Fever

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Fever, also known as pyrexia or hyperthermia, is characterized by elevated body[Image:Digital thermometer.jpg|150px|right] temperature. An increase of one degree Celsius from the normal body temperature is already considered fever. Normal human body temperature ranges from 36.5 degrees to 37.5 degrees Celsius.[Image: mercury thermometer.jpg|150px|right]

A fever generally occurs when there is an infection, either bacterial or viral in nature, inside the body. An increase in temperature occurs when the body produces extra doses of [white blood cell|white blood cells] to fight the infection. These white blood cells move faster and faster as they attack the infection, thus making the body feel warmer. The [hypothalamus], which regulates the temperature in the body, is also influenced by [pyrogen|pyrogens], substances which are part of the body’s immune system, triggering it to increase the body temperature and enabling the white blood cells to more effectively carry on their function. In some cases, therefore, it is not wise to bring down the temperature quickly at the onset of fever.

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Signs and symptoms

The onset of fever is usually accompanied by other maladies like muscle aches and joint pains. A person who has fever is usually lethargic, feels cold even when the skin feels warm, experiences loss of appetite, and has [hyperalgesia] or increased sensitivity to pain.

Causes and risk factors

Fever is triggered by infections or any other underlying medical condition that may be viral or bacterial in nature. There are hundreds of illnesses that may cause fever, from the [common cold] and [influenza] to [leukemia], and [Human immunodeficiency virus|HIV]. Most types of fever may go away even without medication. But if fever persists [Fondue Forks for several days and/or in a constantly high temperature range, medical attention should already be sought. The cause of the fever should be promptly determined, especially in infants and children. Unchecked persistent or high temperature fever may lead to death if triggers are not properly and promptly treated.

Diagnosis

Fever can be easily determined with the use of a [medical thermometer]. The [mercury thermometer] was widely used until just a couple of years ago as it provided quick and accurate body temperature readings. But the dangers [mercury] pose to human beings even in small doses as that in thermometers paved the way for the introduction of [electronic digital thermometer|electronic digital thermometers] that uses electronic heat-sensitive sensors to measure the body’s temperature. The temperature may be taken from various parts of the body such as inside the mouth under the tongue, under the armpits, or into the rectum through the anus.

Treatment

Fever is relatively easy to remedy. There are various medications, generally known as [antipyretic|antipyretics], which can easily and quickly bring down fever. Some of these are [acetaminophen], [paracetamol], [ibuprofen] and [aspirin]. To manage fever, the following are also recommended for the patient:

  • Increased fluid intake
  • Bed rest
  • Wearing cool, comfortable clothes and thin blankets (if patient feels cold)
  • Lukewarm sponge baths

Possible complications

High fever in children below 5 years of age may cause [seizure|seizures]. Elderly patients may also experience seizures especially with the presence of other medical conditions such as [dementia], and hepatic or [renal failure]. Extremely high temperature may cause cardiovascular collapse and [cardiac arrest].

Alternative remedies

In the Philippines, home remedies for fever is common, especially in the countryside. Some of these include the use of vinegar, balimbing leaves, or kamias leaves in treating fever caused by viral infection. These remedies are applied externally. Meanwhile, the Tagulinaw plant, okra seeds, or lagundi leaves may be taken orally to bring down body temperature.

References

DEFAULTSORT: Fever [Category:Diseases and illnesses] [Category:Symptoms]