People experience warmth in their body due to the rise in the body temperature, which may be because of various reasons such as doing exercise, rich diet, mensuration cycle in women, exposure to the sun, being anxious and there are lot many. But these cannot be counted under the term fever, as the rise of temperature in the body is related to the speed of our heart. When the temperature of our body rises because of any disease or the WBC work in our body and is more than the normal temperature of the body it is called fever.
What is Fever?
Fever is an increase in body temperature and fever is not a stand-alone disease, but a symptom that often occurs together with other complaints in the body. Usually, the normal temperature is around 37 º C (98.6 ºF), but as soon as it is 38 º C (100 º F) or above it is the result of an infection in the body and is termed as Fever. But In 1992 a study suggested that the average temperature of the body is about 36.8 º C (98.2 º F).
The normal temperature regulates depending on the body and age as;
- In Babies: Average temperature of body ranges from 36.6º C (97.9 º F) to 37.2 º C (99 º F).
- In Adult: Average temperature of body ranges from 36.1 º C (97 º F) to 37.2 º C (99 ºF).
- In Adult (over 65 years): Average temperature of body is below 37 º C (98.6 º F).
The Strength of the Fever
Depending on the temperature (measured rectally), the severity of the fever is divided:
- 38.2 ° C to 38.5 ° C (mild fever)
- 38.6 ° C to 39 ° C (moderate fever)
- 39.1 ° C to 39.9 ° C (high fever)
- 40 ° C to 42 ° C (very high fever)
What are the Symptoms of Fever?
Fever is not a disease in its own right, but rather a symptom that occurs in varying degrees. Aside from the obvious sign – the high temperature – there are other fever symptoms depending on the reaction in the body as:
- Chills (muscle tremors)
- Hot skin, which can be quickly determined by laying hands on the forehead, although the person concerned tends to feel cold (since the skin of the hands also heats up, it is not possible to feel this change in temperature of the skin)
- Pale or red skin
- Dry, coated tongue
- Loss of appetite
- Thirst is one of the most typical fever symptoms
- Shiny eyes
- Accelerated breathing rate
- Fast pulse
- Confusion to hallucinations with a high fever
- A headache
- Febrile seizure
Glassy eyes in the baby indicate a fever. Glassy eyes are a clear symptom that a toddler has a fever.
Types of Fever
As depending on age, body temperature, body reaction, disease, metabolism, and various other factors we can categorize fever under various types as:
- Continuous fever: The temperature only rises by about 1 ° C during the day; this fever can last for days or weeks (for example, in the case of pneumococcal pneumonia, typhoid fever or scarlet fever).
- Remitting fever: In this case the temperature rises a little more, namely by 1 to 2 ° C. However, the person concerned is usually not free of fever in the morning (for example with tuberculosis, inflammation of the lungs and bronchi, certain viruses, rheumatic diseases).
- Intermittent fever: The fluctuations are clear here and can be over 2 ° C. In the meantime (especially in the morning), the temperature drops below the fever limit (for example in the case of pleurisy or pleurisy, blood poisoning).
- Biphasic fever: The temperature rises, falls after a day or two, and then climbs up again.
- Undulating fever: Here the course is wavy, the temperature goes up and down, the fluctuations can be slight, but can also be over 2 ° C (for example in the case of a bacterial infection with brucellosis or the tumor disease Hodgkin’s disease). The fever can be measured again and again over a period of several weeks.
- Recurrent fever: In this case, the fever appears as a symptom in flares. In between, the person concerned is completely free of fever for one to 14 days (for example with malaria, gallstones or inflammation of the prostate).
Possible Causes of Fever
Each and every person has a different mechanism of their body so there are various reasons occurring in the body that can lead to the symptoms of fever as:
- Various infections (for example flu, blood poisoning, local abscesses, pelvic inflammation, cystitis, appendicitis, tonsillitis, etc.)
- Chronic inflammatory diseases (for example Crohn’s disease )
- Side effect of drugs (for example: diuretics, antibiotics, antihistamines, in principle almost every active ingredient can lead to a fever if the body is hypersensitive)
- Allergic reactions
- Rheumatological diseases ( for example: rheumatoid arthritis , fibromyalgia , ankylosing spondylitis )
- Tropical diseases ( for example: malaria , dengue fever, West Nile fever, Lassa fever)
- Childhood diseases (for example: measles , mumps , rubella , glandular fever )
There are many other possible causes of a fever. The diagnosis is therefore not always easy for the doctor. If the body temperature is over 38.3 degrees Celsius for more than three weeks without a cause being found, doctors speak of fever of unknown cause. Often the actual trigger is only found after very extensive investigations.
Most Common Trigger in a Fever of Unknown Cause
Apart from the known cases which result in fever, there are various cases in which the question of WHY remain unknown, some of them are;
- Undetected infections (for example, tuberculosis or an abscess in an unusual place, infections with fungi or herpes viruses )
- Rheumatic diseases or autoimmune diseases
- Overreaction to active ingredients in drugs (e.g. diuretics, antibiotics, antihistamines)
- Tumors (e.g. lymph gland cancer, colon cancer )
When the HIV virus has led to an outbreak of AIDS, some pathogens cause a fever, which does not cause a reaction in healthy people.
When is a Fever Dangerous?
Children are particularly sensitive to temperature. The younger they are, the sooner the temperature goes up as the immune system has yet to develop. That is why the body uses heat to a greater extent to fight pathogens. However, fever can also become dangerous quickly, especially if children do not drink enough. Therefore, in infants up to three months old, you should definitely see a pediatrician when the temperature rises to 38 º C (100 º F). At an age between three months and three years, a fever of 38.9 º C (102 º F) or more should be seen as an alarm signal.
The fever diagnosis begins with the exact measurement of the temperature with the help of a clinical thermometer. Aside of which the doctor then asks questions to narrow down the cause and take a proper examination of the whole body as;
- Physical Examination
- Eavesdropping on the lungs and heart
- Examine the skin, for example for rashes and possible abscesses
- Palpation of the lymph nodes on the neck
- Examination of the ear, nose and throat area
- Knocking the kidney
A detailed analysis of the urine and blood may also be necessary for the further diagnosis of fever. The following results, among others, can be informative:
- Bacteria in the urine
- Bacteria in the blood (in case of blood poisoning)
- Liver and kidney values
- Coagulation values
- Antibodies to viruses
- Rheumatoid factor
Further examinations to diagnose fever
- Tuberculosis test
- X-ray of the lungs
- Ultrasound examination (for example of the kidneys or abdomen)
- Electrocardiography (EKG) of the heart
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Taking tissue samples (biopsy), for example from the liver, lymph nodes or bone marrow
- Analysis of a stool sample in order to diagnose a fever
- Examination of samples from the throat, bronchi, or lungs
- Smear from wounds
How Can You Treat a Fever?
The most important thing is to find the trigger and treat the underlying condition. This can be done with antibiotics, for example, if the fever is caused by a bacterial infection. Then the fever drops at the same time. If those affected find the increased temperature, for example with a flu-like infection, very uncomfortable, simple remedies can provide relief. Antipyretic medication, cold calf compresses with damp cloths and adequate fluid intake are important measures in fever treatment. Prompt fever treatment is especially important if the fever is very high, with a body temperature of 40 º C (104 º F) is usually fatal, in this case, one must consult the doctor as soon as possible.
How Can You Prevent a Fever?
You can only prevent fever to a very limited extent – because it is part of the immune response to certain pathogens or other diseases. However, you can lower the risk of some of these triggers with help of some changes as;
- Balanced diet (for example, if possible, three servings of vegetables per day and two servings of fruit, whole grain products daily)
- Sleep enough to strengthen the immune system (needs vary from person to person, an average of eight hours per night). These measures can prevent a fever
- Regular exercise (at least three times a week for half an hour, endurance sports such as jogging, Nordic walking, cycling, swimming are ideal)
- Vaccinations against influenza and, if necessary, as protection against special diseases when traveling abroad (e.g. hepatitis B)
- Protection against pathogens that transmit insects (e.g. mosquito net, spray to repel mosquitoes and ticks)
- Avoid drafts: It feels good to let the cool wind blow around heated skin. Air-conditioned rooms should, however, be no more than 5 degrees colder than the outside temperature. Otherwise, our organism has to use too much strength to fight the cold. And that weakens the immune system.
- Take a jacket with you: If it was really hot during the day, we are grateful for every degree less in the evening. Nevertheless, we should always have a light jacket on hand to protect us from cooling down.
- Drink enough: Of course, we automatically drink more in summer. It also has to be at least two liters so that our mucous membranes stay moist and can better fight off viruses.
- Frequent hand washing after visiting public places to prevent a fever. Washing hands to prevent an infection as it is often the cause of fever.
Thus, there are various causes resulting in the fever with an increase in body temperature to a higher level. A person can treat a mild fever by itself by various home remedies and antibiotics but if it is fatal then consult the doctor and proper treatment is highly recommended.
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