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Fever, or pyrexia or controlled hyperthermia is when the human's body temperature goes above the normal range of 36-37C (98-100F) - it is a common medical sign. As the individual's body temperature goes up, there may be a sensation of cold until the temperature plateaus (stops rising).


Why should I be aware of this?

the body's defense mechanisms seem to work more efficiently at a higher temperature. Fever is just one part of an illness, many times no more important than the presence of other symptoms such as cough, sore throat, fatigue, joint pains or aches, chills, nausea, etc.

Fevers of 104 F (40 C) or higher demand immediate home treatment and subsequent medical attention, as they can result in delirium and convulsions, particularly in infants and children.

Fever should not be confused with hyperthermia, which is a defect in your body's response to heat (thermoregulation), which can also raise the body temperature. This is usually caused by external sources such as being in a hot environment.

All about fever

Fever refers to an elevation in body temperature. Technically, any body temperature above the normal oral measurement of 98.6 F (37 C) or the normal rectal temperature of 99 F (37.2 C) is considered to be elevated. However, these are averages, and one's normal body temperature may actually be 1 F (0.6 C) or more above or below the average of 98.6 F. Body temperature can also vary up to 1 F (0.6 C) throughout the day.

As the individual's body temperature goes up, there may be a sensation of cold until the temperature plateaus (stops rising).

An elevated body temperature (fever) is one of the ways our immune system attempts combat an infection. Usually the rise in body temperature helps the individual resolve an infection. However, sometimes it may rise too high, in which case the fever can be serious and lead to complications.

Doctors say that as long as the fever is mild, we do not generally need to try and bring it down - if the fever is not severe it is probably having an effect in neutralizing a the bacterium or virus that is causing the infection. Medications to bring down a fever are called antipyretics. If the fever is causing undue discomfort, an antipyretic may be recommended.


  • Feeling cold when nobody else does
  • Shivering
  • Anorexia - lack of appetite
  • Dehydration - preventable if the patient drinks plenty of fluids
  • Depression
  • Hyperalgesia - the individual is much more sensitive to pain
  • Lethargy
  • Problems concentrating
  • Sleepiness
  • Sweating
  • If the fever is high there may also be extreme irritability, confusion, delirium and convulsions.


  • Fever is an important part of the body's defense against infection.
  • Most bacteria and viruses that cause infections in people thrive best at 98.6 °F. Many infants and children develop high fevers with minor viral illnesses. Although a fever signals that a battle might be going on in the body, the fever is fighting for the person, not against.
  • Brain damage from a fever generally will not occur unless the fever is over 107.6 °F (42 °C).
  • Untreated fevers caused by infection will seldom go over 105 °F unless the child is overdressed or trapped in a hot place.
  • Febrile seizures do occur in some children. However, most febrile seizures are over quickly, do not mean your child has epilepsy, and do not cause any permanent harm..
  • Unexplained fevers that continue for days or weeks are called fevers of undetermined origin (FUO).


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