Fever and it’s causes
Fever is is a frequent medical simptom that describes a raise in body temperature above normal. Fever is best defined as a 1-2 degrees C growth in body temerature above the thermoregulation point. Fever is caused by a change in the thermoregulatory point, determining a raised body temperature (which is usually 37 degrees C). Certain mechanisms are triggered in response to these changes. When a patient has fever, he feels cold despite the rise in body temperature, increased heart rate, muscle tone and tremors, due to the body’s attempts to counter the newly perceived hypothermia and achieving a new thermoregulation point.
Fever differs from hyperthermia in that hyperthermia is an increase in body temperature over the termoregultion point due to excessive heat production or insufficient thermoregulation, or in some cases even both. Fever is considered as an immune response of the body which attempts to neutralize the “intruder”, which can be bacteria or viruses. Fever is not a disease but a response to a certain disease.
When a patient has or is suspected to have fever, it is necessary to measure the body temperature using a thermometer.
Fever is present if:
- Rectal temperature is over 37.8 degrees Celsius
- Oral temperature is above 37.5 Celsius Celsius
- Axillary temperature is above 37.2 degrees Celsius
- Temperature in the ear canal (ear) is over 37.2 degrees Celsius.
The values described above are for a healthy adult, who served a meal, dressed comfortably, located inside a room with normal temperature (22.6 to 24.3 degrees Celsius), shortly after getting out of bed. For oral temperature, the person should not eat, drink or smoke at least five to ten minutes before the measurement.
The fever is usually classified as (measurement anal)
- Low fever: 38-39 degrees Celsius
- Moderate fever: 39-39.9 degrees Celsius
- High fever: 40 to 41.2 degrees Celsius
- Hyperpyrexia: over 41.2 degrees Celsius
Fever is a symptom common in many diseases:
- Infections such as influenza, HIV, malaria, infectious mononucleosis, or gastroenteritis
- Various skin inflammations such as acne, pustules or abscesses
- Immunological disorders: lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, bowel inflammatory disease.
The benefits of fever
Theoretically, fever can help defend the body. Clearly there are some immunological reactions that are hurried up by the presence of fever and some pathogens only survive at specific temperatures can be therefore removed with the help of fever.Also, white blood cells proliferate faster due to to the increased temperature.
Fever must not be always treated. Fever is an important signal that there is a problem with your body and can be also used to asses a correct treatment. Besides not all patients that have fever also have an infection . Febrile patients are told to drink enough fluids, because dehydration caused by a mild fever can be more dangerous than the fever itself.
Many patients take antipyretic drugs because fever is very uncomfortable. Fever increases heart rate and metabolism, thus causing additional stress to the body for elder persons with heart diseases. Fever may even cause delirium. The potential benefit of fever should be carefully weighed in comparison to the risks of having fever. Fever should be treated if it reaches the stage of hyperpyrexia when tissue damages can occur.
Fever treatment is achieved by lowering the thermoregulation point, but favoring heat loss can also be very effective. This can be achieved by using antipyretic drugs like ibuprofen(Advil, Motrin) or paracetamol. Aspirin may be also administered but only to adults because it can be the source of Reye syndrome seen at children.
Heat removal can be achieved generally using wet towels, applied on the forehead, but can be achieved also with baths.These methods are very useful for infants where drugs should be avoided. Do not use very cold water and avoid vasoconstriction that which reduces the effectiveness of heat loss.