Pyrexia is a natural immune response of the body to fight against disease-causing organisms and severe illnesses. 98.6ᵒF is considered normal temperature, but it varies according to the area of the body from which the measurement is made. Temperature is usually measured from oral or axillary regions and rarely rectal areas. The rectal area shows accurate readings as it records the temperature of the core or inner areas.
Causes of Pyrexia:
Causes of pyrexia may be infectious or non-infectious. Some of the common reasons for pyrexia are listed here:
- Lower respiratory tract infections like bronchitis (inflammation of the air tubules that carry blood in and out of the lungs)
- A bacterial lung infection called tuberculosis
- Complicated urinary tract infections
- Bone infections like Osteomyelitis
- A bacterial infection of the cardiac tissue called endocarditis
- Viral infections like HIV (Human-Immunodeficiency syndrome) and Cytomegalovirus
- Neurological conditions like brain fever or hemorrhages
- Malignant conditions like Leukaemia and renal cell carcinoma
- Reactions to drugs
- Bowel or bladder related problems
- Reactions to blood transfusion
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Fever:
Fever is clinically manifested as additional signs and symptoms such as:
- Shivering or chills
- Generalized body pains and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pains
Children in the age of 6 months to 5 years may get febrile seizures (which is marked by the loss of consciousness, stiffening, jerking, and fainting) when the temperature reaches >103ᵒF.
Diagnosis of Fever:
The doctors take a detailed history from the patient about the duration of fever and the associated symptoms such as chills, headache, and body pains.
Doctors also physically examine the:
Temperature: To check for the level of temperature rise
Eyes: To check for any redness or paleness
Pulse: To test for the heart rate
Blood pressure: To check for changes in the blood pressure
Based on the history taken from the patient, the doctors recommend a Complete blood count (CBC), Urine test, and a chest X-ray to determine the exact cause of pyrexia.
Treatment of Pyrexia:
The following methods can treat pyrexia:
Medications: The use of drugs like Ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) helps to control fever and any discomfort associated with it. These medications should be used at the exact doses as recommended by the physician as higher doses may damage the liver or kidney.
Antibiotics: These drugs are recommended if the doctor suspects that the fever is caused by some bacterial infections in the bladder or bowel.
Antiviral drugs: These medicines are used if the doctors diagnose that the fever is caused by viral infections.
Rest: The patient should take adequate rest.
Fluids: Adequate fluids along with regular supplements should be taken to prevent dehydration.
Patients admitted with very high fever and weakness are immediately put on intravenous vitamin supplements or medications to prevent excessive loss of salts and minerals from the body.