Fever - Types of Fevers With Their Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
The human body has a normal core temperature of 37.0 degrees centigrade or 98.6 degrees fahrenheit. Any variation in this core figure implies that something is amiss. Fever is a protective mechanism of the body-the body's response to tissue injury.
Causes and Symptoms of Fever.
Fever may be caused by infections, mechanical trauma, anemia, heart attack, stroke, hemorrhage, certain metabolic ic disorders, arthritic conditions, drug reaction, immune dysfunction or cancer. In fact, anything wrong with the body will trigger this reaction, initiated in a centre located in the hypothalamic region of the brain, called the thermo- regulatory centre. Essentially, fever is a protective mechanism of the body and is actually the beginning of the healing process, carried out by the body's defence mechanisms, rather than a symptom. It helps mobilise the white blood cells of the blood, to actually destroy the invader, and either engulf and ingest it or carry away the debris of destruction, for removal by the kidney. White blood cells or WBC's also form a protective screen by the release of antibodies to counter a subsequent attack.
Usually fever, or pyrexia as it is known in medical terms, is a manifestation of a disordered state in the body, yet there are some normal physiological periods in the body's rhythm when a variation in core body temperature may occur. These are periods following vigorous exercise, the latter half of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. The normal temperature also varies at different times of the day. It is slightly higher during times of physical activity, and lowest during sleep. Just before the menstrual flow begins, the temperature falls a little, and still further, by as much as a degree, 24-36 hours before ovulation occurs, Le., between two menstrual flow cycles. After ovulation has occurred, it goes up a little and maintains the same level till the beginning of the next flow. The normal body temperature may also rise a little on an exceptionally hot day.
Rise in temperature indicates bodily dysfunction or disorder. Most viral fevers are self-limiting and rarely last more than 3-4 days, e. g., influenza and common cold. Fevers lasting more than a week are caused by less common infections and are likely to be bacterial in nature, e. g., a fever of a duration of more than five days, which rises and falls daily, but never reaches baseline, is likely to be typhoid or paratyphoid. A fever persistently hovering above normal, but never really high enough to need a doctor, may be of tubercular origin, or due to an undiagnosed neo plastic growth. Very high swings in temperature, accompanied by chills and rigors, with the fever abruptly falling, with sweating, may point towards malaria. Febrile states alternating with febrile or no-fever states, the intervals being 1-2 days, may also be due to lesser-known infections of the Borrelia species.
Most fevers caused by seasonal, mild viral infections can be safely handled at home. However, there are some mild, undiagnosed, low-grade fevers which occur in young women, which do respond to home remedies, but recur again and again. These do not have a disturbing general state accompanying them. Watch out for them, as they may well be the sporadic sub-clinical signs of underlying urinary-tract infection. High fevers cause dehydration-the excessive sweating causes loss of salt, water and vital electrolytes. Fevers higher than 40 degrees centigrade may cause mental confusion, twitching, tremors, delirium and convulsions.
Types of Fever.
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