December 9th, 2020 by
A fever can bring contradictory symptoms: a high temperature and chills. It does seem to defy logic but there is a reason you might shiver and feel cold when your body temperature is high. A fever isn’t an illness in itself, it is a symptom of an illness and a consequence of your immune system trying to fight off an infection or virus. Pathogens are less able to multiply at temperatures higher than 37° so raising your body temperature is an attempt to slow them down or stop them.
The chills come because of the contrast between body temperature and environment temperature. The cooler air makes skin feel colder and this causes muscles to rapidly contract and relax, causing shivering.
Because a fever is a symptom of an illness and not an illness itself, treating a fever won’t make you ‘better’, however, it can make you feel a lot more comfortable and has other benefits such as allowing you to sleep, which can be helpful for recovery.
How can an electric blanket help?
With a fever, you could feel inclined to either strip off and open all the windows to cool down or pile on the blankets to stop the shivering. You may even feel like alternating between the two as your temperature fluctuates.
In actual fact, you will feel better by striking a middle ground. A gentle heat that is cooler than your core body temperature but warmer than the environment is often the best treatment. This will reduce the discrepancy between body and environment temperature, and thereby reduce or eradicate the shivers, but won’t risk you overheating which is something you definitely need to avoid if you already have an elevated temperature.
An electric blanket can provide this. The beauty of an electric blanket is that its temperature is so controllable. You can vary it initially to find the most comfortable temperature for you plus it will remain constant at this temperature until you choose to alter it (which you can easily if you want to), which can’t be said for things like hot water bottles that will gradually go cold.
The timer function can also prove useful. Set the timer for a fixed period. The initial warmth could allow you to get enough relief from the shivering to drift into sleep and the timer would switch the blanket off after the allotted time, so you don’t have to worry about overheating.
Combine with other treatments
Use an electric blanket alongside other measures such as taking paracetamol and drinking plenty of fluids, and you will find a fever much more manageable while your body does its thing fighting off the infection.
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