Quote from EMTandNurse2B
I have a quick question about fevers in the elderly. When I was in EMT training, we were told that the elderly don't always run fevers even with an acute infection because of the age-related changes in temperature control.
Now, when I was studying for my last test in Physical Assessment, my textbook said the same thing, that the elderly don't always run a fever because of the age-related cahnges in temp control.
Then, I went to take my test and I answered my test question according to the book. I got it wrong. I politely brought my book to the professor and showed her the sentance in the book that completely contradicted the "correct" test answer. She was real nice about it, but told me that she was right, the elderly run fevers MORE often than younger people do. However because their baseline temp is lower, the fevers are harder to detect.
Does somebody with experience have any input on this? Thanks!
I think, IMHO, this instructor is incorrect in her rationale. True, the body temp of the elderly are often subnormal. Now what is normal? This is know as 98.6. So, if the elderly individual has a "normal for them" body temp of 96 and their temp is 98, then they are febrile, but, because "normal" body temp is 98.6, then the individual is not febrile. Kinda confusing. That is why we cannot factor these things individually. There is a standard, in this case ..... a standard "normal" body temp.
So, yes, I can see her point, but, the elderly do not often times exhibit elevated temps due to the rationale your book reflects.
If I were the instructor, I would throw that question out .....again, IMHO.