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When the temperature's rising

thermometerNormal body temperature is an individual value that can be a bit higher or a bit lower than 37 Celsius degree (98.6F).

Hypothalamus, the part of the brain that acts as a body thermostat, determinates your body temperature. When the body detects the infection your hypothalamus simply "reset" the system and sets the new value as the new normal temperature which is higher than usual.

When a body temperature starts to rise, you can feel coldness or even start to shake. That way your body tries to deal with the new situation creating additional temperature. When the body reaches that new temperature level "established" by your thermostat, hypothalamus, your body usually stops shaking and you feel warmness. At that point people like to say that they are feeling better. But when the body temperature starts to go back to the "old" level you start to sweat. That's how your body frees of excessive heat.

Higher temperature is a natural defensive reaction of the organism, not the illness itself. It is a symptom of an illness or some inflammation process such as, for example, angina. That means that decreasing temperature with drugs don't mean that the basic cause of an illness is healed. In other words, the basic cause will be treated with antibiotics while drug for a temperature will help to decrease it.

During the day your temperature may vary one Celsius degree. In a normal situations it will be the lowest around 4am and the highest around 4pm. In almost 3/4 of cases increased temperature is a consequence of acute infection of respiratory organs. So called "neurogenic fever" are very rare and they are caused by drugs.

Increased temperature is a sign of some illness. It can show us the flow of the illness but not its severity. The temperature presents the first answer of the organism which at the same time mobilises its defence. The answer on the increased temperature is individual. Generally, symptoms which follow the temperature are weakness, lack of appetite, headache, shivering and sweating. Additional signs are pain in muscles, dehydration, and slower or heavier breathing. Patients who get extremely high temperature may have conscience disorder and may even fall in a delirium.

Temperature of 37,8 Celsius degree (100F) is considered the lower temperature. Mild higher body temperatures are temperatures from 38C (100.4F) to 39C (102.2F). Significantly higher temperatures are those between 39C (102.2F) and 40 Celsius degree (104F). Temperatures between 40C and 40,5C (104F-104,9F) are high temperatures.

There's no need for all of those temperatures to be lowered down. Temperatures that must be lowered down are those higher than 38,5C (101.3F) measured in armpit, oral or with an ear thermometer, or rectal temperatures over 39C (102.2F).

Inevitable visit doctor if you have increased temperature for more than five days or if you get temperature of 39 Celsius degree (102.2F) or higher.

January 8, 2009




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