7 Things you may not have known about fever
Fever is generally a temporary increase in one’s body temperature and is one of the signs of infection by a foreign organism. The body’s temperature is normally between 36.5°C and 37.2°C. Do you know when to worry about feeling a little warm? Here are some interesting facts about fever you may not know:
When is it constituted as a fever?
When the body’s temperature is over 38°C, it is medically considered a fever. Although unpleasant, fevers are perfectly healthy and as long as one can ‘grin and bear them’, they can be treated with rest and plenty of fluids. Should your fever reach 39.4°C however, then it’s time for a quick trip to the doctor.
Fever is good for the body
Fever comes with several benefits, the most important of which is to protect the body against infections. During fever, the invasive organisms (such as bacteria or viruses) are exposed to a higher temperature, which makes your body a more unpleasant environment for them to grow. Fever is a body’s natural immune response to these invaders and an essential way of keeping you healthy.
Watch your children closely
It is very common for children to get fevers, but if it is accompanied by a rash or a headache – it may be the sign of something more severe. If your child is getting fevers regularly (more than once a month), it could be a sign of an auto-inflammatory disease; in which one’s immune cells attack your body by mistake. It is not normal for a baby to get a fever – should they be warmer than 38°C, it is important to see a doctor immediately.
The shivering and sweating cycle
Your hypothalamus is at the centre of your brain and it is your body’s thermostat, keeping your body temperature regulated. When you have a fever you may feel very cold, even when it isn’t cold or you are warmly dressed. At the start of a fever your body is heating up, sometimes leaving you shivering, but as soon as the hypothalamus has reset the body to the temperature it should be – you’ll quickly start sweating and want to lose those excess clothes.
You do not always need drugs for fever, but sometimes it helps
A fever will go away naturally when your body has rid itself of the foreign microbes. During this time, one may also suffer from muscle ache, dehydration, and a loss of appetite; not leaving you feeling at your best! It is medically unnecessary for you to take anything to assist the fever, but it may at least help you feel better and assist the body aches. Don’t forget to double up on those liquids though!
You do not need to worry about brain damage
Some people think that fevers can cause brain damage, especially in children. Only if the fever is exceptionally high (over 42°C) and left untreated, is there a chance of severe damage to the body. Even when seizures occur in children due to fever, although it might be scary at the time, the seizures will eventually stop, without permanent damage to the brain.
Weak immune systems make it harder to fight off those germs
Although a fever is perfectly normal for people with healthy immune systems, unfortunately, it is not the same for those with a compromised immune system. People who suffer from diseases such as AIDS or cancer, or those taking immunosuppressant drugs, will have a harder time fighting off the foreign invaders and it may lead to further health complications.
Fever is a powerful adaptation of the human body. It is a sign of a healthy immune system and is a normal way the body fights off infection without medical intervention.