The change in the seasons brings along a series of health problems to children and adults alike. It is a natural process where the body is trying to adapt to the change in atmospheric temperature/humidity. During this transition, some people with lower immunity fall sick where the body takes more than its normal stipulated time to get used to the change. Fever is one of the symptoms of any such sickness.
Any cold/cough or stomach flu or any infection is manifested in the form of fever. Fever is when the temperature of the body is higher than the normal and is a part of our immune system’s natural response to any infection.
What happens in fever?
- Certain symptoms like chills/body ache/headache may be accompanied with fever depending on the type of infection.
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Loss of appetite
- Increase in body’s metabolism
- Body temperature goes beyond the normal temperature of 98.6 degree Fahrenheit.
Dealing with Fever
Do’s and Don’ts in a fever
- Wash your hands often - you may not want to spread the infections.
- Put cold cloths on the forehead or arm to bring down the temperature.
- Have good ventilation in the house. Proper air circulation helps to get in fresh air and also help to bring down the temperature.
- Wear light clothing - wear loose cotton clothes that ‘breathe’. Do not wear layers of clothes or cover yourself with a sweater or thick blanket since it can trap heat and not bring down your body’s temperature.
- Eat simple and easily digestible food - simple home cooked meals which are easily digestible like rice or idli should be taken, which can give quick energy and not load your digestive system.
- Keep hydrated - since there is an increase in the body’s metabolic rate, dehydration is very common during fever. Drink plenty of liquids like plain water, juices, soups and coconut water.
- Take rest - since body is fighting with the infection during fever, taking lot of rest can support our immune system to do its job.
- Don’t make any travel plans - since your body is already trying to adapt to the changing environment, another change will take a longer time for the body to come back to its equilibrium.
- Popping a pill/paracetamol - don't pop a pill if the temperature is 100 degree F. One of the body’s mechanism to fight with the bacteria/virus is by raising the temperature. If the temperature increases beyond 102 degree F accompanied with body pain or severe fatigue, check with your doctor for the medications.
Tips for fever in children
- In children, the symptoms may vary, treatment should be given as per the symptoms.
- Apart from the fever going beyond 101 degree F, symptoms such as lethargy, fatigue, sleepiness are present, then it is better to get the advice of a paediatrician and start them on antipyretic medicines.
- Include herbs and spices like dry ginger, ajwain and pepper in the preparations which help to fight the infection and removes toxins from the body, also aids in restoring appetite.
- Keep them well hydrated. Soups, rava/rice ganji, thin khichdi/pongal are easily digestible, gives the required energy and keeps the body hydrated.
- Never force feed the child during fever since loss of appetite is a way for body to concentrate on fighting with the infection.
Ayurvedic treatment options
- Kashaya - for 100ml of water, add 3g of dry ginger powder + 5g of ajwain + 3g of pepper powder + 2 cloves + small piece of cinnamon stick, boil it till the colour changes or reduce it till half. Strain and add jaggery, drink kashaya once or twice a day. This helps to detox the body and to improve appetite and digestion.
- Mahasudarshan Gana Vati - for adults and children above 3 years of age, take 1 tablet, 3-4 times a day, for children (2-3yrs) ½ tab 3-4 times a day
Since fever is just a symptom, efforts should be taken to find what is causing the fever. Give body some time to deal with the problem. If possible help the body to fight the infection by giving it enough rest, fluids and energy. This will go a long way in building up the immunity and avoid the unnecessary side effects of medications.