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Alzheimer`s Disease/Alzheimer's Disease, effects of fever


QUESTION: My husband is in the mid-stages of Alzheimer's Disease.  Last night as he was coming down with a cold he ran a 101+ fever.  As has happened in the past (since he has developed AD), whenever he has an even slightly elevated fever he becomes very disoriented, confused, babbles nonsense.  I give him 500 mg acetaminophen, but even after the fever leaves, he remains out of it for a day or more.  What's going on and is there any way to avoid this situation?  It's quite scary.

ANSWER: Hello Greta,

Thank you for writing.  Many folks that i have talked to have said that good hydration before and during a cold or flu have helped tremendously with decreasing the lethargic, extreme confusion states that transpire.

I would ask your physician if there is something other than Tylenol that may be helpful (ex, Advil?) that may help any type of swelling occurring in the brain due to the cold or flu.

Unfortunately, lethargy, irritability, even combativeness has been associated with AD folks when they have a UTI, cold or other ailment.

Again, you may want to ask your physician if there are any other recommendations.

Best Regards,

Michalene Peticca, MA

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for taking my question seriously.  I think I should have stated more clearly that this wasn't just his being lethargic or uncooperative, but exhibiting extreme confusion, speaking gibberish and not dehydrated.  Does the brain of an AD victim just get hot and then non-functional? Or is it only swelling that causes the problem. Somehow it seems as if there is a radical change in the brain.

Thank you for your help.

Hello Greta,

Unfortunately i am not a Neurologist and cannot answer the specifics of what you are asking.  I have never heard of the brain getting "hot".  However, i would suggest you find a Neurologist for further testing (if you haven't already) and/or contact either the Pittsburgh Institute for Alzheimer's and Dementia or Johns Hopkins Medical relating to Alzheimer's and Dementia care.

Best of luck.

With Regards,

Michalene Peticca, MA

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Michalene Peticca


I'd be happy to help with any questions about Alzheimer's or Dementia diseases. I can also help with Medicare, Long term care & other insurance questions.


I have my Masters degree in Geriatrics and am credentialed through the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Pennstate Milton Hershey hospital and the American Geriatrics Society. I've been in healthcare for over 20 years and worked directly with Alzheimer's and Dementia individuals for most of that time. I am also a licensed insurance agent in PA and MD. Currently i train healthcare professionals to care for Alzheimer and Dementia individuals and i have been a care manager for guardianship services in PA

American Geriatrics Society

Masters degree in Geriatrics Licensed insurance agent in PA & MD.

Past/Present Clients
PHI Homes in Pennsylvania York, Dauphin & Adams County Area on Aging The Jewish Home of Harrisburg

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