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Fever, also referred to as pyrexia or simply known as high temperature, is a popular symptom caused by various medical conditions. It is a state, during which body’s temperature rises above 37,5 °C (99.5 °F) and usually do not exceeds 42 °C (107.6 °F). According to a healthcare specialists, body temperature higher than 38 °C (100.4 °F) is no longer safe and requires attention. Fever usually occurs due to viral or bacterial infections and autoimmune disorders. What is more, in some types of cancer, fever is one of the very first symptom that shows up.
This type of ailment is a consequence of actions taken by natural self-defense mechanism. Virus or bacteria eradication demands great effort from organism, which is very exhausting. All this heat accumulated from burned energy needs to be drained away, thus hypothalamus, which is responsible for thermoregulation, increases body temperature which further results in the fever. As long as fever and associated symptoms are mild or moderate, they do not require any specific treatment.
Body temperature can vary greatly, depending on several factors, such as gender, age, time of the day (with its peak at the evening) and ambient temperature. Even during physical exercise or hard work, it can be increased by as much as 0,5 °C (0.9 °F). In addition, elderly people tend to produce less body heat than others, therefore their nominal temperature, as well as bottom limit of fever, is set slightly lower. Females during menstrual cycle may also have raised body temperature.
The most common causes of high temperature include:
- Infections, such as strep throat, influenza, common cold and meningitis.
- Autoimmune disorders, like e.g. rheumatoid arthritis.
- Certain medication or drugs side effects.
- Inflammations, such as vasculitis.
- Certain tumors
Home remedies for high temperature
The main goal of home care is to lower the fever, not to fully eliminate it. Obviously, quality rest and drinking a lot of fluids are the two fundamentals, since the organism emits a lot of sweat through the skin and is constantly fighting with the disease. Other efficient methods include keeping the room ventilated and cold compresses applied to the skin. Cold baths or ice packs should not be used. It may temporarily cool down the skin, but eventually will worsen the fever.
In majority of the incidents, fever does not require any specific type of treatment, even though it may seem to be dangerous. However if necessary, medications called as antipyretics are commonly used. They may include substances like acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen. What is interesting, acetaminophen used simultaneously with ibuprofen is the most effective method for high temperature.
When to see a doctor
Fever is usually not dangerous, unless it is caused by serious underlying condition. Exceptionally, high temperature encountered in infants may potentially be a life threatening condition and requires immediate healthcare.
Consultation with healthcare providers is strongly advisable, when on or more of those features appear:
- Fever approaching, or already higher than 41 °C (107.6 °F). Very dangerous state, which can leave permanent brain damage or lead to death, if eventually reach 42 °C (107.6 °F). Fortunately, those incidents are very rare.
- Fever, which lasts more than 7 days
- Neck stiffness
- Blood in stool
- Severe headache, chest pain or abdominal pain.
- Sore throat