Types of fever and its advantages and disadvantages
Posted Date: 26-Feb-2009
This article described about the different types of fever and how fever can become advantageous and when it would become disadvantageous. Read this article to know how to measure body temperature, different types of fever like continuous fever, intermittent fever and the others.
Fever or pyrexia means means an increase of more than 1 degree centigrade or any rise above the maximal normal temperature. The body temperature is the temperature of the viscera or the tissues of the body. A maintainence between the heat gain and heat loss which is regulated by hypothalmus keeps the body temperature normal.
How to measure body temperature
The body temperature is best recorded by a mercury thermometer which should be kept in the mentioned position for a minute. Usually the position which people prefer is axilla to record temperature. However in summer days or when there is lot of perspiration, oral temperature is taken.
In special circumstances like in Cholera rectal temperature is taken which is usually high whereas skin temperature may be subnormal.
The normal body temperature varies from 36 degree celcius to 37.5 degree celcius. There is a diurnal variation of 1 degree celcius and lowest temperature is seen at 2-4 AM while highest in afternoon.
Types of Fever
A human beings when suffer with fever, can show many characteristics some of fevers are present continuosly or some follow on and off. Fevers are thus of six types and the type depends on the cause of the fever.
In continuous fever the temperature remains above normal throughout the day and does not fluctualte more than 1 degree centigrade in 24 hours. This type of fever may be present in urinary tract infections, typhoid, brucellosis, infective endocarditis, lobar pneumonia, Typhus fever etc.
In intermittent fever temperature is seen only for some hours in a day and comes back to normal for rest of the hours. If this spike of up and normal occurs every day it is quotidian, if every alternate day like fever today and normal tomorrow and again fever day after tomorrow, then it is called tertian and if this occur after every third day then it is quartan intermittent fever. This type of fever is seen in malaria, kala azar, pyemia, septicemia etc.
In remittent fever temperature is above normal throughout the day and fluctualtion is more than 1 degree celcius. This type of fever is mostly seen in our clinics. Example are in typhoid, infective endocarditis etc.
Hepatic or septic fever
In this type the fluctuation of temperature between peak and nadir is very high and usually more than 5 degree celcius. It may be present in some septicemia.
Pel Ebstein fever
In Pel Ebstein type of fever there is alteration of recurrent bouts of fever and afebrile period. It may take 3-4 days for fever to rise, remains high for few days and remits in 3-4 days with an afebrile period of 7-10 days and agian starts regaining fever. This type of fever is seen in infectious mononucleosis.
Low grade fever
Low grade fever as the name suggest the temperature doesnt exceed 37.8 degree centigrade and remains throughout the day with rise in evening. Many times this is ignored by patients as may not indicate any disease, but this type of fever is present in tuberculosis.
Advantages and disadvantages of fever
Fevers as the general view is, are not always harmful. In some diseases it is beneficial like in neurosyphilis, chronic arthritis and some widespread cancers. In fact fever is induced in these cases by injection of milk protein and BCG vaccine.
Fever is associated with release of endogenous pyrogens, which activates the T- cells and thus enhance the host defence mechanism.
Disadvantages of fever is wellknown that it may cause hypercatabolism leading to nitrogen wastage and weight loss and weakness. Due to sweating it may lead to electrolyte imbalance. They may be convulsion and brain damage in case of high fever. Circulatory overload, arrythmia can occur in fever leading to untoward effects.
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