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FEVERS

FEVER can be defined as a condition of the body in which the temperature goes beyond the normal. The average temperature of the body in health ranges between 98.4o F. and 99.5 o F. According to the Celsius scale the temperature of a healthy body should range between 36.9o and 37.5o C. It is liable to marginal variations according to the ingestion of food, the amount of exercise, the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere etc. The lowest temperature of the body is between the hours of 1.30 am and 7 am and the highest between four O'clock in the evening to 9 O'clock in the night.

If the temperature of the body during an attack of fever reaches 106 o F. (hyperpyrexia) it is an indication of danger, and if it goes beyond 107o F. or 108o F. for any length time, death is inevitable. Occasionally, the temperature goes upto 110o F. or even 112o F. before death intervenes.



The term fever has a very wide application: it is one of the most common features of many diseases. In many cases, it is a secondary symptom of the disordered state of the body with which it is associated. In many diseases, the main symptom which attracts attention to the malady is fever. Fever generally begins by a slight shivering, pain in various parts of the body, particularly the head, thirst and great lassitude. The symptoms vary according to the diseases of which it is an accompaniment: for example, a cardinal symptom of typhoid or enteric fever is a slow pulse, proportionately speaking, in spite of a high temperature, whereas if it accompanies the infection of the urinary tract (commonly called UTI), the pulse is proportionately very rapid.

In view of what has been stated above, fevers can be categorised into as many as one and a half score classes. Broadly speaking fever is found in the following diseases:

(i)influenza; (ii) pneumonia; (iii) typhoid; (iv) cerebrospinal fever; (v) plague; (vi) diptheria; (vii) dengue fever; (viii) sandfly fever; (ix) yellow fever; (x) mumps; (xi) rheumatic fever; (xii) heat exhaustion and heat stroke; (xiii) smallpox; (xiv) chicken-pox; (xv) measles; (xvi) hectic fever; (xviii) fever at the various stages and types of tuberculosis; (xix) fever of dysentery; (xx) fever attendant upon gastrointestinal infections like gastritis; (xxi) relapsing fever; (xxvi) Malta fever; (xxvii) rat bite fever; (xxviii) and filaria.

Some of the fevers we have covered while dealing with the diseases which they accompany, e.g., influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis. We shall begin the treatment of the subject with common fever and then go on to specific types.




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