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Fever, Understanding Its Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Fever, Understanding Its Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Any temperature higher than the medically accepted normal body temperature is known as fever or medically pyrexia or febrile response. So, if your body temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above, you need not worry.

A fever is not generally considered as a separate illness but can be a symptom of an underlying illness or infection and can be treated at home through analgesics like paracetamol.

Doctors around the world consider fever as your body’s defense mechanism against infection also believe that sometimes there can be non-infectious causes of fever as well and hence, it is not something to be worried about in usual cases unless there are some other factors associated with you like age (infant or too aged), or you are undergoing some treatment and hence on some medication or are suffering from an infection.

The scenario is different for infants though, so if your child has some accompanying symptoms like a sore throat, flu, cold, or a cough then it is necessary to see a doctor. Similarly, for infants aged 3 months or below, medical attention is required at a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Causes of fever
Let’s reiterate it again for you that fever is your body’s defense against infection. The hypothalamus in your brain controls your body’s daily temperature by varying it to suit the atmosphere or the weather you are subjected to. But the same hypothalamus when sees infection gripping your body, resets your body temperature to a higher temperature, in order to draw your attention to an underlying infection and hence its treatment.

Here are the possible infections when your body’s temperature is reset to higher temperature

  • Cold
  • Certain inflammation
  • Lung infection, ear or bladder infection, sometimes kidney, skin or throat infection
  • Side effects of medicines or vaccines

Apart from these infections, some probable causes of fever include doing drugs, some hormone disorder, blood clots, or autoimmune diseases.

How to diagnose fever
You can easily diagnose it using a thermometer and if your temperature is above 100 degrees F, you have a fever. The rise in temperature can also be accompanied by sickness behavior like lethargy, sleepiness etc.

Diagnosis of fever is easier than understanding the underlying causes of it. Usually, the underlying causes might not be there at all or can be as unalarming as cold. But if you are unable to treat fever in a day or two, then medical attention is needed.

Types of fever hinting at diagnosis
Though fever is not a separate disease and generally is not life threatening, there are different symptoms or kinds of fever, of which if you suffer, speak of some serious underlying issue.

  • Continuous fever: Your temperature remains above normal throughout the day and does not increase beyond 1C during a 24-hour period. Or your fever shows a pattern like a slow increase and a high plateau, here, do not include the drop-in temperature due to some fever reducing drug. This condition may indicate typhoid, pneumonia, UTI, or typhus and needs doctor’s attention.
  • Intermittent fever: Your temperature elevates for a certain period and then goes back to normal temperature. It has three types where the temperature periodicity occurs in 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours respectively. This can indicate malaria, kala-azar, pyemia, or septicemia and needs doctor’s attention.
  • Remittent fever: Temperature remains the same throughout the day and fluctuates more than 1C in 24 hours. Can indicate infective endocarditis or brucellosis.

Treatment for fever
Fever is not treated necessarily and most people recover without the administration of any medicine. Your brain remains unaffected unless the temperature reaches 107 degrees F which happens in rare cases.

Fever can be treated in two ways one is by administration of medication and second is by employing general or time-tested conservative methods.

  • Treatment of fever through medication: Antipyretics that lowers fever is given to patients. The general term of the same is ibuprofen. It can be given to both suffering adults as well as children and is safe to consume. However, it is always advisable to see a doctor in case of ailing children to prevent any dangers and side effects. Paracetamol and aspirin can also be taken. It is strictly advisable to not administer aspirin to infants, children, and young adults. When it comes to paracetamol and ibuprofen it is safe to consume and can be taken together altering between one another.
  • Treatment of fever through conservative ways: Since many years, bathing or sponging with lukewarm water is recommended, which is safe for both kids and adults and there are pieces of evidence that show the method to work in bringing the temperature to normal. But if the fever persists it is advisable to see a doctor. People are also advised to stay hydrated and asked to intake cold water, but if the patient suffers from cold along with fever, caution is advised.

You can consult your doctor for the root cause of the fever and get the best medical treatment for fever.

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