Learn about the causes of Fever & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Fever within New Zealand.
Fever is a rise of the body's temperature to an abnormally high level - 38 degrees centigrade (100.4 degrees fahrenheit) or higher. It is normally a symptom of an underlying infection.
Causes of fever
A fever is not a condition in itself but rather a symptom of an underlying infection or disease. A fever is triggered by the immune system releasing chemicals in the brain as a means to combat infection or inflammation.
Historically, a fever was feared after childbirth because it was a sign of a fatal infection such as measles or influenza but today's treatments are now effective in fighting most infections. However, a fever is still a sign of illness and the cause should always be identified.
Other causes of fever include those conditions which cause inflammation such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.
Highly infectious tropical viruses such malaria can cause a fever as care rare infections such as ebola. In 25% of fever cases the cause is not due to infection and one in five people suffer persistent fevers because of a tumour. Other conditions such as lymphoma, lung cancer and liver cancer will typically result in a fever.
The main symptom of fever is an increase in temperature. The average body temperature taken orally is 37ºC (98.6ºF), but 36.5ºC to 37.2ºC (97.7ºF and 99ºF) is normal. A temperature of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above is usually considered to be a fever.
Depending on the underlying cause of the fever, you may experience these additional symptoms:
Higher temperatures (those between 103 F (39.4 C) and 106 F (41.1 C) may also cause:
Children under five years-old can experience 'febrile seizures' which are fever-induced. Although this only effects a small percentage of children, the signs to look for include a temperature that rises and falls quickly, convulsions and a brief loss of consciousness. These seizures only last a few minutes and don't cause any chronic problems.
A fever is rarely harmful but you should seek a medical opinion if the temperature reaches higher than 38.5ºC (101.3ºF) as it may be a sign of a serious illness. Contact your doctor if: