Fever : Causes, Sign, Symptoms & Treatment at a Glance

In day to day life, we  may get different kinds of fever which make us feel sick and leave us shivering.

Fever is a sign of abnormal body temperature.


Doctor believes that fever is a basic sign of sickness and infection. Fever is an abnormal condition of the body simply defined as ‘Raised body temperature above the normal levels’.

Fever is also called as ‘Pyrexia’ & it is is a sign of underlying disease and not the symptom.

To understand basics of Fever one must need to know the normal range of body temperature. The normal temperature of the human body is considered at 98.6 F or 37 C. If the temperature goes above these value is considered as Fever.

Fever above 100.4 F considered as clinically significant and need the attention of a physician.

How does human body control Temperature?

It is worthy to know that many times fever is a helpful thing to save the body from infections.

Basically normal human body control it’s temperature from ‘Hypothalamus’ which is the part of human brain.

Hypothalamus decides to set the limit of normal body temperature which is usually around 98.6 F. But in response to many threats to our body like bacterial or viral infection, hypothalamus set this normal temperature point above the 98.6 F and in response to this, our body increases it’s temperature and we feel febrile.

This is the reason fever occurs. Hypothalamus tells the body to either become warm or cold in response to external and internal causes.

When hypothalamus set the temperature point high, body star to become warm and to do so it secrets hormone, like epinephrine & tone of skeletal muscle increases which leads to shivering.

What Temperature Is A Fever?

To understand what temperature is a fever, we must know that, our body always create heat for many reasons as well as to combat the infection.

Before understanding what temperature is termed as fever, we should learn the areas where physician measures the body temperature.

Where is the temperature measured in a human body?

To measure temperature of our body, thermometer can be placed at three different places i.e.

  1. Oral cavity
  2. Armpits
  3. Rectum

It is found that ‘Rectum’ provides exact body temperature.

Rectal temperature readings are always slightly higher than oral temperature readings while an oral temperature is slightly higher than armpits.

What is the normal body temperature?

The normal temperature of human body is never constant and can vary from 97.6 F to 99.6 depending upon the time of day as well as many other factors like exercise, hormone, exposure to heat, environment etc.

Though the body temperature reading vary throughout the day, 98.6 F is termed as Normal Body Temperature.

What are abnormal body temperatures?

100.4 F to 103.9 F is termed as fever while the temperature above 104 F is called as High-Grade Fever.

Body temperature below the 97.0 F is termed as hypothermia.Whether it is hyperthermia or hypothermia it is always better to seek medical attention from a family physician.

How to measure body temperature?

Body temperature can be measured by using digital thermometers. Mercury thermometers can also be used, but many physicians do not recommend them.

Measuring Oral temperature is widely used and easy method to check body temperature and can be performed at home.

To measure oral temperature follows the given steps:-

Take a clean & working digital thermometer and ask the patient to open the mouth.

Keep the tip of the thermometer under the tongue just to one side of center and ask patient to close the mouth and wrap the lips around thermometer.

Wait for a minute or till the thermometer gives the beep sound.
After a minute or alarm remove the thermometer and note down the temperature. After which clean the tip of a thermometer and keep it safe.

What are the causes of fever?

1. Infection is one of the most common causes of fever. Bacterial or viral infection leads to fever. Many times viral infections are self-limiting and they just come and go by its own e. g. Common cold. Infections may be viral, bacterial or fungal.

2. Any condition that leads to Inflammations of tissue in human body causes fever. Fever is one of the leading sign of inflammation other are swelling and pain.

3. Autoimmune or inflammatory disorders may also cause fevers like ‘Arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease etc..’

3. Some medication also causes fever, as well as children, may get the fever after immunisation.

What are Sign and symptoms of fever?

fever itself is a sign of any underlying disease. But there are some typical signs and symptoms associated with it.

1. Feeling cold or shivering at normal room temperature.

2. A headache or body ache.

3. Lethargic or sick feeling which leads to reduced concentration

4. Fever sometimes associated with sweating.

5. Dehydration – Fever always associated with dehydration and a person may experience dryness of mouth and thirsty feeling.

6. In kids continues, un-treated fever may cause seizures commonly known as ‘Febrile Seizures’.

Treatment of fever

Any kind of fever should be treated with respective medicines and it is important to attend a family physician without any delay to understand the cause of the fever.

Before you rush to doctor it is best practise to take some tepid sponging to reduce fever immediately.

Tepid sponging (with the help of lukewarm water) is a very helpful method to reduce the fever instantly & can be done without spending a penny on medicines.

But it is not the final treatment, it can only helpful to reduce fever till your doctor attend you! Do not use ice cold water for tepid sponging.

Fever usually treated with NSAIDS which is known as ‘Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’. These drugs also help to reduce body ache, headache and lethargic feeling.

Acetaminophen also known as Paracetamol is widely used to cut down the temperature. Along with the reduction of fever, proper treatment of the underlying cause and re-hydration of measures is required.

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