The hypothalamus,at the brain’s center, acts as the body’s thermostat. So when the hypothalamus gets word that germs are on the scene, it starts to set the body’s internal temperature higher. The heat helps fight the germs by making the body a less comfortable place for them. And certain cold viruses do not reproduce at higher temperatures, so even a slight fever can actually help to get rid of the virus more quickly.
A fever indicates the body has gone into fight mode to get rid of a virus or infection. Almost any infection can cause fever. Measles, chicken pox, strep throat, influenza, and even the common cold often cause an increase in body temperature. In case burning up is not bothersome enough, a fever sometimes comes with other symptoms like chills, loss of appetite, an overall feeling of tiredness or weakness, and headaches.
Normal Body Temperature and How to Measure It?
Most people have a body temperature of around 98.6°F(37°C), and it stays same from day to day until germs enter the picture.The body’s defense system puts on the heat in an attempt to cook the germs out.
There are several ways to measure the body temperature including thermometers that go in the mouth, under the armpit, in the ear, and in the rectum. The rectal method is the most accurate, infants benefit most from this technique. A thermometer in the mouth is the next best way, while the armpit and ear give the least accurate readings.
Fever temperatures normally run around three to four degrees higher than normal body temperature. In general, do not treat fever below 102°F (38.9° C) with any medication unless a doctor recommends it. Medicine like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help ease the symptoms that accompany a fever. But they do not treat the underlying condition. And since medication blocks the signals that tell the hypothalamus to crank up the degrees,those germs may live to fight another day.
If a fever runs higher than 102° F, for three days,medical attention may be necessary. Fevers can pose the greatest risk to the infants, pregnant women, and individuals with compromised immune system.
As for everybody else, when the body warms up, it is easy to get dehydrated. So drink extra fluids to compete with the heat. After the cause of the fever disappears, the hypothalamus sets everything back to a normal temperature.