Health Glossary - For Everyone

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What is fever?

Fever is the process of raising the core body temperature, which the body provides as a protective immune response to the microbes (virus and bacteria) that are causing infection, in order for them to be destroyed.

Most bacteria that infect the body exist very comfortably at body temperature and by increasing body temperature to a higher level, the body is able to kill the bacteria by the millions and stop infection.

A region of the hypothalamus called the thermostat region controls body temperature.

When the body is fighting a viral or bacterial infection it responds by releasing pyrogens, chemicals that affect the thermostat level of the hypothalamus and raise body temperature (some of the pyrogens can also be released by the invading microbe).

Normal body temperature is about 37° celcius (or 98.6° F).


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Important fever facts

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Why fever is important

Fever is the body's natural response to fighting a bacterial or a viral infection. The body temperature is raised so that it becomes very uncomfortable for the invading agent and they are killed in the millions.

Some people, though may get complications from fever and should seek immediate medical attention if they have fever. These groups are:

When to seek medical attention:

In addition to this, if fever persists for more than 24 hours (babies and toddlers) and more than 72 hours (in older children and adults), seek medical attention especially if it is causing a lot of discomfort.


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Last reviewed: 14 January 2007 || Last updated: 8 September 2007


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NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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