Fever is a state when the body temperature rises above normal due to some external influence or infection. This is primarily a defense mechanism of the body, but it can lead to some serious discomfort and consequences if not checked in time.
Everyone knows the feeling when they are down with flu and experience a rising body temperature. It is completely natural for the body temperature to rise to high levels when an individual is suffering from some disease, and this is the clearest indicator that they need to act fast in order to eradicate the ailment that is causing the fever. There are a multitude of bodily systems that contribute towards the normal functioning of the human body, and each of them requires necessary care and attention from time to time. When a certain affliction occurs in any of these systems, the body responds by contracting a fever and releasing agents that can fight the ailment. This leads to a rise in the body temperature, and alerts the individual to the presence of a problem.
High Body Temperature During Fever
The Hypothalamus present in the brain is the area that regulates the temperature of the human body, and when some agents known as Pyrogens enter the brain, the hypothalamus causes the temperature to rise. These pyrogens reach the brain through the bloodstream, so it is only a matter of time before they complete their route. Medical studies also show that certain microorganisms cannot survive in higher temperatures, and this is another reason why the body temperature rises. Hence, this is the most natural kind of immune and defense mechanism that the body undertakes in order to protect itself from the threat of any external agent.
The normal body temperature of a human being is around 98 – 100° Fahrenheit (or 36.5 – 37.5° Celsius). Any person who has a temperature that is above this is said to be suffering from a high fever. It is necessary to curb a fever and bring the temperature down, because a very high temperature can cause permanent damage to the brain. This has led to an interesting debate in many medical quarters about whether a fever should be treated immediately, or should it be allowed to run its natural course and come down on its own.
Stages and Types of Fever
In order to achieve regulation temperature, it is important to know about the various types of fevers. When a person realizes that he has a high temperature, he needs to know the various stages of the fever as well. The fever also causes the blood vessels that are closer to the skin to contract, and this results in the sensation of cold and chills, and causes the person to shiver (since this action prevents heat loss). Other symptoms at this stage include headaches and loss of appetite, and this is known as the invasion period. In the next stage, the individual starts feeling very thirsty, and the heart rate and blood pressure rises to high levels. Even the respiration becomes faster, and the person experiences a feeling of extreme hotness and flushness. The last stage occurs when the fever starts falling and the temperature falls, and the individual perspires a lot.
One of the types of fever is continued fever, and this is an instance when it just does not fall for prolonged periods of time. This is usually the most dangerous kind, since the prolonged state can lead to convulsions and deliriousness in a patient. The other type is called relapsing fever, and this happens when the person contracts a fever many days after the original fever struck. This is a sign that the disease has not been banished yet, and has only been dormant for the interim period. The last type is known as intermittent fever, and this is a scenario when it comes and goes from time to time. This is perhaps the most commonly seen and least dangerous type of fever.
In most cases, it is very easy for a doctor to find the cause of a fever. Once it has been determined, treating the factor and lowering the temperature is just a matter of time. There are hundreds of different infections that can cause the body to suffer from a fever, but even though the body temperature rises and leads to a fever as a defense mechanism, it can get quite uncomfortable sometimes.