For older adults, a fever is sometimes the first sign something’s not quite right. While some fevers are temporary and nothing much to worry about, others are more concerning and reason enough to seek medical input. Today, we’re going to focus on when you should be concerned about an elderly loved one’s fever.
Know What’s Considered “Normal” for Your Loved One
The typical temperature most people think of as normal is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, older adults often have lower baseline temperatures than younger individuals. Take your loved one’s temperature when you know he or she is medically fine so you’ll know what temperature to use as a baseline to tell what’s normal and what’s high.
Pay Attention to Fevers of Unknown Origin
If your loved one is fighting a particularly stubborn cold or recovering from an illness, you may expect him or her to have a slight fever. What you’ll really want to look for is a fever of unknown origin (FUO). According to American Family Physician, FUOs are consistent fevers of at least 101 degrees that don’t have a clear source. Fevers of this nature are less common in older adults but may be related to:
• The flu and similar viral infections
• Urinary tract infections and other bacteria-based infections
• Bedsores and other wounds
• Shingles and other skin infections
• Heat stress
• Cancerous (malignant) growths
If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of homecare. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
Be Concerned about Lingering Fevers
You should be concerned if your loved one has a fever of unknown origin that lasts for more than three weeks. This is especially true if initial efforts have been made by your loved one’s regular doctor to determine a source. If this is the case, you’ll likely be advised to continue to monitor your loved one’s fever if it’s not high enough to warrant admission to the hospital. However, additional testing may be done by your loved one’s doctor or an appropriate specialist to determine a likely source of the fever. This is important because a fever is actually a symptom of something else.
If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Scottsdale in-home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
Watch for Very High Temperature & Fever Accompanied by Other Symptoms
You should be concerned if your loved one’s fever gets to 103 degrees as you continue to monitor it. This is when you’ll want to seek immediate medical attention. It’s also advised to take this step if your loved one has a fever accompanied by:
• Headaches and/or dizziness
• Nausea and/or vomiting
• Uncharacteristic confusion or disorientation
• Difficulty breathing and/or chest pain
• A sudden rash
Watch Out for Fevers During Surgery Recovery
One other time you should be concerned about your loved one’s fever is if he or she is at home recovering from surgery. According to Healthline, it’s not unusual for a slight fever to be detected within the first few days after surgery as the body heals. What you want to be concerned about is a post-surgery fever that continues beyond this point or gets increasingly higher.
Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing a serious illness and require more extensive 24-hour care. Scottsdale seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (480) 771-2710 today.