The Doctor Is In
Should every fever be treated, or is it OK to let it run its course?
When micro-organisms threaten healthy tissue, the brain’s hypothalamus raises the body’s core temperature in defense – producing a fever. Higher-than-normal temps slow the growth of the attacking virus and improve the functioning of infection fighting immune cells.
This natural infection-fighting process can be interrupted by fever-reducing medications. So for mild fevers, try letting nature run its course. The exception? 100.4°F or greater for infants 0 to 3 months, fevers lasting more than three to five days, or if the fever sufferer is difficult to wake, not drinking enough to stay hydrated, has difficulty breathing, or is experiencing pain that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications. For unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated children and adults, and those who have chronic illnesses or are immune compromised, the fever’s cause should be evaluated.
- J. RUSSELL BOWEN, MD, Primary Care Provider, CHI Health Clinic
How do I know if my ache or pain is serious enough to see a doctor?
In general, you’re your own best advocate. You know your body best. If it’s pain that’s out of the ordinary, if it’s unrelenting, if it’s getting worse or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms – and especially if it’s pain in an area you’ve never had pain before – get it checked out.
When it comes to joint or muscle pain, it’s generally time to be seen if there’s a significant change, if the pain worsens or if your quality of life or normal activities are affected.
Never delay if it’s chest pain or worst headache of your life – go immediately to the emergency room.
- MONICA SCHMIDT, DO, Primary Care Provider, CHI Health Clinic
Do men really suffer more and have worse flu symptoms than women?
It’s possible that the tongue-in-cheek malady known as the “man flu” is an actual illness. Women are more likely to get the flu shot. Not only does it decrease the likelihood they will get the flu covered in the vaccine, it also has the potential to decrease symptoms of a flu strain not covered in the vaccine.
A 2008 study also found women have a more robust antibody response after getting the flu shot. If a vaccinated woman comes into contact with the flu, her body is more likely to be successful in recognizing it and fighting it off.
My unscientific observation in the office? Men do generally seem more miserable. What can you do about it? Get your flu shot! Together we can prevent the man flu.
- LAUREN SCHREFFLER, APRN, Primary Care Provider, CHI Health Clinic
Is drinking coffee good or bad for me?
There’s no definitive answer about potential health benefits of coffee. Some evidence has linked cognitive improvement – meaning increased focus, drive and alertness – to coffee.
Some studies have shown coffee drinkers experience fewer headaches, while others found people can become susceptible to caffeine withdrawal headaches and habitual caffeine consumption has been associated with migraine headaches.
Two or three cups of coffee per day aren’t usually going to be an issue. If you cut caffeine consumption around 2 p.m., you’ll do OK sleeping because it’s out of your system. The “safe range” for daily caffeine consumption is 30 to 300 milligrams. More than that can negatively impact heart rate and increase anxiety. Like most things, just consume coffee in moderation and you’ll probably be fine.
- CHRISTOPHER CONNOLLY, MD, Primary Care Provider, CHI Health Clinic