Fever, febris, medical lexicon, learn online with lecturio

Fever, febris, medical lexicon, learn online with lecturio


Definition fever

also known as: Febris

fever Body temperature is maintained at a normal level by a mid-brain control center, which varies between 36.5 and 37.5 ° C. If it rises to values ​​between 37.5 and 38 ° C, one speaks of elevated temperature, between 38 and 38.5 ° C of light and beyond 38.5 ° C of high fever. The maximum value is generally 41 ° C, since at this temperature the body protein begins to clot. At temperatures above 40-41 ° C, there is an acute risk of stress on the heart and circulation as well as impairment of various organ functions. Not only its height, but also its course (constant or recurring fever or fluctuating fever during the course of a day) is important for the evaluation of the fever. The age of the feverish patient also gives some indication for the diagnosis: infants are much more likely to have fever than older people.

After the fever course one differentiates different types:

  • The continuous fever (Febris continua): It is usually above 39 ° C and fluctuates over long periods only by 1 ° C back and forth. This form of fever occurs, for example, in typhoid fever, typhus and in various viral diseases.
  • the remitting fever (Febris remittens): It fluctuates much more, but always remains above normal temperature. It is found in sinusitis and urinary tract infections.
  • the intermittent fever (Febris intermittens): phases of high fever alternate with fever-free periods. This temperature pattern is characteristic of malaria and relapsing fever.

Fever arises when the heat production of the body exceeds the release. In 75 percent of all cases it is the result of infections. But also tissue decay products – z. As in heart attack, stroke, burns, radiation, etc. – and certain drugs (antibiotics, atropine, caffeine, thyroid hormones) have a temperature-increasing. Moreover, an increase in body temperature may be due to increased heat production (extreme physical stress, crying in children, emotional stress), increased external heat (overheating) and impaired heat release (heat stroke). Other causes of fever include: cancer, blood disorders, central nervous system and hormone glands, rheumatic diseases and allergies. The temperature center in the brain can also be directly irritated by bleeding, tumors, malformations, and brain infections. In infants and toddlers, the following causes of fever must be considered: infections of the respiratory tract, the middle ear, the urinary tract, the meninges or the intestines; Infectious diseases such as measles, scarlet fever, etc .; Water loss (thirst fever, salt poisoning, etc.); malignant tumors (especially leukemia) and drug side effects.

The symptom of fever must never be trivialized; it is just as wrong to dramatize every increase in temperature. Decisive are always the accompanying circumstances. Drowsiness, neck stiffness, severe headache, vomiting, general decay (pale skin, restlessness, bad heartbeat, very fast pulse) signal danger and usually require hospitalization. But even if a high fever persists for several days without serious illness, medical advice must be obtained. With infants and toddlers even more caution is necessary, as it comes in younger years by fever easier to disturbances of the water and salt balance, to shock and convulsions (febrile convulsions).


In the treatment of feverish diseases, it must always be remembered that the increase in body temperature is basically a sensible measure of the organism, which serves to support life-threatening defense reactions. Therefore, should be intervened only with prolonged, agonizing fever. For example, treatment may involve the application of calf rolls and other measures that help to improve the release of heat. But special, fever-lowering drugs are available. Basically, of course, the fight against the underlying disease is the most important measure to combat the increased body temperature. Reject the routine administration of fever-lowering drugs at any temperature increase! The existing in almost every medicine chest fever usually have a strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect and are not free of side effects, however, only occur in a long-term treatment. But even in small doses they can cause gastrointestinal intolerance and occasionally allergic reactions. Chronic, d. H. Prolonged fever – even with only moderately elevated body temperature – always require medical assessment and treatment.

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Christina Cherry
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