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The team you can trust to treat your loved one’s high fever

If your elderly loved one has a high fever, the last thing you want to do is force him or her to leave the house and travel to a clinic for treatment. Your loved one is probably feeling under the weather to begin with, and sitting in a waiting room could expose him or her to a number of other illnesses. Luckily, there’s another option available to you that allows your loved one to get the care he or she needs without having to step foot out the door: a visit from DispatchHealth. We proudly provide in-home treatment for high fevers and a wide array of other conditions—we can treat almost everything an emergency room can—and we offer affordable rates for insured and uninsured patients.

High fever symptoms & when to seek treatment

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person has a fever if he or she either:

  • 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)

With that being said, it’s important to note that seniors often have lower body temperatures than their younger counterparts. So, a temperature that would be considered normal for a younger person might actually constitute a fever for an elderly individual. If you happen to know what your elderly loved one’s body temperature would be on a normal day, you can use that as a baseline to assess whether he or she has a fever.

It’s always a good idea to seek treatment for a high fever, since chances are good that whatever condition is causing the fever will require care. You should seek immediate help if your elderly loved one has a fever of at least 103 degrees or if he or she is also experiencing:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • An unusual or sudden rash

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
  • Cancer
  • Food poisoning
  • Gastrointestinal infections (such as the stomach flu)
  • Heart attacks
  • Heat stroke
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Inflammatory disorders (such as Crohn’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Sepsis
  • Skin infections (such as shingles)
  • Strokes
  • Sunburn
  • 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.

How to prevent & manage high fevers in seniors

Fever prevention generally comes down to avoiding the underlying conditions listed above. While some conditions can’t be prevented, your elderly loved one may be able to avoid contracting certain illnesses by:

  • 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.

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