Fever - Increased Body Temperature
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Fever: a Friend or Foe

Published on Mar 16, 2018 and last reviewed on Aug 25, 2023   -  5 min read


Everyone experiences an increase in their body temperature once in a while, which we refer to as a fever. This article explains whether fever is good or bad.

Fever: a Friend or Foe

What Is a Fever?

A fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature. It usually indicates that something is wrong and happening with the body. The hypothalamus is a region of your brain that regulates your body temperature. The hypothalamus may raise the body's temperature in reaction to an infection, illness, or other factors.

What Are the Symptoms of Fever?

The symptoms include:

How Is a Fever Diagnosed?

Determining the temperature with a thermometer is the best technique to diagnose a fever. The following are some of the several types of thermometers:

  • Thermometer with digital display (oral, rectal, or under the armpit).

  • Thermometer for the tympanic membrane (ear) [not recommended in babies younger than six months of age].

  • The temporal artery (temperature taken across the forehead area).

In children under the age of three, taking a temperature rectally is the most accurate way. Take the temperature under the armpit or in the mouth of older children and adults. Consult your doctor about the best method for taking your temperature.

If you go to the hospital with a high fever, the following tests will be done:

Initially, a physical examination will be performed by your healthcare practitioner. To determine the reason for the fever, a thorough examination of the skin, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, chest, and abdomen may be performed. The duration and source of the fever, as well as accompanying symptoms, determine the course of treatment.

The following tests could be carried out:

  • A CBC (complete blood count) or a differential blood count are examples of blood testing.

  • Urinalysis.

  • An X-ray of the chest is taken.

What Are the Infections That Cause Fever?

The infections include:

  • Viral infections, such as colds or upper respiratory tract infections.

  • Tonsillitis, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections are bacterial infections.

  • Fevers that persist longer than two weeks are common in chronic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

  • Malaria and typhoid fever are two tropical infections that can induce recurrent fevers.

  • One of the indications of heatstroke is a fever (without sweating).

  • Drugs, as some people are prone to fever as a side effect of some medications.

  • Due to tumors that are cancerous.

Why Are We Getting a Fever?

A fever is not a disease itself. Rather, it is a sign that something is wrong with your body. A fever does not indicate the cause or even the presence of a disease. It is possible that it is a bacterial or viral illness. It could also be a reaction to a food or drug allergy. Fever can also be caused by becoming hot when playing or in the sun.

What I am about to say is certainly not groundbreaking research or a groundbreaking discovery. Still, I felt compelled to share it with you because I have seen hundreds of patients who have no fundamental understanding of fever and are frequently mistreated with self-medication or over-the-counter drugs suggested by a pharmacist, which will cause adverse reactions in our body and it should be avoided.

What Should We Do When We Have Fever?

When we have a fever, the majority of us take an antipyretic medicine like Paracetamol, which does bring the temperature down for a few hours but does not solve the problem. What is more dangerous is that you have effectively blinded yourself to the disease process because, in the absence of any external signs of internal derangement (such as fever), you will never know if there are larger issues at hand. Your body will begin to react more severely, producing more symptoms.

Instead, attempt to determine the reason for the fever, receive correct therapy to cure the disease process, and the fever will go away on its own. Fever that has subsided without the use of antipyretics is a sure sign of the disease getting cured.

What Are the Self-Treatment Suggestions for Fever?

Suggestions to treat fever include:

  • To help lower your temperature, take Paracetamol or Ibuprofen in the recommended dosage.

  • Drink a lot of fluids, especially water.

  • Avoid alcoholic beverages, tea, and coffee, which might promote dehydration.

  • Using lukewarm water, sponge exposed skin. You might try standing in front of a fan to increase the cooling effect of evaporation.

  • Cold baths or showers should be avoided. When the skin is cold, it constricts its blood vessels, trapping body heat. Shivering may occur as a result of the cold, which can generate additional heat.

  • Ensure that you get enough rest, especially bed rest.

When to See Your Doctor for Fever Symptoms?

You should always consult with your doctor in the following cases:

  • Despite home treatment, you are still feverish after three days.

  • Your body temperature is above 40 degrees Celsius.

  • Your teeth are chattering, or you are shivering and shaking uncontrollably.

  • You are warm, yet you are not sweating.

  • As time passes, you appear to be becoming sicker.

  • Hallucinations, vomiting, neck stiffness, skin rash, fast heart rate, cold, or muscular spasms are all odd symptoms.

  • You are perplexed and sleepy.

  • You are suffering from a strong headache that is not responding to pain relievers.

  • You have recently returned from a trip abroad.


Our own defensive mechanism, or immune system, causes an increase in body temperature to alert us that something is wrong with our bodies. It could be caused by an infection or something else entirely, but it is not a disease. It is not that antipyretics should never be used to treat a fever. If the temperature rises over the recommended levels, it may be necessary to take such medications under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. It is critical to realize that taking medications without sufficient understanding and awareness causes more harm than good.

Frequently Asked Questions


Does Having a Fever Carry Any Advantages?

If the fever happens due to a minor viral infection, then temperatures ranging from 101 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit are nothing to worry about, and it carries some advantages:
- As the body temperature rises, the microorganisms in the body die.
- Viral replication of infected cells is prevented.
- High temperature causes a reduction of minerals in the bloodstream leading to bacterial death due to starvation.
- White blood cell formation and motility increase with temperature leading to increased immune response. 


Why Is Fever Considered a Friend?

Mild fevers are good signs of the immune system working perfectly. When the body temperature is high, it triggers cellular mechanisms to make sure the immune system takes appropriate action against the offending bacteria or virus.


How to Get Rid of a Fever?

Fever is a sign of infection and does not go immediately, and it may take two to three days to get cured completely. So a person can make themself comfortable with the following methods:
- Take a lukewarm bath.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Try cool compresses.
- Take good rest.
- Wear light clothes.
- Eat warm soups and nutritious food. 


Is It Necessary to Get Treated for Fever?

Fevers do not require treatment every time until a person feels uncomfortable. Taking rest and drinking plenty of fluids will help. But when fever is accompanied by a severe headache, shortness of breath, stiff neck, or other unusual signs or symptoms, consulting a doctor is necessary.


What Is the Duration of a Fever?

Generally, fevers caused by a virus last for 2 to 3 days; however, some fevers can be a bit longer by 1 to 2 days. At the same time, a fever caused by dengue can last up to 10 or more days. Viral fevers often resolve themselves without treatment, but adequate rest and staying hydrated are required while having a fever.


Is Sweating During a Fever a Good Sign?

There is no evidence that sweat help in reducing body temperature. However, sweat is part of the body’s cooling system, so it is believed that sweating out during a fever can help. Taking a steam bath, wrapping with extra clothes or blankets, and moving around is sure to make a person sweat even more.


How to Get Rid of Shivering During Fever?

Shivering is the body’s natural response to an illness. To feel comfortable, try the following:
- Wear light clothes and cover them with a light blanket.
- Stay hydrated.
- Take adequate rest.
- Sponge the body with lukewarm water.
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) medicine for fever, like Aspirin or Ibuprofen.


What Is the Fastest Method to Get Rid of a Fever?

The symptoms of fever can be relieved by taking medicines or following some home remedies like:
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) medicine for fever.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take a bath.
- Take supplements to boost immunity.
- Take good rest.
- Eat easily digestible foods.


Is It Possible to Cure a Fever Without Medicines?

If the fever is 102°F (38.9°C) or lowers in adults, it is not necessary to consult a doctor or take medication. It is recommended to take good rest and drink a lot of fluids. However, if fever is accompanied by symptoms like headache, dizziness, diarrhea, etc., then it is required to get a medical consultation.


Why Is a Rise in Body Temperature at Night?

Usually, the body temperature will be lower in the morning compared to night due to less cortisol in the blood during the night. So the white blood cells detect and fight against infections at this time, thus provoking the symptoms such as fever, congestion, chills, or sweating.


Does a Fever Return After a Fever Break?

Recurrent fevers may keep coming back over time for a period. It can be due to a virus or bacterial infection or due to vaccination. The treatment of recurrent fever is similar to classic fever. Taking OTC drugs like Acetaminophen will help in managing uncomfortable symptoms.

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Last reviewed at:
25 Aug 2023  -  5 min read




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