Body temperature is maintained by the thermal set point in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain. In fever, the core body temperature is raised above the normal set point. In effect, the body’s definition of “normal” is temporarily reset and temperature is raised. In cases of heat stroke, body temperature is raised externally without resetting the thermal balance point in the hypothalamus.
The mechanism behind fever lies in the fact that when an inflammatory reaction or infection is occurring somewhere in the body. As this occurs, different inflammatory products are produced, such as interferon-gamma, IL-1, and IL-6. These mediators, through a complex process, signal the hypothalamus to reset the balance point at a higher value.
Some main causes of fever include:
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Skin infections
- Upper and lower respiratory tract infections
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Leukemia, Lymphoma, and other cancers
- Some medications
Fever is a way of fighting against infectious agents and is an important defense mechanism for your body. Most fevers are temporary and will resolve as a person recovers from illness. Fevers do not automatically need to be treated as they are part of the body’s defense against infection.
People suffering from fever along with various chronic disorders such as lung and heart diseases and cancer may require fever treatment in order to avoid serious complications.
The drugs which are used to lower body temperature are known as antipyretics. Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, or ibuprofen are the most common antipyretics used in the treatment of fever. Taking them helps lower temperature.
Overdosing can lead to severe complications so be careful while taking these medications. Many over-the-counter medications for flu and common cold contain acetaminophen in them so do not take acetaminophen while also taking medications for flu or common cold.
Fevers associated with elevated pulse rates, elevated or lowered blood pressure, and increased rates of breathing may indicate more serious illness and should be monitored closely.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
If your body temperature is higher than usual for an extended period of time or is associated with other severe symptoms then you should seek medical care to rule out any possibility of serious complications.
Treatment for fever is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.