 degrees Celsius. It is all the more important to differentiate precisely whether an antipyretic therapy is necessary - after all, the duration of the illness is usually shortened by three days in the case of influenza, for example, if antipyretic therapy is not used.
If the cause is fever over 39 degrees Celsius and the cause is unclear, antipyretic therapy is almost always recommended, as the disadvantages of the high fever outweigh the advantages. If the cause is known to be an infection with a bacterium or virus, at least one can dispense with medication to lower the fever. If the fever rises to 40 degrees Celsius and higher, the general practitioner or pediatrician should always be asked for a home visit or what needs to be done. In some cases, the doctor even advises you to be hospitalized.
A fever is always a serious sign that something is wrong in the body. Since it occurs as an accompanying symptom of many diseases, a close observation of the remaining symptoms is usually the best way to discover the actual trigger. Especially when there are additional complaints in the head and neck area such as very severe headaches, throat or ear pain, there may be more to the fever than just a harmless cold.
Usually the family doctor or pediatrician determines the cause of the fever by asking about the medical history, a physical examination and possibly one or two urine and blood tests or at least narrow down which organ is diseased.
Urine and blood tests if you have a fever. The fever cannot be directly detected in the laboratory, but some of the messenger substances and metabolic reactions of the underlying inflammatory processes can. The following are most commonly used in the doctor's office:
- The Blood sedimentation, more precisely the Determination of the sedimentation rate (BSG). This is very often increased in febrile illnesses, but is still considered to be a rather unreliable value - because on the one hand it reacts relatively slowly, but on the other hand it can be increased for weeks after an infection has healed.
- The C-reactive protein (CRP) is the more modern alternative to blood sedimentation. The CRP is a so-called acute phase protein that increases 6 to 12 hours at the latest after the start of the inflammatory reaction. But both CRP and the blood sedimentation only prove that there is inflammation, but say nothing about the specific cause.
- Here z. B. that Procalcitonin (PCT). It is the best laboratory test for detecting bacterial infection. Very high values above 10 ng / ml mean danger to life from blood poisoning.
- If you have a fever, the blood count very often shows an increase in white blood cells (Leukocytosis), the "police" in the body's defense system. However, some pathogens such as many viruses also lead to leukopenia, i.e. a reduction in white blood cells.
- Urine tests are useful for confirming suspected cystitis or inflammation of the urinary tract or renal pelvis.
Sometimes, despite all diagnostic measures, it is not possible to find the cause of the fever: despite intensive diagnostics with many laboratory tests, x-rays, sonography and other imaging procedures, the cause of the fever remains unclear. Here the doctor speaks of Fever of unknown cause (often abbreviated to English FUO = fever of unknown origin). A hospital admission may even be necessary, if z. B. a creeping but nevertheless life-threatening inflammation of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis) is behind it.
A distinction from fever is overheating (hyperthermia) due to excessive heat input from the outside: This can occur with heat exhaustion or sunstroke, or with some - very rare - metabolic disorders in the muscles. In the latter, also known as malignant hyperthermia, the metabolism in the muscles of hereditary predisposed people derails after the administration of certain anesthetics. As a result, the muscles generate a lot of heat - the body temperature can then rise to over 44 degrees Celsius.
It is also important to correctly interpret the body's signals: While you freeze when the temperature rises and your hands and feet feel cold, the opposite effect occurs when the temperature, e.g. B. after taking an antipyretic drug, decreases again. The body then responds with a sensation of heat and sweating.
Symptoms, their causes, measures and self-help
Severe headache with stiff neck and high fever; Vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise; often rapid clouding of consciousness; possibly paralysis, speech disordersmore
Headache, often with pain in the limbs Cold signs and moderate to high fevermore
Throbbing forehead or facial pain that intensifies when stooping with moderate fever; Sniff; with or after coldsmore
Headache during / after prolonged stay in extreme heat with a high fever; Dizziness, vomiting, drowsiness; Skin red and hot, later gray, severe thirst, dry mouthmore
Painful blisters and / or ulcers in the mouth with a high fever; Salivation, often bad breath; swollen lymph nodes in the corner of the jawmore
Pain or tightness in the mouth with a fever; usually swelling, redness, and / or pus bladder; often known tooth (meat) diseasemore
Sore throat and swallowing pain with fever; swollen lymph nodes in the corner of the jaw, possibly runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis) and / or earache, possibly rashmore
Moderately tender nodules or swellings on the side of the face or neck with a fever; often signs of cold; moderate to severe sore throatmore
Sore throat with increasing difficulty in breathing and fever; Hoarseness or lumpy speech; bubbling or dragging sound of breathmore
Severe earache with fever; often runny nose, headache; possible discharge of secretionmore
Severe headache with stiff neck and high fever; Vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise; often rapid clouding of consciousness; possibly paralysis, speech disorders
- Call an emergency doctor or go straight to the nearest clinic
Headache, often with aching limbs Cold signs and moderate to high fever
- On the same day to the family doctor if the fever lasts> 3 days or rises again after a few days' fever break
Throbbing forehead or facial pain that intensifies when stooping with moderate fever; Sniff; with or after colds
- Immediately to the family doctor in severe pain or high fever, otherwise the next day
- Decongestant nasal drops (maximum 5 days)
- Steam inhalations, e.g. B. with salt or camomile solution
- Cold quark toppings
- red light
- Plant extracts, e.g. B. Gelomyrtol® or Sinupret®
Headache during / after prolonged stay in extreme heat with a high fever; Dizziness, vomiting, drowsiness; Skin red and hot, later gray, severe thirst, dry mouth
- Call an emergency doctor or go to the nearest clinic immediately if consciousness is poor
- Carefully cool the head with water, cold footbath, wet clothes, lay flat
- If the person concerned is still fit, take a shower
Painful blisters and / or ulcers in the mouth with a high fever; Salivation, often bad breath; swollen lymph nodes in the corner of the jaw
- Mouth rot (aphthous stomatitis)
- Hand, mouth and foot disease
- Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG, severe inflammation of the oral mucosa)
- With rash: erythema exudativum multiforme
- On the same day to the pediatrician, general practitioner, ENT or dentist
- Make sure you drink enough (e.g. cold chamomile tea or cool water), possibly with a straw
- Brushing or gargling, e.g. B. with chamomile, sage or myrrh tincture (e.g. Repha-Os-Mundspray®)
Pain or tightness in the mouth with a fever; usually swelling, redness, and / or pus bladder; often known tooth (meat) disease
- The same day to the dentist
- Cold compresses or ice packs on the sore cheek
Sore throat and swallowing pain with fever; swollen lymph nodes in the corner of the jaw, possibly runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis) and / or ear pain, possibly rash
- On the same or the next day to the family doctor with a fever> 39 degrees Celsius or a strong feeling of illness
- Onion wrap
- Gargle z. B. with Dolo-Dobendan® solution, sage or chamomile tea
- Pain reliever lozenges (e.g. Dorithricin®)
- Cold teas (gargle or drink)
Moderately tender nodules or swellings on the side of the face or neck with a fever; often signs of cold; moderate to severe sore throat
- If you have a high fever, go to your doctor the same day
Sore throat with increasing difficulty in breathing and fever; Hoarseness or lumpy language; bubbling or dragging sound of breath
- Pseudo croup
- Purulent epiglottitis
- Other purulent inflammations on the epiglottis and larynx
Self-help with known pseudo croup:
- Calm down, fresh air
- Spray (Infektokrupp®) or cortisone suppositories (Rectodelt®) prescribed by the doctor
Severe earache with fever; often runny nose, headache; possible discharge of secretion
- See your house doctor or ENT doctor immediately if swelling occurs behind the earlobe or symptoms that have already subsided increase
- Otherwise to the doctor on the same day
Your pharmacy recommends
Fever is only a symptom - especially if there are further complaints in the head and neck area, the triggering illness should be clarified by the doctor. If the body suffers severely from the unpleasant side effects of fever, there are a few things that can be done at home.
So-called "antipyretics" should only be used if the fever has risen above 39 degrees Celsius, the body is excessively stressed or the feverish person has to be fit, e. B. on a business trip. Even if the severe symptoms prevent a peaceful sleep, taking an antipyretic can significantly improve sleep. Above all, three active ingredients are suitable: paracetamol, acetylsalicylic acid and ibuprofen. All three suppress the formation of prostaglandins, the messenger substances that cause the fever. In addition, they have an analgesic effect and help against headaches and body aches. Before each intake, you should clarify with your doctor or pharmacist which medication is suitable in each individual case. Particular caution is required, especially with children and pregnant women.
- Paracetamol e.g. B. ben-u-ron®, Paracetamol Stada®. The single dose for lowering fever is 500–1000 mg for adults. Take no more than every 4–6 hours. A single dose should not exceed 1000 mg. The maximum dose per day, depending on body weight and age, is 2000–4000 mg, but side effects are already common at this dose (e.g. increase in liver values). Warning: Acetylsalicylic acid (e.g. Aspirin®) must not be used in children under 16 years of age or in pregnant women.
- Acetylsalicylic acid e.g. B. Aspirin®, ASS® (from Heumann, Hexal, ct, ratiopharm, Stada etc.). The single dose for lowering fever is 300–600 mg for adults, depending on body weight and age. Take no more than every 4–6 hours. A single dose should not exceed 1000 mg. The maximum daily dose, depending on weight and age, is 300–4000 mg, but side effects are to be expected at this dose (heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, possibly ringing in the ears - especially in older people).
- Ibuprofen e.g. B. Ibuprof®, Dolormin®, Brufen®, Jenaprofen® etc. The single dose for lowering fever is 200–400 mg for adults, depending on body weight and age. Take no more than every 6 hours. A single dose should not exceed 800 mg. The maximum dose per day, depending on body weight and age, is 1200–2400 mg; side effects are to be expected at this dose (especially heartburn, nausea, stomach pain - especially in the elderly).
Drink a lot.
For every degree Celsius increase in temperature, the body needs an additional liter of fluid per day. Tea or just water are particularly suitable to meet the increased fluid requirement. Since feverish people sleep or doze a lot, however, drinking is often forgotten. As a reminder, drinks should therefore be placed within sight of the bed. A simple rule helps to check the amount of water you drink: if the amount of urine is the same as on healthy days, you are drinking enough fluids.
Dissipate heat to the outside.
If the body "glows", cooling from the outside sometimes helps. Often it is sufficient to dress more easily or just cover up thinly. Wet calf compresses, washing with a cool, dampened washcloth or a lukewarm bath are tried and tested home remedies for excessively high body temperature. You don't have to overdo it: Since the heat is transported to the body surface via the blood, the compresses should not be too cold. When it is very cold, the blood vessels contract and the body's heat is hardly released to the outside.
If you are not too weak, a walk in the cool air is also a good thing and helps to keep your head clear.
Take things easy.
Even if feverish people feel weak themselves - the body works at full speed to ward off invading germs. It is all the more important not to put additional strain on the body. Appropriate breaks on the sofa or even bed rest are just as effective as a gentle diet. You should eat what you want. This is especially true for children and old people, who tend to refuse to eat. Light foods such as soups or steamed vegetables are supposed to relieve the circulation, but an ice cream or a cola with a lot of sugar, which is otherwise forbidden, can be good for the body.
Some active ingredients from phytotherapy act like natural fever reducers, above all the ingredients of the willow bark. An antipyretic tea is easy to prepare yourself: slowly heat a teaspoon of bark with 1/4 liter of cold water to a boil, then let it steep for five minutes and drink it in sips. Other plants such as elderflower and linden blossom tend to have a sweat-inducing effect.
Whether vitamin C supports the immune system has not yet been scientifically proven, at least with regard to colds. In any case, vitamin C does not have a direct effect on the fever. But if you believe in vitamin C, you can choose between natural sources such as fruits and beetroot juice or vitamin preparations from the pharmacy.
AuthorsDr. med. Arne Schäffler; Dr. med. Brigitte Strasser-Vogel; in: Gesundheit heute, edited by Dr. med. Arne Schäffler. Trias, Stuttgart, 3rd edition (2014). Editing: Sara Steer | last changed on at 09:29
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