Is fever helpful?
Yes, but not always. A fever-induced rise in body temperature may benefit an infected host by increasing the activity of their defense system. However, it has limitations; fever patterns typically aid in identifying an infection or a pre-existing medical condition, and their presence requires medical attention.
Fever is a significant symptom of a disease. Several misconceptions about the dangers posed by fever development have persisted over time. In this compilation, we will discuss the significance, benefits, and limitations of body temperature rise, and fever as a therapy.
What is the significance of fever?
Fever is not always harmful. The most common cause of fever is an infection or a normal inflammatory response to trauma or surgery. Fever is neither a good predictor of infection nor should it automatically require an immediate workup. You should not use antibiotics to treat a fever unless the underlying condition is identified. Patients with mild fevers within 24 hours of expected discharge should not be kept in the hospital. Suppressing fever unnecessarily may be harmful in some patients.
Is fever therapeutic?
Yes, fever could be used as a therapy. Fever appears to have evolved in humans as an adaptive infection-control mechanism. Certain stressors or microorganisms cause the release of a fever-inducing hormone. This induced chemical mediator then circulates to the hypothalamus, the brain’s thermoregulatory center, raising the “set point” for normal body temperature. Typically, shivering, increasing heat production, decreasing heat loss, or simply seeking a warmer environment cause fever.
Fever is essentially an impairment in normal thermoregulation. Thus, rise in body temperature requires mediators such as prostaglandins and catecholamines. As a result, higher body temperatures may benefit an infected host by increasing the activity of their defense system. This, in turn, enhances some aspects of the early inflammatory response, resulting in increased white blood cell emigration and local infection containment. Fever patterns are especially useful in eliminating diagnoses and indicating previously unknown disorders that may be detected by additional procedures. Thus, a rise in body temperature is a key indicator of an infection or underlying condition and could be defensive up to a certain point.
Medical professionals have been using Pyrotherapy, or artificial fever induction for long, particularly in the treatment of psychotic diseases. You should not confuse pyrotherapy with a rise in body temperature, which is a result of a foreign infection or medical condition.
Is there any limitation to fever as a therapy?
Yes. In humans, the role of fever as a therapy in host defense has never been satisfactorily proven. Fevers may be effective in neutralizing mild infections caused by specific microorganisms. However, there are some circumstances in which a rise in body temperature is only indicative and not actually a treatment. Infections may not always cause such fevers. Therefore, you should not ignore an uncontrollably high fever, a recurrent fever, or a fever caused by a pre-existing condition.
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