Brugada Patients: How to manage a Fever at Home
A fever is a part of the body’s defence against an inflammatory response such as infection. An oral temperature around 98.6° F (37° C) is considered normal. However, people with Brugada Syndrome should be advised to manage their fevers much more carefully as high fever in patients who have Brugada Syndrome can cause heart rhythm disturbances, which can occasionally be dangerous.
How do you know if you have a fever?
- Take your temperature if you have a thermometer. A temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher is generally considered a fever.
- Check for signs of dehydration. One significant result of a fever is that patients can get or feel dehydrated.
- Look for especially strong signs of a fever. You could experience hotness, dehydration, muscle aches, and general weakness, or more severely hallucinations, confusion or irritability or convulsions/seizures. If you do experience any of the following, or have cause to believe that your fever is above 104°F (40°C), see a doctor immediately.
- Shivering. If you suddenly feel very cold and are shivering, sometimes uncontrollably, this is often a sign you are having what is called a rigor. A rigor is an episode of shaking or exaggerated shivering which can occur with a high fever. It is an extreme reflex response which occurs for a variety of reasons. It should not be ignored, as it is often a marker for significant and sometimes serious infections. Resist the temptation to pull on extra layers, though that will be difficult – your body is not cold, it is actually hot and is trying to “shake off” the temperature. Adding layers or warmth will make your temperature even higher, so see a doctor immediately.
In children, fevers may come on quite suddenly and are the first symptom of illnesses such as the flu. Go to the emergency department if fever cannot be controlled, or other symptoms worsen.
It is important to try to treat the underlying problem causing the fever.
Here are a few pointers to help you manage your fever at home.
Take a fever reducing medication.
Take appropriate medicines for fever. Several medicines target fevers:
- Paracetamol (Panadol)
Take these over-the-counter medications as the label suggests, to try to help bring down your fever.
Extra caution should be used when giving medication to children, make sure you read the label or ask your pharmacist for advice. If you use paracetamol to reduce the fever, be careful to avoid taking other medicines that also contain paracetamol as it is important not to overdose. Do not take aspirin for a fever if you are younger than 19. Do not take ibuprofen on an empty stomach. All these medications are safe to take for people with Brugada Syndrome. If an infection is present and antibiotics have been prescribed, take them as directed. Finish them even if you start to feel better, as this will ensure the infection is cleared and help avoid recurrence of symptoms.
Simple Effective Measures:
- Remove layers of clothing. Bundling under layers of clothing and blankets traps heat, making a fever last longer than usual.
- Lower the room temperature. Reduce the temperature of your home to help yourself keep cool.
- Take a bath. If you want some relief and a treatment for your fever, go relax in a tub full of lukewarm, but not cold, water. The water will help to cool the skin and will evaporate as you soak, cooling you further. Do not have a hot bath under any circumstances, either with or without a fever.
- Sponge down. If a bath doesn’t sound too appealing, use a moist towel instead. Soak small towels in lukewarm, not cold, water and dab them over your body. Again, you will benefit from the further cooling by evaporation. Tepid sponging is recommended for children.
- Get lots of rest. Your body is fighting against a sickness and needs plenty of energy to heal itself. Help provide this by limiting activity and resting or sleeping as much as possible.
- Stay hydrated. Along with rest, your body needs plenty of liquids to fight the illness in your body, especially if you are fasting.
- If your fever is due to a stomach upset (diarrhoea and/or vomiting, with or without stomach cramps) it might be worth having a liquid-only diet for a short time to avoid feeding the bacteria causing your illness On the other hand, the antioxidants packed into fruit and vegetables can sometimes reduce fevers. Therefore, if your fever is not caused by a stomach upset you should flood your body with antioxidant-rich whole foods.
- Eat cold foods. In addition to cooling your body from the outside in, eating cold foods helps reduce body temperature from the inside out.
- Stay indoors. Unless you’re already outdoors when your fever comes on, it’s best to curl up and rest indoors where the air is dry and the temperature won’t change much.
SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:
- You are unable to keep fluids down for more than 24 hours.
- You are not feeling at least partly better after three days.
- You develop new symptoms or problems.
- You cannot get your fever under control with medication and the simple measures suggested.
SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:
- You have shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- You develop excessive weakness
- You feel your heart beating fast in your chest (palpitations)
- You are dizzy or you faint
- You are extremely thirsty or you are making little or no urine
- You have persistent vomiting and diarrhoea for more than one or two days.
- You develop a stiff neck or your eyes become sensitive to light
- You develop a skin rash
- You have a fever or persistent symptoms for more than two to three days
- You have a fever and your symptoms suddenly get worse
Call Healthline (NZ) on 0800 611 116 for free advice from registered nurses, with regard to managing your fever.