A fever, medically termed as pyrexia, is a state of increased body temperature. This symptom is present in numerous diseases. Basically it develops in infections and inflammatory diseases but it is also quite present in cancer, in cases of poisoning, connected to usage of some drugs, heat exposure, injuries or diseases of the endocrine system. Normally body temperature does not exceed 98.6F. This is the baseline temperature. It may vary a bit mainly due to weather conditions.
The body temperature is easily measured with body thermometers (digital, disposable, oral, rectal thermometers). Hypothalamus is part of the brain in charge with body temperature regulation. Fever develops if certain substances called pyrogens reach the hypothalamus and increase the temperature set point. The outside pyrogens may include viruses, bacteria, fungi, certain drugs and poisons.
The easiest way of establishing the high temperature is to use the thermometer. People are supposed to drink a lot of fluids. Repeated showers with mild temperature water may be of some help. At home the temperature can be reduced by various over the counter medications. Most commonly used is ibuprofen. This drug belongs to Non-steroidal anty-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Acetaminophen can be used as well. Even a combination of these two is possible. Aspirin may be used only by adults as it may lead to Reye's syndrome if used in children. Side effects of ibuprofen which include nausea and vomiting may be prevented if the drug is taken together with food. This medication is forbidden for pregnant women and those suffering from stomach ulcers, kidney problems as well for those who are allergic to ibuprofen or Aspirin. As for acetaminophen it may lead to liver failure if overdosed. Hence this medication is forbidden for those with liver diseases as well for the chronic alcoholics.
If the fever is caused by high temperatures such as prolonged exposure to sun the person needs to be taken to shaded area as soon as possible and covered with cold and wet sheets or cooled with water poured right over the body. In this case rehydration is essential.
If pyrexia is caused by usage of certain drugs these have to be discontinued.
Apart from the antipyretics (medications for reducing the increased body temperature) the drugs are administered in order to eradicate the primary cause of the fever. E. g. in case of bacterial infections antibiotics are administered. Fungal infections are treated with antifungal drugs. Thyroid storm is condition cause by hyper production of the thyroid gland hormones. It may result in increased body temperature. In this case specific drugs are used to block the release of hormones and this eventually results in decrease of the body temperature. Most attention had to be paid on children since prolonged and extremely high body temperature may lead to febrile convulsions, a very serious condition.