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A fever, often recognised by an increase in body temperature, is a common symptom that many adults experience at some point in their lives. It can be a sign that the body is fighting off an infection or illness. This article delves into the reasons behind a fever, the different temperature ranges, and when it might be time to seek medical advice.

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Why Does a Person’s Temperature Rise When They’re Sick?

The human body has a built-in thermostat, known as the hypothalamus, located in the brain. When the body detects foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens, the immune system releases chemicals called pyrogens. These pyrogens signal the hypothalamus to increase the body’s temperature. This elevated temperature helps the body fight off the infection, as many bacteria and viruses find it difficult to survive in higher temperatures.

What Is The Range For Low, Normal, Moderately High And Very High Temperatures?

  • Low: Below 36°C
  • Normal: 36°C to 37.5°C
  • Moderately High: 37.6°C to 39°C
  • Very High: Above 39°C

It’s worth noting that individual variations can occur, and what might be a normal temperature for one person might be slightly different for another.

When Does a High Temperature Become Dangerous?

A temperature exceeding 40°C is considered dangerous for most adults. At this point, the risk of complications increases and if someone’s temperature reaches this level, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Prolonged high temperatures can lead to dehydration, hallucinations, confusion, and in severe cases, organ failure.

Does Pain Relief Like Paracetamol Or Ibuprofen Mask The Temperature Or Help The Cause?

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are common over-the-counter medications used to reduce fever and relieve pain. They work by affecting the chemicals in the brain that regulate body temperature. While they can lower a fever, they don’t treat the underlying cause of the fever. Essentially, they mask the symptom (the high temperature) but don’t cure the illness causing the fever. It’s essential to use these medications as directed and ensure they’re suitable for the individual, considering any other health conditions or medications.

Is a High Temperature a Reason To See a Doctor?

A high temperature can be a sign of an underlying illness or infection. If an adult has a temperature above 39°C that doesn’t reduce with home remedies or over-the-counter medications, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Additionally, if the fever is accompanied by other severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, chest pain, or a rash, immediate medical attention should be sought.

Is Telehealth Suitable For Assisting a Person With a High Temperature?

Telehealth, which involves consulting with a healthcare professional over the phone or through video chat, can be a valuable tool for initial consultations. If someone has a high temperature but isn’t experiencing severe symptoms, a telehealth consultation can provide guidance on next steps, whether that’s home care, prescription medications, or an in-person visit. However, for more severe symptoms or complications, an in-person examination might be necessary.

Is a High Temperature The Same As a Fever?

While the terms ‘high temperature’ and ‘fever’ are often used interchangeably, there’s a subtle difference. A high temperature is a symptom, a single indication that something might be amiss in the body. On the other hand, a fever is typically a combination of a high temperature and other symptoms, signalling that the body is fighting off an infection or illness. In essence, all fevers involve a high temperature, but not all high temperatures are due to fevers.

Fevers in adults, while common, should not be taken lightly. They are the body’s natural response to fighting off infections or illnesses. Recognising the signs, understanding the temperature ranges, and knowing when to seek medical advice can ensure that fevers are managed effectively and safely. Whether through telehealth or in-person visits, consulting with a healthcare professional when in doubt is always a wise decision.

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Disclaimer

This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.

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