Fever (high temperature)

Head | General Practice | Fever (high temperature) (Disease)


High temperature or 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 ones 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 a persons temperature increases, there is, in general, a feeling of cold despite an increasing body temperature. Once the new temperature is reached, there is a feeling of warmth.

Causes and Risk factors

A fever can be caused by many different conditions ranging from benign to potentially serious. There are arguments for and against the usefulness of fever, and the issue is controversial.

Hyperpyrexia is a fever with an extreme elevation of body temperature greater than or equal to 41. 5 C (106. 7 F). Such a high temperature is considered a medical emergency as it may indicate a serious underlying condition or lead to significant side effects. The most common cause is an intracranial hemorrhage.

A fever is usually accompanied by sickness behavior, which consists of lethargy, depression, anorexia, sleepiness, hyperalgesia, and the inability to concentrate.

Diagnosis and Treatment

With the exception of very high temperatures, treatment to reduce fever is often not necessary; however, antipyretic medications can be effective at lowering the temperature, which may improve the affected persons comfort. ...