Did you know that you should never dismiss a fever in someone who has Lupus?
Body temperatures vary from person to person, but anything over 100.3 degrees is considered a true fever and is worthy of further investigation, according to Medicine.net. The heat of a fever in Lupus could mean increased inflammation or an infection—both of which could be bad news.
According to Dr. Donald Thomas, Jr., author of the Lupus Encyclopedia, 50 to 60 percent of Lupus patients will develop Lupus-related fevers. And, for us, the fever threshold is lower–only 99.9 degrees. When the fever is related to increased inflammation, taking a Tylenol®, an approved anti-inflammatory, or steroid should take care of it, Dr. Thomas says.
But, if the fever is due to an infection, it can get more complicated depending on its severity. Infections are one of the top leading causes of death in Lupus patients not only because our overactive immune systems have difficulty telling which cells are healthy and which are not, but also because of some of the immune-suppressing drugs we take to calm it down. Considering this, Dr. Thomas recommends seeing your doctor if you have a high fever that doesn’t respond to the aforementioned fever reducers.
Dr. Thomas recommends keeping a thermometer in your house so that if you feel feverish or sick at all, you can monitor your temperature. And, if you have a fever, start the process of investigating it with your doctor or nearest urgent care center.
As a Lupus patient who gets fevers quite often, I’ve had my share of inflammatory fevers and infectious fevers. The worse was when I began feeling feverish during my honeymoon cruise, where there was an outbreak of norovirus, keeping many passengers and crew quarantined. My fever soon led to rapid loss of fluids coming from both ends! Because of my immune system, my case was so severe that I spent several hours in the ship’s infirmary, receiving IV fluids and medications to reduce my fever. I remained quarantined for the second half of our cruise.
“Fever Facts” at http://www.medicinenet.com/aches_pain_fever/article.htm#fever_facts
Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families by Dr. Donald E. Thomas, Jr., p. 101
Has a fever ever taken you by surprise as a Lupus patient? Did you act on it quickly? Or, did it lead to a severe infection? Please share your story with us. The more we share about our experience with Lupus, the more we know—together….