What can cause fever symptoms?

November 12, 2012

What can cause fever symptoms?

There are many factors that are known to cause fever symptoms and some are more serious than others. Identifying the cause is often needed in order to know what treatment is going to be the most effective.

Normal body temperature

There are many factors that can affect a person’s normal body temperature and even throughout an average day, an individual’s body temperature will vary. In the morning body temperature will be lower than it is in the late afternoon and into the evening. Average healthy body temperature range from 97 F/ 36.1 C and 99 F/ 37.2 C. Normal body temperature is generally considered to be 98.6/ 37 C. Although a temperature of a degree higher or lower is nothing to worry about. Factors that can affect temperature without necessarily causing a fever include heavy exercise and the menstrual cycle.

Factors that can cause fever

There are many things that can cause fever symptoms and by identifying the underlying condition is often paramount when it comes to prescribing appropriate treatment that will reduce the fever as well as relieve any other accompanying symptoms. Some of the conditions known to cause fever include:

  • A bacterial infection

  • Heat exhaustion

  • Sunburn/ sun stroke

  • A virus

  • A malignant tumour

  • Some inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis

  • Certain medications including those used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and seizures

  • Certain immunisations including diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP)

There are cases where a doctor cannot identify the fever cause despite thorough investigation. Anyone who suffers from a fever of 101 F / 38.3 C or higher for 3 weeks or longer without the underlying cause being found, may be diagnosed with a fever of unknown origin.

Accompanying fever symptoms

The accompanying symptoms will depend largely on the cause fever and can include things such as:

  • Sweating

  • A headache

  • Dehydration

  • General weakness

  • Shivering

  • Aching muscles

  • A loss of appetite

A very high fever of between 103 F/ 39.4 C and 106 F/ 41.1 C can trigger further symptoms such as hallucinations, irritability, convulsions, confusion and dehydration. A fever by itself in an adult is not necessarily a cause for concern but if it lasts for more than 3 days or exceeds 103 F/ 39.4 C then a doctor should be contacted. In the cases of infants, it is best to contact the doctor of the fever reaches 101 F / 38.3 C or if there are any other symptoms present. A fever is a much greater concern in infants and children than it is in adults.

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