Fever can be caused due to infection (with bacteria or viruses), vaccination, and several other reasons such as medications, injury, exercise, excessive clothing, a hot bath, or even hot weather. Treatment of fever depends on the cause and the degree of temperature.
Most fevers are caused to viral infections and need symptomatic treatment such as fever reducing medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and rest. If the fever is not high, medications to lower the temperature to normal ranges is not recommended. This can prolong the illness and possibly mask symptoms and make it difficult to diagnose the underlying cause.
Your doctor may prescribe fever reducing medications if needed. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are the medications that are most often given for fever. These medications can be bought over-the-counter. Take medications as recommended by your doctor or as per the label on the medication. Avoid taking high doses or long-term use, as these medications can cause several severe side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding and liver or kidney damage. Aspirin also reduces fever but this medication is for adults only. It should not be given to children, as it can cause a rare but potentially fatal disorder known as Reye's syndrome.
If your doctor suspects bacterial infection you will be prescribed an antibiotic. Take the medication as recommended by your doctor. Unnecessary use of antibiotics can lead to the development of resistant strains of bacteria.
Antibiotics are not useful for treatment of viral infections, such as cold and flu and stomach infection (gastroenteritis). If needed your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs, but antiviral drugs are used for treatment of few specific viral infections. Most viral infections improve with symptomatic treatment such as fever reducing medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and rest.
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