Fever

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Fever (also known as pyrexia or controlled hyperthermia[1]) is a common medical sign characterized by an elevation of temperature above the normal range of 36.5–37.5 °C (98–100 °F) due to an increase in the body temperature regulatory set-point.[2] This increase in set-point triggers increased muscle tone and shivering.

As a person's temperature increases, there is, in general, a feeling of cold despite an increasing body temperature. Once the new temperature is reached, there is a feeling of warmth. A fever is one of the body's immune responses that attempts to neutralize a bacterial or viral infection. A fever can be caused by many different conditions ranging from benign to potentially serious. With the exception of very high temperatures, treatment to reduce fever is often not necessary; however, antipyretic medications can be effective at lowering the temperature, which may improve the affected person's comfort.

Fever differs from uncontrolled hyperthermia,[1] in that hyperthermia is an increase in body temperature over the body's thermoregulatory set-point, due to excessive heat production and/or insufficient thermoregulation.

Contents

Definition

A wide range for normal temperatures has been found.[5] Fever is generally agreed to be present if:

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