- Has a measured temperature of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Feels warm to the touch
- Describes feeling feverish (this is generally only taken into consideration when a thermometer isn’t available or when the individual has taken medication that would lower a fever)
What causes high fevers in seniors?
Although it’s fairly common for younger people to develop fevers without any known cause (often referred to as “fevers of unknown origin” or “FUOs”), this doesn’t occur as frequently among the elderly population. Seniors generally develop fevers as a result of illnesses or injuries including:
- Allergic reactions
- Bacterial infections (such as UTIs)
- Blood clots
- Food poisoning
- Gastrointestinal infections (such as the stomach flu)
- Heart attacks
- Heat stroke
- Inflammatory disorders (such as Crohn’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis)
- Skin infections (such as shingles)
- Viral infections (such as the flu)
- Wound infections (such as bed sores)
Certain prescription medications, such as penicillin, can also sometimes cause seniors to develop fevers.
- Regularly washing his or her hands
- Using hand sanitizer
- Making it a point to not touch his or her face
- Staying away from large crowds and people who are sick
- Cleaning and disinfecting the frequently touched surfaces and objects in his or her home
If left untreated
Particularly high fevers (generally those over 105.8 degrees) can cause a person’s organs to malfunction and eventually fail. Even fevers that don’t reach such a high temperature can be dangerous for individuals with certain health conditions. For instance, if your elderly loved one has a heart or lung disorder, a fever could put him or her at risk since it can cause someone’s heart rate and breathing rate to increase. And if your loved one has dementia, a fever could further impair his or her mental status.
To request an in-home visit, contact DispatchHealth today. You can arrange treatment by phone, on our mobile app, or through our website.