popular Saturday Night Live skit has Christopher Walken making gold records with one-hit wonder Blue Oyster Cult. At one point, told that the man playing the cowbell is going too crazy and needs to back off, Walken says, "Okay, but not too much. I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell."
Sadly, most fevers can't be cured with cowbell alone (although how great would it be if doctors wrote a prescription for that?)
Apart from the cowbell-cured fevers, most fevers are signs of something else amiss in the system -- bacterial or viral infections, reactions to medications, heat illnesses, etc. It's often a sign of the body attempting to neutralize threats from infections; a fever isn't a disease, therefore, but a response to a disease.
That said, a persistent high fever can cause tissue damage or delirium. Any person with a fever of 104 or higher should go to the doctor immediately, and other persistent fevers should be treated to avoid hyperplexia.
Fever reducers like ibuprofen (Advil), paracetamol (Tylenol), or aspirin are a good way to treat fevers by lowering the set point. In other words, you make your body think that the normal temperature is lower, and it lowers its fever point to something more closer to a normal temperature. Aspirin should never be given to fever-sufferers under the age of 18, and in smaller children, trying to induce heat-loss may be a better route.
Besides using fever-reducers, the following is a list of fever treatments.
- Fever-sufferers should drink lots of liquids. Fevers can induce dehydration while trying to burn out infection, and that can be more harmful than the fever or infection itself. Fruit juices and broths are a good way to keep energy high if the person with a fever doesn't feel like eating.
- Herbal teas can help manage fever chills - they keep fever-sufferers hydrated and allow them to feel more comfortable while the benefits of the fever continue to work.
- Rest is, as always, one of the best treatments, although some light exercise can be helpful if possible.
- If the fever is in a child or a baby, make sure he or she isn't overbundled. This can cause "false alarm fevers."