Fever is a condition of raised body temperature above 37.7 C, recorded by a thermometer in the oral cavity. This condition is usually called a febrile condition.
The body temperature of a healthy person is regulated between 35.8 C to 37.2C (96.5 to 99F). There is a diurnal variation of the temperature. The temperature is at a lower level in the morning and increase as the day progresses.This variation is seen in fever also.
TYPES OF FEVER
In the absence of eruption,the only guide to fever is the course of temperature.There are three types of fever based on the course of temperature that pursues on a day to day basis:
- Continued Fever: The temperature remains elevated most of the time and the variation do not exceed more than 1 to 15 F.
- Remittent fever: Here the variation is more than the diurnal and it does not touch normal.
- Intermittent Fever: Here the temperature at some time of the day become normal and at the other times is higher. It is raised by 1, 2 or more degrees.
- Compound Fever: Boenninghausen has coined a fourth type of fever- “ compound fever; Unlike the other fevers, where the stages are chill, fever, sweat that follow each other, Boenninghausen observed that there is a class of individuals where the regularity of chill, heat and sweat is not maintained. Instead, the fevers begin with chill, shivering, sweat or with dry heat.
CAUSE OF FEVER
Fever can be caused by a number of factors:
- An infection, such as strep throat, flu, chickenpox, or pneumonia
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Some medications
- Overexposure of skin to sunlight, or sunburn
- Heat stroke, resulting either by exposure to high temperatures or prolonged strenuous exercise
- Silicosis, a type of lung disease caused by long-term exposure to silica dust
- Amphetamine abuse
- Alcohol withdrawal
SYMPTOMS OF FEVER
In some instances the fever may be attended with no symptoms but in almost all cases where the temperature is being elevated,one complains of feeling of chill, shivering or rigors. At times, one complains of a burning hot feelings, headache, restlessness and vague pains in the limbs and back.
A skin rash is often present with macular, popular, vesicular and pustular eruptions. This rashes are very distinctive of a different disease like measles,chickenpox, scarlatina, etc.
Appetite is poor, tongue is furred, bowels are constipated. Urine is highly coloured and scanty.
In children, vomiting and convulsions may herald an attack of fever.
The following useful facts may be remembered regarding temperature:
- A sudden advent of high temperature in a previously healthy person without other pointing symptoms indicates influenza,tonsillitis,scarlet fever, pneumonia or urinary infection.
- A fresh rise of temperature after it has begun to fall indicates a complication or relapse.
- A sudden fall in temperature during the course of fever may indicate haemorrhage, perforation or profuse diarrhoea.
- In non febrile conditions like tetanus, delirium tremens, cancer epilepsy, apoplexy, cholera, etc, if there is a rise of temperature, it generally indicates a fatal termination.
INVESTIGATIONS OF FEVER
Although investigations may not help us in the selection of the remedy, the procedure is essential in order to determine the cause of fever, diet and the prognosis of the case.
It is observed that the physican orders all type of tests, whether they are essential or not, only appropriate tests should be ordered. Where the diagnosis is obvious, no test may be necessary.
Complete blood count ( C.B.C.): This often guides to the type of infection.
- Polymorphonuclear leukocytosis: Indicates bacterial infection
- Neutropenia: Indicates viral infection, brucellosis, typhoid.
- Lymphopcytosis: Indicates viral infection, whooping cough
- Atypical lymphocytes: It generally indicates infectious mononucleosis
- Eosinophilia: Indicates parasitic infections, helminthiasis or an allergic state.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR FEVER
Aconitum napellus- Mostly indicated when the patient complains of sudden chill followed by sudden,acute and violent invasion with fever. This is caused by exposure to dry cold winds, draft of air or checked perspiration, at times during hot weather.There is drenching sweats often relieve all complaints.
Belladonna- Indicated when the patient comes down with sudden congestion,furious excitement and perverted special senses.Given when skin is hot,red and flushed. Despite all this, there is comparative absence of toxaemia.Very useful in scarlet fever in lower potencies, both as a curative as well as a prophylactic, with a red throat, nausea, vomiting and a hot head or bdelirium.
Rhus toxicodendron-Indicated when the patient complains of developing fever during dentition or after getting wet while perspiring.Given when patient finds it difficult to remain in bed,usually at night.Useful when it is associated with severe muscular pains with a constant desire to stretch.Very useful in erysipelas and vesicular rash with the beginning of fever simulating the rash of chickenpox.
Eupatorium perfoliatum-Indicated when the patient usually complains of paroxysms of fever in the morning. There is thirst several hours before the chill develops and it continues during the chill and heat stage too. And although there is heat, there is no sweat.Also there is vomiting after drinking water.