Fever is not an illness…what is it then?

By: - 9th May 2019

When your child suffers from a fever, your whole world tends to turn into chaos. However, it is important to know that fever is not a disease or illness. It’s a sign or a symptom that indicates that your body is suffering from an illness.

What is fever?

Fever is when the body temperature is higher than normal. The average temperature of the human body is 37°C or 98.6°F. High body temperature or fever is not a disease, it’s a symptom. This is often a result of a natural reaction that the body makes when it becomes infected. The increasing body temperature is a defense mechanism by the immune system of the body against germs that cause infections. This notification is for the protection of the body and it’ll help the person recover from the infection.

When should you consult a doctor?

When the body temperature rises slightly, it can be treated at home, but if it rises to 38.9°C or 102°C, you must consult a doctor and find out whether the child is suffering from an infection which needs to be treated. When the body temperature becomes very high, this can lead to complications such as fits

What factors affect body temperature?

Eating, exercising, sleeping, and the time of day can all affect the human body temperature. Typically the maximum body temperature is shown around 6.00 pm in the evening while the lowest temperature is seen at around 3.00 am in the morning.

What are the symptoms shown by a child with fever?

Feeling coldness, shivering, loss of appetite, dehydration, depression, pain, increased sensitivity, laziness, sleep deprivation, sweating, muscle aches.

What can cause fever?
  • Viral / Bacterial infections.
  • Inflammation e.g. Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Cancers (Malignant tumours).
  • Silicosis (Lung disease that is caused by long time exposure to Silica dust.
  • Infections of the ear, lungs, skin, throat, bladder.
  • Some prescribed medicines e.g. medicines for hypertension, seizure.
  • Some Vaccines / Inoculations e.g. Diphtheria and Tetanus vaccinations, inoculations for pneumonia
  • Autoimmune diseases e.g. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hormone related illnesses e.g. Hyperthyroidism
An article prepared in consultation with Dr. D. I. I. Dissanayake, Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital

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