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When and how to use fever patches

Fever is a common ailment among adults and kids alike. While the rise in body temperature can be attributed to several types of infections and other causes, several methods of treatment has been used to ease the patient of the pain. Fever patches - a form of external cooling is as common as fever itself. However, one should understand that fever is merely a physical state of the body temperature and varies from person to person.

Fever Patches

In most cases, it is the side effect of another disease/infection occurring in our system. Using fever patches works well to bring down the temperature, but it can also be sometimes be dangerous. As, such, everyone looking to treat the traditional way should know when and how to use external cooling (fever patches) to reduce fever. Further, the application design differs between adults and kids.

Fever patches for hyperthermia Fever patches are a common way to treat hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is a special condition when the core temperature of the body rises above the thermoregulatory set point. While normal fever is characterized by shivering and cutaneous vasoconstriction, hyperthermia results in sweating, vasodilatation, decreased heat production and behavioral cooling. So, external cooling through fever patches is not opposed by a counter regulatory process which may be evoked in normal fever. Fever patches are considered an ideal treatment for conditions like heat strokes.

When not to use it and why in febrile patients, external cooling via fever patches can result in more shivering and cutaneous vasoconstriction. In such cases, the core body heat is conserved as a result of external decrease in temperature and it subsequently rises to worsen the condition of the patient.

External cooling works best upon the skin but it isn't quite suitable for lowering the core temperature of the body. Shivering as induced by fever patches in these cases adds to the metabolic burden and studies have shown doubling of oxygen intake and respiratory minute volume. This can also trigger an increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system. In case of febrile children (in some cases infants too) fever patches have resulted in cold burns and in some cases, even respiratory failure. N.B. Unless a child has febrile seizure, doctors recommend against using a fever patch.

For adults, the specifications are different, due to the difference in the metabolism. Physical cooling as induced by fever patches are clearly recommended for the treatment of hyperthermia and heat strokes but their advantage in the treatment of any other form of fever remains controversial. They are more likely to present the patient with discomfort apart from sympathetic activation, shivering and vasoconstriction. Thus, it is highly recommended that you try to understand the root cause of the rising body temperature before applying a fever patch. As such, they seem to work well and are a widely and successfully used method of treatment. Since this is a matter of health, never try to be your own doctor (unless of course you have the experience to understand the disease).

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