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Adults & Children

Fever in Adult 

Fever is the temporary increase in the body's temperature due to a disease or illness.  Fever helps the body to defend against bacteria and viruses. Common causes of fever are infections, heat stroke, not having enough fluids, medicines or vaccination.  

Symptoms that accompany fever include:

  •  Warm sweaty skin 
  •  Chills 
  •  Tiredness 
  •  Body ache 
  •  Joint pain 
  •  Headache or vomiting. 

An adult has a fever when the temperature is above 37.5 °C. 

What can you do 

Fever usually goes away after a few days with proper treatment. The following may be helpful in managing fever: 

  •  Drink  plenty of fluid e.g. water 
  •  Avoid caffeine-containing products 
  •  Have plenty of rest 
  •  Apply a cool towel to skin near neck and armpit areas 

When to see a doctor 

See a doctor if  

  •  Your temperature is 39.4°C  or higher  
  •  Your fever lasts more than 3 days or symptoms worsen 
  •  You have stiff neck or feel confused 
  •  New skin rashes appear 
  •  You experience very bad diarrhea, headache or vomiting 
  •  You have difficulty breathing or have chest pain 
  •  If you have cancer, AIDS, heart disease, diabetes or are taking certain medicines that weaken the immune system.  

 You can prevent illnesses that cause fever by stopping the spread of germs: 

  •  Wash your hand often with soap and water 
  •  Practice proper hygiene e.g. wash your hands before touching food or cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing 
  •  Eat a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables 
  •  Get enough sleep 

Fever in Children 

Children tend to have fever more often than adults due to their weaker immune system.   A child has a fever when the temperature is at or above one of these levels: 

  •  Oral temperature: 37.5°C 
  •  Axillary(armpit) temperature:37.2°C 
  •  Rectal temperature: 38.0°C 
  •  Ear/Forehead temperature : 37.5°C 

Common causes of fever in children are infections, overdressing (wearing clothes that are too thick), teething or vaccination.  

Fever symptoms may be less obvious in younger children. You can suspect they have a fever if they  

  •  Feel warm or hot 
  •  Appear irritable, tired or quiet 
  •  Breathe heavily 
  •  Keep crying  
  •  Have poor appetite 

What can you do 

  •  Make sure the child drinks plenty of fluid e.g. water 
  •  Make sure the child gets plenty of rest 
  •  Make sure the room is comfortable and not too hot 
  •  Dress your child in light clothing 
  •  Sponge the child’s neck and armpit areas with room temperature water 
  •  Give medicine to bring down the child’s fever 

When to see a doctor 

Bring your child to a doctor if your child: 

  • Is less than 3 months old  
  •  Has  a temperature more than 40°C 
  •  Lacks energy 
  •  Has a fever that last for more than 3 days or if child looks more unwell than before 
  •  Is dehydrated from vomiting, diarrhea or not drinking. Symptoms of dehydration include Sunken eyes, dry diapers, poor elasticity (skin go back to normal position very slowly when  pressed) 
  •  Has red or purple rashes  
  •  Has headache, stiff neck or shows discomfort towards bright light 
  •  Has difficulty in breathing, faints or does not respond 
  •  Has a fit 

You can prevent illnesses that cause fever by preventing the spread of germs: 

  •  Wash your child’s hand often with soap and water 
  •  Practice proper hygiene e.g. Wash your hands before touching food or cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing 
  •  Ensure that the child has gotten the required childhood vaccinations 
  •  Ensure your child eats a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables 
  • Ensure your child gets enough sleep

Click here to see Medication List

This article does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist. People with special health needs such as babies, children below 12 year old, elderly and pregnant ladies should see a doctor instead of self-treatment. Always read the instructions and warnings on the package before taking any medicine. 

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