Fever, also known as pyrexia or controlled hyperthermia is an elevation in body temperature. This is when the body goes way above the normal level of 99.5-100.9F. When the temperature goes up you might feel the sensation of cold until the temperature drops. A fever is not an illness by itself but a symptom of an underlying condition, usually caused by an infection.
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Although a fever is typically a symptom of another condition, it can also cause symptoms of its own. If you think you have a fever, take your temperature. If it is high, see a doctor or consult a medical professional. Signs and symptoms of fever include:
- Shivering and shaking
- Rapid heart rate
- Skin flushing or redness
- Aching muscles and joints
- Excessive sweating
- Body weakness
When you have a fever, it has typically been caused by an infection or a foreign microorganism in your body. A fever can be caused by a:
- Some drugs
- Foreign toxins
These infections have substances called pyrogens that trigger the body’s immune system. These substances send a message to the hypothalamus to increase the body temperature to fight off the infection.
In children, a fever can be caused by teething, flu shots or immunization shots. Other causes of fever are:
- Reactions to drugs
- Autoimmune disorders
- Conditions that cause inflammation
- Ear infection
- Bladder infection
- Kidney infection
Apart from the physical symptoms of fever, it can be diagnosed by the use of a thermometer. Your doctor will ask about the symptoms you’re having, if you have travelled anywhere recently to areas prone to infections, if you have taken any medication or if you have had any infections recently. If the temperature in adults and children is above 100.9F, then that is considered to be a fever.
Your doctor can use a thermometer or you can test it yourself if you have one at home. A thermometer can be used to measure oral, under the armpit or rectal temperatures. A digital thermometer is better than the mercury thermometer and is highly recommended by doctors.
Fever can be treated depending on the cause. If the fever is not serious and does not cause any discomfort, then the fever itself need not be treated. Mostly, a fever can be treated with over the counter medication which is safe to be used at home. These medications include:
Teens and children should not be given Aspirin if they have a fever. If Aspirin is used in children and teens that have chickenpox, flu or influenza then they are at risk for developing Reye’s syndrome. Reyes syndrome is an illness that causes liver failure, prolonged vomiting and at times can make a patient go into a coma.
A patient with a fever should not be overdressed because it makes the temperature rise further. He or she should have a home bath that has a temperature of 100.9F. Ice water or alcohol fumes should not be used to bring down a fever.