Fever - a protective reaction of the human body to the infection, formed in the course of evolution. As soon as the pathogen penetrates into our body, there is a dynamic change in the thermoregulation system. The result is a sharp jump in temperature to above 37 ° C. Our ancestors nicknamed absolutely all diseases associated with a rise in body temperature. What is the status of the fever now, how to recognize it and is it possible to get rid of the symptom yourself?
General characteristics of the state
Modern medicine has long ceased to classify fever as a disease. Now it is a symptom, a non-specific pathological process in which body temperature rises above 37 ° C. This is possible due to pyrogens - cells of immune or leukocyte origin, which affect the apparatus of thermoregulation. For what evolution has provided fever? The high temperature helps the body more effectively fight infection, enhances the absorption of foreign particles by defense cells, stimulates the production of interferon and antibodies.
Fever does not affect the underlying mechanisms of thermoregulation. Otherwise, the body would have to simultaneously resist the infection and try to normalize the heat transfer, and this requires enormous energy costs.
In what conditions does a fever occur? An increase in temperature is possible not only during the entry and active control of the infection. Possible causes include: mechanical damage and injuries, dehydration, heat stroke, exacerbation of a number of chronic diseases, myocardial infarction, tuberculosis, some types of cancer pathologies. Also, fever can be a symptom of allergies to drugs.
Fever of not clear genesis
In most cases, fever develops in combination with other symptoms that indicate a particular problem in the body. But there are cases when high fever is the only symptom, and the diagnosis cannot be made even after the initial examination. How to recognize a fever of unknown origin? The patient's temperature reaches 38 ° C and lasts for three weeks. At the expiration of this period, occasional temperature jumps upwards are possible.
Do not self-medicate and do not try to bring down the temperature yourself. Therapy can only be prescribed by a doctor after an extensive diagnostic examination.
Fever of obscure indicates such diseases:
- bacterial infections (tuberculosis, salmonellosis, sinusitis, abscess, pneumonia);
- rheumatic diseases (acute rheumatic fever, Still's disease);
- viral infections (viral hepatitis, mononucleosis);
- fungal infections (coccidioidomycosis);
- tumor processes of various kinds (leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, neuroblastoma);
- other diseases (for example, inflammatory bowel disease, thyroiditis, allergic reaction to drugs).
Mechanism of development and stage of fever
Doctors distinguish three main stages of fever. On the first one, a persistent increase in body temperature is recorded, on the second - temperature retention, on the third - reduction to baseline. Let us consider all three stages more specifically.
The temperature increase is directly related to the functionality of thermoregulation. As soon as pyrogens begin to influence this system, it begins to be rebuilt in such a way as to increase heat transfer. An interesting fact is that the body of an adult does not increase the production of heat, but reduces its consumption, since it saves energy resources. Children's thermoregulation is imperfect and uses a different principle. The body is heated due to the growth of heat production, and not the preservation of heat.
What happens to the body after exposure to pyrogens? First of all, peripheral vessels are narrowed, after which the supply of warm blood to the tissues is reduced.
The next stage is a spasm of skin vessels and cessation of perspiration (due to signals sent by the sympathetic nervous system). The patient's skin begins to fade, and the temperature of the epithelium to fall to limit the heat transfer and save resources to combat pathology.
The condition of the person is also subject to change. There is a feeling of chills, after which you want to lie down, wrap yourself in a blanket and fall asleep. Chills appear due to a decrease in skin temperature. The brain reacts to temperature fluctuations, provokes muscle tremors and literally forces us to limit activity in order to preserve valuable energy reserves.
As soon as the required temperature is reached, the body begins to hold it. The process can last from several hours to several weeks. Heat transfer and heat production balance each other, so that no further increase or decrease in temperature occurs. At the same time, the skin vessels expand, the skin acquires a natural shade, the trembling and chills disappear. The person’s well-being also changes, but not for the better - heat comes to the place of the chill.
In the second stage of fever, the temperature can reach the following values:
- up to 38 ° C (subfebrile);
- 38.5 ° C (weak);
- up to 39 ° C (febrile or moderate);
- up to 41 ° C (pyretic or high);
- over 41 ° C (hyperpyretic). Hyperpyretic temperature can be life-threatening, especially for toddlers and older patients.
Keeping the temperature follows its drop. It can be sharp or gradual. A drop in temperature occurs in two cases: the body has exhausted the supply of pyrogens or was able to overcome the root cause of the fever (either alone or with the help of medicines). Skin vessels dilate, the excess heat accumulated is removed in the form of profuse sweating. After a few hours, the mechanism of thermoregulation returns to its usual state.
How to get rid of fever?
Fever - a symptom of pathological processes in the body. To neutralize a symptom, it is necessary to determine the root cause of its occurrence. This may be an infection, trauma, heat stroke, diseases of various organs and body systems. Immunity quite successfully fights alone with pathological manifestations, others require the help of a doctor. Doctors advise not to waste time and immediately go to the hospital.
If the cause of the fever lies in an infection with which the body can cope on its own, the doctor will prescribe bed restraint and write out a febrifuge. Additional symptoms, such as nausea, headache or muscle weakness, should also be warned by a doctor. He will take this into account when drawing up a therapeutic course.
At the time of the hospital should limit activity, drink more fluids, eat easily digestible food and regularly measure the temperature (about once every 4 hours).
If persistent fever is caused by a serious illness or pathological process, the patient must be hospitalized. After hospitalization, the doctor will conduct a comprehensive examination of the body, determine the cause of the fever and make an individualized treatment plan.
Do not self-medicate. The unreasonable increase in temperature is not always possible to neutralize the antipyretic from the home kit. Do not risk the health of the child and your own. Even if you are 100% sure of the causes of a symptom, consult your doctor to confirm your guesswork.
Despite the fact that fever is a protective reaction of the body, its effect may be negative. A slight temperature rise (ranging from 38 to 40 ° C) is normally tolerated by patients, but an indication of> 41 ° C can be dangerous. High temperatures trigger the process of protein denaturation and the release of inflammatory cytokines. As a result, cellular dysfunction occurs, which affects the functioning of organs, blood quality and metabolism. Fever can also cause physiological stress, worsen the patient’s mental state, or cause febrile seizures (most often develop in children).
To prevent the development of complications, be sure to visit a doctor. Do not self-medicate and do not rely on the natural defense of the body. Perhaps the root cause of the fever lies not in the usual infection, but in a dangerous disease. Use the benefits of modern medicine and be healthy.