Fever is probably one of the most common complaints of people whenever they visit their doctors. Experiencing fever is definitely discomforting. This condition causes the body to feel very hot, which can also trigger weakness or tiredness to occur. However, many people believe that fever is a type of a disease or a disorder in the body. Some even thought of fever to be contagious or transmittable. But what exactly is a “fever” and when is a fever contagious?
What is a Fever?
Fever, which can also be medically termed as hyperthermia, is a condition in the body that exhibits an increase in the temperature that is beyond the normal limit of 37.5 degrees Celsius (varies on different sources). However, fever is not considered a type of disease, infection or disorder in the body rather it is a common symptom or a resulting effect of a particular health problem. In line with this, fever is not contagious. Nevertheless, the problem or the condition causing fever to occur maybe the one that is contagious or transmittable. Fever is actually a reaction or an immune response of the body to a particular alteration in the system that can be caused by either a bacterial or viral-induced infection. Both of these infections are the ones that can be considered as transmittable.
Fever as a Warning Sign
Many think that experiencing fever is a bad sign. Yes, fever can indicate that there is a problem in the body. However, having fever or being febrile is actually a good thing since it is a natural response of the immune system to fight off the agents that causes the alteration or the problem to occur. In other words, fever should be considered a warning sign rather than a disease in the body. But why do we need to eliminate fever? Although fever is a good reaction of the body against certain diseases and health problems, having increased body temperature can still bring about many problems and complications in the body. Once fever is detected, it is a must that immediate intervention is done in order to treat the underlying condition as well as alleviate the symptoms, which includes the increase in temperature. A body temperature that can reach more than 40 degrees Celsius is already considered critical for the body and can already lead to shock and/or convulsions. So in relation to this, it is important that we are aware of the different factors that can trigger fever to occur in the body in order for fast and appropriate management to be given.
Possible Causes of a Fever
Fever is usually caused by common ailments such as cough, colds, throat problems, ear pain, abdominal pain, vomiting nausea, diarrhea as well as urinary discomforts. However, fever can also result from other causative factors such as the following:
• Infection – infection is considered to be the number one cause of fever. Infection can be bacterial, viral or even fungal in nature. Some of the most common health problems caused by infection that can trigger fever to occur includes pneumonia, pharyngitis, laryngitis, tuberculosis or TB, meningitis, tonsillitis, rheumatic fever, cystitis, appendicitis, pancreatitis, herpes, flu, chickenpox, orchitis, boils and a lot more.
• Infestations – Infestations can also trigger the body to increase its temperature. Infestations are caused by the presence of parasites and worms in the body. This condition can lead to the certain health problems such as malaria, amoebiasis, filariasis, schistosomiasis, etc.
• Drug Induced – aside from infections and infestations, some drugs and medications can also cause fever in the body. These drugs include penicillin, sulpha drugs and other drugs that taken in overdose.
• Tissue necrosis – Necrotic or the death of a tissue can also be considered a factor in causing the body to increase the temperatures. Some examples of this include MI or myocardial infarction, malignancy, injuries and liver cirrhosis.
Although fever is recognized as a symptom, this condition can also bring about other symptoms in the body. However, these symptoms usually vary from patient to patient. These include:
• Body ache
• Chills or shivering
• Joint ache
• Sudden or gradual increase in body temperature
• Presence of blisters
• Rashes that burn and itch
• Loss of the taste sensation
Emergency symptoms of fever include the following:
• Stiff neck
• Blabbering and/or confusion (delirium)
• Problems or difficulty in breathing
• Swollen glands
• Seizure or convulsions (common among children)
• Presence of dehydration – positive for thirst, skin dryness, poor turgor and paleness of tongue and skin.
These are just some of the important facts and information about fever, which includes its possible causes and symptoms. Now we are all aware that fever is not a disease or a disorder and is likewise not classified as contagious rather it is more of a reaction or a response of the body to certain health problems and alterations.