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fever thermometer closeupWhat is a Fever?

Fever or pyrexia occurs when the body temperature level has increased beyond it’s normal temperatures of 98 to 100F. A fever can indicate the presence of an illness as your immune system signals the hypothalamus in the brain to raise the body’s temperature to eradicate viruses and bacteria, and keep the body healthy. Minor fevers are typically not of concern; however, if an extreme fever occurs it may interfere with the body’s ability to properly fight off an infection. Fevers may be recognized by warm skin and feeling abnormally cold, shivering and sweating. Severe cases can lead to confusion, agitation and even seizures (convulsions).

Fever may be caused by medical conditions including:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • sunburns
  • heat stroke
  • certain lung diseases such as silicosis
  • common infections

Use of certain medicines, illegal substances, drug abuse or withdrawal may also be the source of fever.

How is a Fever Treated?

High fevers may require medical attention and use of specific medicines. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used for reducing an extreme fever that is detrimental to the body. Other drugs and antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the cause of the fever.

Mild fever should usually not be lowered since it is part of the body’s defense system during sickness. Patients who have a fever should be sure to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.