FEVER: HIGH BODY TEMPERATURE AND CAUSES?
Fever is one of the commonest health problems that could make you seek treatment. Are you feeling hot or does your body feels hot? Can you remember how many times you had fever this year? It is a source of great discomfort that disrupts your day to day activities. Also you may come down with fever for different reasons. I am going to explain to you why you have fever sometimes and also consider whether it is a good thing to have it once in a while. Read on:
What Is Fever?
When your body temperature rises above the normal limit you are said to have fever. The normal body temperature ranges between 36.6 – 37.2 degrees centigrade (OC). You use a thermometer to measure your body temperature. Readings of body temperature higher than 37.2 OC (for example 37.5 or 38 OC) means you have a fever. Sometimes just feeling hot or sweaty doesn’t imply you have fever because your body may feel hot when you have been under the scorching sun. This is why you should measure your body temperature to understand accurately if your body temperature has risen.
Is Fever A Disease?
Fever is your body’s response to a disease. This means fever on itself is not a disease but a warning sign that something abnormal is going on in you. Your body releases chemicals which are meant to defend you by fighting disease agents that gain entry into your systems. However these chemicals (known as cytokines and proteins) go up to your brain to switch on the temperature button. Your body then starts to become hot and other symptoms such as headache accompany fever. The high temperature in your body helps to destroy disease agents such as bacteria and viruses. These bacteria cannot tolerate excess heat so raised temperature keep them in check.
What Causes Fever?
Fever may be caused by a variety of diseases that may affect any part of your body. Causes of fever include: flu; throat infection (sore-throat); pneumonia; urinary tract infection; hepatitis; dysentery; malaria; tuberculosis; worms infection; HIV; skin abscess; joints infection; meningitis; typhoid fever and many more. Any infection affecting you can cause fever.
Fever and Associated Symptoms
Your thermometer shows a temperature reading of 38 OC and your body feel hot to touch. You may have a headache as well and other symptoms related to the cause of your fever. For example you may have cough, catarrh or pain in your belly. An elderly person may be confused due to fever and your child may have seizures (convulsions) when their body temperature goes up. But sometimes you may have only fever without any accompanying symptoms. This is why you should be tested in the hospital to confirm what is causing the fever. Your doctor will like to take your blood, urine, and stool samples for tests. Also x- ray may be needed and ECG (examination of the heart). Throat swab (a sample taken from your throat) may also be required for lab test to help find out the cause of fever.
Treatment of Fever
You can treat fever with paracetamol and by applying warm water on your skin using towel. If you have been sweating a lot while your body was hot you may need to drink a lot of water. Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is a better option as it returns your body water and salt lost during sweating. When the cause of the fever is identified then you will be focused on treating the cause.
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Kasper, D. L. et al. eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. McGraw Hill. USA.
Walker, B. R., Colledge, N. R., Ralston, S. H. & Penman, I. D. (eds)(2014) Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine. 22nd ed. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. London
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