I had finally begged, pleaded, threatened, and harassed my old man mentor, Mr. Castor, to take me fishing on the upcoming Saturday. Having a fishing trip planned gives a kid reason to live, considering I was serving a sentence in the third grade.
The morning of the trip, I came staggering out of my room, apparently looking a mite poor. My grandmother took one look at me, put her hand on my forehead, and said, “Land sakes boy, you’re burning up with fever. Back to bed, no fishing for you today.”
I protested the accuracy of her method in determining my temperature, but not so much. You see, her other method of taking my temperature was far more intrusive and embarrassing. Without getting too specific, let’s just say she did not believe in oral thermometers. Back to bed I went.
The normal body temperature we have all been told is 98.6 degrees F. This comes back to a German doctor by the name of Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich. Dr. Wunderlich spent years in the mid-1800s studying the temperature of the human body.
He used a thermometer that was a foot long and took the armpit temperature of 25,000 people to determine the average temperature to be 98.6 degrees. The thermometer took 20 minutes to register.
I would bet people were less than enthralled to see him come strolling up with his thermometer in hand. His finding did determine that a fever is a symptom and not a disease.
The normal temperature of the human body can fall within a range, from 97 F to 99 F. It is usually lower in the morning and goes up during the day, peaking in late afternoon or evening. This temperature can fluctuate as much as 2 degrees.
It seems everyone is getting their temperature taken whenever they enter businesses, airports, and just about anywhere else, as a precaution to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. If you’re healthy, you don’t need to take your temperature regularly.
New research suggests that the normal body temperature has gone down and a person’s age, weight, gender, or time off day did not make a difference. Science suggests the reason is we have lower metabolic rates because we weigh more than people did a century ago, lower rates of infection, and better and more accurate thermometers.
Doctors don’t consider a person to have a fever until your temperature is above 100.4 F. You can still be sick, even if you don’t have a fever. Consider 2 degrees above your normal to be a sign of an infection.
You get a fever because your body is fighting off an infection by trying to kill a virus or bacteria that is causing the infection. Most bacteria and viruses cannot survive when you have a fever. A fever is a sign that your body’s immune system has kicked in and is fighting the infection.
Additional symptoms and signs of a fever can include sweating, chills and shivering, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, weakness and dehydration.
Over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen are fever reducers. When your temperature is between 100 F and 102 F, drink plenty of fluids and rest. Take the fever reducers if you wish.
If your temperature is over 102 F, seek medical attention, or if the temperature does not fall within an hour of taking a fever reducer. Any fever with a cough, shortness of breath, sore and aching body, sore and stiffness in the neck, swelling or confusion could be a sign of a serious condition and requires a visit with your doctor immediately.
It’s one thing to be sick when you are on the couch in your home but is another problem to be sick when you are in the great outdoors. If you are on a camping trip when the bug hits you, pretty much the same rules apply. Take fever reducers, drink plenty of fluids, and rest, are the course if you choose to stay, rather than head home.
Make an honest assessment of your health, even if it means ruining the trip for others. Be aware of the danger signs mentioned above.
If you are coughing, sneezing and achy, and feeling like resting, do so and don’t push yourself. If you feel like you are not getting better or have digestive issues that don’t allow you to keep anything down, you should head for home and contact the doctor.
And it goes without saying, if you have any of the COVID symptoms you need to isolate and immediately seek medical attention.
Usually, the fever the outdoor person has to deal with is minor and short of duration. A group of us on a fishing trip in Ontario all came down with a high fever at the same time. We determined it was from the lake water we were drinking and had to boat out a couple days early.
We met up with a doctor in a small town who diagnosed us with a bacterial infection, and put us all on an antibiotic, and sent us back to the wild. He said that if we did not get the help from the medicine, the infection would have worsened, and in a couple days we might not have made it out.
The moral of the story is, don’t take chances with your health when you are far from home. Many times, a bug will get far worse before it gets better. While you may make it out today, tomorrow you may have to be airlifted, so be conservative with your judgment when afield.
I have often thought that being sick on weekends and on vacation would not count as time off and you should be awarded extra days off when you get healthy again. Perhaps congress could look into some kind of law about that.
Mark Rackay is a columnist for the Montrose Daily Press, Delta County Independent, and several other newspapers, as well as a feature writer for several saltwater fishing magazines. He is an avid hunter and world class saltwater angler, who travels around the world in search of adventure and serves as a director and public information officer for the Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse. For information about the posse call 970-252-4033 (leave a message) or email email@example.com