Fevers

fever causes treatment

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of fevers

Physiological changes may occur within the body due to certain external and internal factors. These changes are manifested through a few inevitable symptoms. A very common symptom that is indicative of existing illnesses within the body is “fever”. The degree of fever may vary according to the severity of the underlying disease. It is a very common occurrence in all age groups, genders, and ethnic groups. Fevers occurring at any point in time should be diagnosed with care. Failure to do so may even lead to fatalities in certain extreme cases. In general, the fever has a direct impact on performance and productivity of school-going children as well as working professionals. This in turn adversely impacts the economy of a nation due to an increased cost of healthcare and hospitalization. Fever is undoubtedly one of the leading causes of increasing global health burden.

 

What is a fever?

feverFever is defined as a mild to the high elevation of the normal human body temperature that is accompanied by certain

associated complications.

The normal human body temperature ranges from 36.5o C to 37oC. The rise of temperature above this value is medically termed as fever.

Fever is basically a manifestation of existing infections or illnesses in the body.

It is actually a sign that the immune system of the body is working perfectly and is capable of fighting infections. Fever may also occur due to various other environmental, physiological and psychological factors.Fever of extremely high intensity needs medical attention and in some cases, hospitalization.

 

What are the causes of fever?

Multiple factors contribute to fever at any point in time. The commonly studied causes are given below-

  • Viral infections caused by the cold and flu virus (Influenza virus) or some other viral pathogens
  • Bacterial infections of the lungs, brain, and blood caused by various pathogens (Eg: Staphylococcus)
  • Loss of balance between heat loss and heat gain (occurs in old age)
  • Rigorous physical exercise (especially during some existing medical condition)
  • A side-effect of certain vaccines
  • A few over-the-counter drugs (taken for other diseases)
  • Abnormal functioning of the thermoregulation center due to drugs or existing illnesses
  • Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy or menstruation
  • Pain in body parts such as head, joints, bones, and muscles
  • Emotional stress factors that increase the production of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which in turn impacts the thermoregulation center
  • Abnormally increased metabolic activities of different tissues of the body that increases the generation of heat
  • Increased basal metabolic rate under certain medical conditions (Eg: Thyroid disorders, wherein increased secretion of thyroxin occurs)
  • Elevated temperature of the surroundings (Eg: hot climate, increased room temperature or bathing with very hot water)

 

What are the different stages of fever?

Fever of any kind usually progresses through the following stages-

  • Stage I: It is called the prodrome stage and is characterized by malaise, mild to a moderate headache and extreme fatigue.
  • Stage II: This stage is marked by a gradual increase in temperature and occasional chills.
  • Stage III: In this stage, the skin feels extremely warm (due to vasodilatation).
  • Stage IV: It is also called defervescence and is characterized by sweating.

 

What are the common symptoms of fever?

Fever is usually manifested through some common symptoms. These are described below

  • Feeling of overheated body (hands and feet may feel cold)
  • Flushed face
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches and body pain
  • General malaise
  • Intermittent chills
  • Sweating (indicates gradual remission of fever)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Coughing (with or without mucus)
  • Excessive thirst
  • Cramps in hands and legs
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Urine suppression
  • Reddened eyes
  • Pain and discomfort in chest and abdomen
  • Inflammation, irritation, and pain in nose, eyes, and throat
  • Disturbed sleep (especially if fever increases at night)

 

Different types of fever

Based on the causative agent, fevers may be classified into the following categories-

Bacterial fever: It is triggered by bacterial pathogens. It is characterized by infections of the respiratory or renal tract. The common symptoms of this kind of fever are- a constant cough (productive or non-productive), body pain and chills and problems in urination.

Viral fever: The types of fevers belonging to this category are- Dengue (causes abnormally reduced platelet count), Chikungunya (characterized by joint pain) and Viral Hepatitis (characterized by low-grade fever and yellowish discoloration of the skin).

Parasitic fever: It is associated with the following diseases-

Malaria: Severe chills are observed along with high temperature.

Typhoid: High-grade fever occurs along with an extreme headache and body pains.

Rheumatic fever: High fever occurs along with pain and inflammation in joints

Influenza: Infection of upper respiratory tract occurs in this case.

Meningitis: It is characterized by inflammation of the meninges and may lead to severe ear infections.

Depending on the duration and nature of fever, the following classification is made-

  • Continuous fever: In this condition, the body temperature remains more or less constant throughout the day, with occasional fluctuations by one degree. These types of fevers are observed during a few diseases like- Lobular Pneumonia, Brucellosis and Typhoid.
  • Intermittent fever: It is characterized by elevated temperature during a particular period of the day and normal temperature during the remaining hours. This is commonly observed in malaria.
  • Remittent fever: In this case, body temperature varies in every 24 hours, but never returns to normal temperature.

A few other types of fevers have also been identified. These are-

  • Hectic / Septic fever: It is characterized by abnormal fluctuations in body temperature within a time-scale of 24 hours, accompanied by chills and profuse sweating.
  • Psychogenic fever: It is characterized by rise of body temperature triggered by emotional stressors (causes rise in levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine)
  • Charcot’s (Hepatic) fever: It is caused due to narrowing of the bile duct caused by a tumour or polyps.
  • Metal fume fever: This type of fever may arise due to toxicity caused by certain metals (Eg: Inhalation of zinc oxide fumes)

 

Diagnosis

For proper diagnosis of fever, rectal, oral and armpit temperature should be measured accurately. Blood tests may be recommended if the doctor suspects infections or underlying diseases.

 

Treatment & Prevention

Fever might be an indication of an underlying infection. Thus, most of the time low-grade fevers don’t require any treatment. If the fever is high, then the individual can resort to OTC antipyretics (Over-the-counter fever medications) such as ibuprofen.  But long term use of such drugs should be prohibited as they tend to have adverse effect on the liver and the kidneys. Antibiotics may be administered if the cause of the fever is a bacterial infection. Never treat a fever due to viral infection with antibiotics. While in adults fever might be an indicator of something serious, in infants less than 3 months age, a fever requires immediate hospitalization.

There are no definite preventive measures against fever. It is important to build your natural immunity and keep infections at a bay. Keep yourself well-hydrated during the course of a fever. Rest until you fully recover. Never give aspirin to children under the age of 12 years. Avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and tobacco consumption during fever. If the fever becomes too high, use cold water sponges on the forehead to avoid overheating of the body. If fever persists for long and/or the temperate is higher than 104, refer to a doctor immediately.

A few varieties of fevers may be self-limiting in nature, while a few other types may require serious medical intervention. Hence before taking medications for any kind of fever, consultation with one’s physician is necessary. Improper medications or mode of treatments may adversely impact a person’s health and can worsen existing medical conditions.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Keep the room cool but not too cold.
  • Use a light blanket to cover your body.
  • Rest sufficiently and eat a diet which is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Don'ts
  • Resort to self-medication for low- grade fevers.
  • Consume greasy, sugary, or heavy food.
  • Indulge in intense physical exercises or remain outdoors.

 

 

 

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Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Inhale oxygen, exhale worries: The top breathing exercises and how to perform them Performing the breathing exercise is like becoming mindful of how you breathe.  Here is a list of breathing…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
beta 2 glycoprotein 1 igm
Beta 2 Glycoprotein 1 IgM The Beta 2 glycoprotein 1 IgM test detects IgM class of antibodies in the blood.The presence of beta-2…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
Low fat diets
A complete list of low-fat diets and how to follow them Low-fat diets help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it works only with regular exercise and…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
18 instant steps to make your jogging routine more powerful Jogging is a form of Aerobic Endurance training which includes running at a slow pace. Jogging is slower…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
11 unbelievable health benefits of thyme you didn’t know! Thyme is a herb that has been used in alternative medicine.It is a well known seasoning in the…
blood elements analysis
Vitamin Profile Your doctor will recommend you undergo the vitamin profile test if you are showing signs of either vitamin…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
complement c4 test
Complement 4 (C4) Test The Complement 4 or C4 test measures the level of the protein in the bloodstream, and is primarily…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
CEA_test
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
toxo gondii igm test
Toxo Gondii-IgM Test The toxo gondii IgM test is a blood test that tells the presence or absence of toxoplasmosis IgM…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
free psa test
Free PSA Test The free PSA test is used to detect the level or percentage of free PSA in the body…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Miracle extract from the root of maca: 10 ways it can help you! Maca root has been used for years in herbal medicine. Today scientific research is unearthing fresh evidence in…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
stain blood
Blood in your stool Know the reason for blood in your stool, toilet bowl or tissue and the important steps to take…
Lauric Acid: 8 health benefits you can derive from coconuts Appropriate use of saturated fats containing lauric acid can provide you numerous health benefits. This is the main…
piles
Best treatment for piles in Bangalore All you need to know about piles and piles treatment in Bangalore - the types of treatment available,…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
PREGNANCY
Pregnancy During pregnancy, the body undergoes a number of biological and physical changes to accommodate and provide for the…
Ear pain model
Easy and safe tips for ear wax removal you can do at home Cerumen impaction generally occurs when an external object like cotton swabs are used to remove the ear wax.…
Crossfit with rope
CrossFit: Now get the perfectly sculpted body with this explosive gym routine CrossFit is a fitness regimen that makes use of high-intensity exercises in a shorter period to achieve muscle…
Krill Oil: Does the solution to human illnesses really lie at the depths of the ocean? The word "krill" means “small fry of fish” in Norwegian. They are usually the primary food source of…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hot cups for detox? Read all about the ancient technique of cupping Did you know inverted hot cups on your back can squeeze out and eject toxins from your body?…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…

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