What is fever?
Fever is a body temperature that is higher than normal. In medical terms, fever or pyrexia is a temperature above 100.4 °F (38 °C). A normal temperature can vary from person to person, but it is usually around 98.6 °F (37 °C). It is not a disease but a sign that your body is trying to fight an illness or infection.
Blood cancer (leukemia or lymphoma) patients will often have fever as an early symptom. Certain cancer treatments (chemotherapy) may cause a fever. Such treatments destroy white blood cells and weakens immune system, making the patient more vulnerable to inflammation and infection.
How bad is my fever?
Mild: 38.0 – 39.0 °C (100.4 -102.2 °F). However, even a mild fever will require immediate attention from your medical team if you are on chemotherapy or have been told that you have a weak immune system.
Moderate: 39.0 – 40.0 °C (102.3 -104.0 °F). Medical assistance is needed.
Severe: More than >40.0 °C (>104.0 °F) for <=24 hrs. Urgent hospitalization is needed.
How to manage mild fever?
Keep track of your body temperature using Ankr (myAnkr web portal or the Ankr app). It will help you describe the discomfort to your doctor or nurse.
Even a mild fever will require immediate attention from your medical team if you are on chemotherapy or have been told that you have a weak immune system.
TIP: If your clinic has created the Ankr account, they may be able to see that you have a fever in real-time. You will need to mark your fever as a “Severe” symptom on the myAnkr website or the Ankr app. If you don’t get a response from your clinic within 1 hour, please seek immediate medical care.
- Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water.
- Avoid alcohol, tea, and coffee as these drinks can cause dehydration.
- Avoid taking cold baths or showers. Skin reacts to the cold by constricting its blood vessels, which will trap body heat. The cold may also cause shivering, which can generate more heat
- Limit your physical activities.
- Make sure to take bed rest.
- If fever is a side effect of chemotherapy, the doctor may suggest colony-stimulating factors, such as Neupogen (filgrastim) drugs. They work well to boost the white blood cell count.
How to manage moderate and severe fever?
Call your doctor if your temperature is 101 F (38.3 C) or higher. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of these signs or symptoms:
- Severe headache
- Unusual skin rash
- Shaking chills
- Body ache
- Sore throat
- Mental confusion
- Persistent vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
What are the causes?
- A viral infection
- A bacterial infection
- Certain cancers (non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, ovarian cancer)
- Cancer treatments (radiation therapy, chemotherapy)
- Heat Exhaustion
- Certain inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis — inflammation of the lining of your joints (synovium)
- A malignant tumor
- Some medications, such as antibiotics and drugs used to treat high blood pressure or seizures
- Some immunizations, such as the pneumococcal vaccine
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