The Causes of a Fever
Veterinarian Reviewed on January 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
The Causes of a Fever
Fever is defined as an increase in a person’s body temperature. The normal human oral body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 Fahrenheit while the normal rectal temperature for a human is 37.2 degrees Celsius or 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Fever is not considered to be overly significant until a person’s body temperature is higher than 38.0 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. A reading below this temperature is considered to be a low-grade fever.
A fever is regard as the body’s normal response to Inflammation along with pain, redness and swelling. A low-grade fever should just go away on its own without taking any medication but if your fever intensifies along with other symptoms such as cough, sore throat, chills, nausea, vomiting and any signs of severe pain, you should apply certain remedies to reduce the fever and consult your doctor at once.
Causes of a Fever
When the immune system is triggered by substances and organisms that cause a fever or pyrogens, the body develops an increase in baseline body temperature resulting in a fever. Several organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and harmful toxins are the most common pyrogens. As a response, the hypothalamus (the temperature regulating part of the brain) increases the body’s temperature set point making the body shiver, constricting blood vessels found on the surface of the skin in an effort to reduce the body’s temperature.
Symptoms of a Fever
A fever is measured by an oral alcohol thermometer for the mouth and the armpit while a rectal thermometer is used for the anus. A digital thermometer can also take readings from the forehead, the mouth and also through the ear. A temperature reading above 38.0 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is classified as a fever and it may or may not be accompanied by chills, flushing, cough, Colds, Sore Throat and body pains.
A fever is also classified according to types:
- A Chronic fever is a fever that lasts for more than 4 days.
- An Intermittent fever is a fever that varies in a single day or may occur in a day and recurs after 1 to 3 days.
- A Remittent fever is a fever that comes and goes in a regular interval.
- A Prolonged fever is a fever that lasts for more than 10 to 14 days.
- A Constant fever is a low-grade fever that is continuous without a change in temperature reading in any given 24 hour period.
Treatments of a Fever
There are several ways to reduce a fever:
- Taking medications to reduce a fever is often the initial course for treatment. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin are the most common medications used. Always follow your doctor’s advice regarding the use of medication for a fever and check temperature readings after an hour and subsequently thereafter until the fever subside.
- A tepid sponge bath is usually enough to reduce a fever; never use ice water or submerge a person in ice. Water temperature of 30 degrees Celsius or 85 degree Fahrenheit should be used; with a sponge or a small towel apply tepid water on the skin until the fever subsides. Never use alcohol that can severely dry skin; alcohol fumes may also be toxic when inhaled.
- Do not overdress a person with a fever; use soft and thin materials to allow heat to reduce.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan