Fever (febrile response, pyrexia) is defined as an increase in body temperature above 37°C. There is not a single figure agreed upon as the upper limit of temperature. Therefore most books use 36.6 – 37°C as the average body temperature. Most people feel hot or warm when touched if their temperature is above 37°C.
What are the signs of fever?
- Feeling hot for a while then feeling cold
- Problems concentrating or talking (babbling)
What are the types of fever?
There are different types of fever according to the pattern of temperature:
Intermittent fever is the type of fever where temperature rises for a certain period of time and later cycle back to normal levels. The subtypes of this kind of fever are:
- Quotidian fever (fever cycle back 24hrs after the original start of fever).
- Tertian fever (fever cycle back after 48 hours)
- Quartan fever (fever cycle back after 72 hours)
Examples of diseases that are caused by an intermittent pattern of high temperatures are pyaemia, sepsis, kala-azar, and malaria.
Continuous fever is a high temperature that is continuous for a period of time and does not fluctuate more than 1°C per day. Examples of diseases that cause a continuous pattern of fever are typhoid fever, pneumonia, meningitis, and urinary tract infection.
Remittent fever is a temperature that remains high throughout the day and fluctuates more than 1°C per day. Examples of diseases that cause a remittent pattern of fever are infective endocarditis and brucellosis.
What causes fever?
Fever is the body’s response to an infectious process, an illness, and any foreign substance, the body perceives as unsafe. Therefore there is a wide range of factors that triggers fever.
Here are the conditions where fever is a common symptom:
- Typhoid fever
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Strep throat
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Otitis media
- Influenza (the flu)
- HIV/AIDs infection
- Infectious mononucleosis
- Peptic ulcer disease (stomach ulcer and intestinal ulcer)
- Dengue fever: it is a disease caused by the dengue virus through the bite of a mosquito
- Lyme disease
- Boils (furuncle): is an infection of a single hair follicle (folliculitis)
- Carbuncles (multiple boils): is an infection of numerous hair follicles that cause pus-filled bumps also known as boils
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
- Sickle cell anemia
- Crush syndrome
- Intracerebral hemorrhage
- Tissue destruction during surgery
- Myocardial infarction
- Cocaine use
- Kawasaki disease
- Hepatitis A, B, C, and E
- Liver cirrhosis
- Amphetamine use
- Temporal arteritis (giant cell arteritis)
- Polymyalgia rheumatics
- Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis
- Breast cancer
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Common cold
- Acute bacterial sinusitis
- Overexposure to the sun can increase body temperature
- Cancer of the kidneys
- Finally, the fever of unknown etiology. This is a type of fever that lasts longer than three weeks without a known cause after a proper medical examination has been carried out.
How can you tell if you have a fever?
Fever is diagnosed by checking the body temperature with a thermometer. There are five places to check for temperature with a thermometer: oral, axilla (under the arm), rectal, forehead, and ear. You can also check if your temperature is high by placing the back of your palm to your forehead.
What is the best medicine for a fever?
Antipyretics such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin can be used. Take these medicines according to the label instructions or as prescribed by your doctor.
Is it good to drink water during a fever? Yes, drink plenty of fluids is vital to keep the body from dehydration and also make sure you get plenty of rest.
Note: aspirin is not recommended for children and pregnant women.