Why Do We Get Fever? First and foremost it is worth noting and knowing some fever facts. The first and important one being that fever is not illness. It’s a defense mechanism of the body to fight infection. Fever works for the individual not against him/her. It is a sign that lets us know that our body is working against the infection. It is an important function of the body. Many infants and children get high fevers when they even have minor viral illnesses.
The average normal body temperature is 37°C or 98.6°F. It varies from individual to individual according to one’s age, time of the day, activity, physical condition etc. Body temperature is generally highest during evening. It can go up as a result of physical activity, emotional outburst, eating, wearing heavy, think clothes, medications, room temperature, and humidity. This holds especially true in case of little children.
For example women during their menstrual cycle can experience temperature that is higher than normal by one degree or more. Likewise a rectal temperature up to 100.4°F (38°C) may be quite normal but rectal temperature of 100.5°F is certainly fever. Babies younger than 6 months of age, the temperature variation through the day is small. While in children between 6 months to 2 years, the daily variation is about 1 degree. This variations steadily increases to 2 degrees per day by the time the child is two years old.
When the temperature goes up by a few degrees it gives ther body the winning edge. Besides this fever activates the body’s immune system to produce more white blood cells, antibodies, and other agents that fight infection.
Although infections are the most common causes of high body temperature, fever can be a result of other things also like toxins, cancers, and autoimmune diseases. Heatstroke is another type of fever that cannnot be taken casually either in adults or children or infants. In heatstroke the temperature continues to rise and doesn’t come under control. There is also a type of fever called Unexplained Fever that continues for days or weeks and are termed as Fevers of Undetermined Origin.
There can be many reasons behind getting fever from simple viral infection and sore throat to AIDS and cancer. It’s best to vistit a doctor if you have high fever for some days contineously rather than settling for self medication. Ignoring contineous fever can result in a disorder in the brain. We should not ignore fever.
However if fever is slight without other prominent symptoms, medical treatment is not really required. Drinking fluids and resting will do the trick. If a child has fever but is cheerful, playful and comfortable, give the child plenty of fluids to drink, and encourage him to sleep. Go for medication that too after consulting physician to lower a fever if you or the child are experiencing discomfort, vomiting, dehydrated, or are having difficulty sleeping. The idea should be to lower the temperature not eliminate it.