Compared to adults, the elderly are more prone to infections and fevers. Low metabolism and low immunity make them highly susceptible to infections like viral fever, common cold and cough and even pneumonia. In fact, pneumonia happens to be the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly.
They are also at risk of drug reactions and delayed diagnosis. Quite often, a fever or infection may not show any signs or symptoms until it’s reached its peak and then is harder to treat. In some cases, elderly are also averse to visiting the doctor and taking medicines or injections, making it harder to treat them.
The symptoms of fever vary from one person to another. There are a few common symptoms you should look out for:
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling giddy
- Muscle aches
If you have an elderly family member who is suffering from fever, here are a few things you can do to break the fever and ensure they have a speedy recovery:
- Take their temperature: If their temperature is 100.4°F or higher, they have a fever. Once you have confirmed the fever, you can take the next few steps to treat it.
- Let them rest: Rest is an important part of recovery and elderly take longer to recover due to low immunity and metabolism. Ensure they have everything they while they stay in bed for the next few days.
- Ask them to drink lots of fluids: When you have fever, your energy levels are extremely low. Give them fluids to drink. They can have fluids like Electral which can balance the salt in their bodies. Even juices are fine to replenish fluid loss through sweating. Sucking on ice chips can be an option for people who are finding it hard to keep down food and water.
- Give them over the counter medicines: Give them over the counter medicines like paracetamol that are safe to use. You can also give them a mild pain killer if they have muscle aches. Please ensure these medicines do not conflict with any other medicine they may be taking. It’s best to take a doctor’s advice.
- Stay cool: It is important to stay cool during fever, to balance the body temperature. Unless they are experiencing chills, there is no need to wear extra layer of clothing. Let them stay comfortable.
- Take lukewarm baths: Taking cold showers is not good for the body during fevers, so it’s advised to take warm baths. You can also put cold compressors on their forehead to break out the fever.
- Consult the doctor: Fever usually breaks out in one to three days and you should see them improving in a day or so. In case you don’t see any improvement and they continue being uncomfortable, consult a doctor immediately.