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Fever
Fever is defined as a body temperature above the normal range due to an increase the temperature.
1. Fever
A fever also known as a high fever or a high temperature is not by itself an illness. It s usually a symptom of an underlying condition, most often an infection.
Fever is usually associated with physical discomfort, and most people feel better when a fever is treated. But depending on your age, physical condition, and the underlying cause of your fever, you may or may not require medical treatment for the fever alone. Many experts believe that fever is a natural bodily defense against infection. There are also many non infectious causes of fever.
Fever is generally not considered dangerous, but hyperthermia can cause dangerous rises in body temperature. This can be due to an extreme temperature associated with heat injury such as heat stroke, side effects of certain medications or illicit drugs, and stroke. With hyperthermia, the body is no longer able to control body temperature.
In children with fever, accompanying symptoms such as lethargy, fussiness, poor appetite, sore throat, cough, ear pain, and diarrhea are important to relay to your doctor.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if you have an infant younger than 4 months old with a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or above, you should immediately call your doctor or go to an emergency room because it could be a sign of a potentially life threatening infection. Also call your doctor or go to the emergency room if any child has a fever above 104 F. High fever can cause seizures in young children.
2. Who Gets Fever
Anyone who lives, visits or travels through the areas where the fungus grows in the soil these areas are called endemic may acquire Valley Fever.
Military personnel who may be training in these areas are also at risk.
People working in certain occupations such as construction, excavation, agricultural work, archaeological digging and other occupations which disturb soil in endemic areas may have an increased risk of exposure and disease.
Persons who pursue recreational activities such as biking or driving ATVs or 4 wheel drive vehicles in the desert may also be at increased risk.
Earthquakes that have occurred in endemic areas of California have also resulted in increased cases of Valley Fever.
Many domestic and native animals are susceptible to the disease, including dogs, horses, cattle, sheep, burros, coyotes, rodents, bats and snakes. Dogs are especially susceptible and often need long term therapy with anti fungal medications.
3. Symptoms
Most cases of Valley Fever are very mild. It is thought that over 60% of infected people have either no symptoms or experience flu like symptoms and never seek medical attention.
Of those patients seeking medical care, the most common symptoms are fatigue, cough, chest pain, fever, rash, headache and joint aches. Some people develop painful red bumps on their shins or elsewhere that gradually turn brown the medical term for these is erythema nodosum .
These symptoms are not unique to Valley Fever and can be caused by other illnesses. Therefore, identifying Valley Fever as the cause of illness requires specific laboratory tests.You have a fever when your temperature rises above its normal range. What s normal for you may be a little higher or lower than the average normal temperature of 98.6 F 37 C .
Depending on what s causing your fever, additional fever signs and symptoms may include:
Sweating
Shivering
Headache
Muscle aches
Loss of appetite
Dehydration
General weakness
High fevers between 103 F 39.4 C and 106 F 41.1 C may cause:
Hallucinations
Confusion
Irritability
Convulsions
Dehydration
4. When to see a doctor
Fevers by themselves may not be a cause for alarm or a reason to call a doctor. Yet there are some circumstances when you should seek medical advice for your baby, your child or yourself.
5. Causes
Fever occurs when an area in your brain called the hypothalamus hi poe THAL uh muhs also known as your body s thermostat shifts the set point of your normal body temperature upward. When this happens, you may feel chilled and add layers of clothing or wrap up in a blanket, or you may shiver to generate more body heat, eventually resulting in an elevated body temperature.
Normal body temperature varies throughout the day it s lower in the morning and higher in the late afternoon and evening. Although most people consider 98.6 F 37 C normal, your body temperature can vary by a degree or more from about 97 F 36.1 C to 99 F 37.2 C and still be considered normal. Factors such as your menstrual cycle or heavy exercise can affect your temperature.


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