A very common ailment that affects almost everyone at least once in their lifetime is a fever. It is characterized by the rise in temperature of the body.
- Fever may be defined as an increase in body temperature to above normal.
- The term fever is widely used as if is common manifestations of diseases and particularly, infections.
- It is a protective response to infections and injury.
- The average temperature of a body ranges between 36.9*C and 37.5*C (98.4*F and 99.5* F).
- The body is at its lowest temperature between 1.30 AM and 7 a.m and the highest between 4 pm. and 9 pm.
- The body’s temperature is considered elevated when it is higher than 100*F as measured on an oral thermometer.
- A part of the brain, hypothalamus, controls fever.
- The mechanism of raising the temperature by the hypothalamus is a wonder. It orders and carries out moving the blood away from the skin surface to the interior of the body, thus reducing heat loss. Blood reaches hypothalamus at a new, higher temperature. This high temperature is then maintained, when the underlying cause is removed, the thermostat of the hypothalamus in set to normal. Then the body gets rid of excess temperature through sweating and shunting the blood back to the skin.
- General causes of fever are an infection, allergic reaction, hormone disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, excessive exercises, exposure to the sun, certain drugs (like aspirin), etc.
Charaka Samhita says that when fever strikes, the patient should not be permitted to sleep during the day, bathe, apply oil on the body, have sexual intercourse, or get angry. Going out in the open where the winds blow strongly, taking exercise, and eating of astringent substances should also be prohibited.
- Varieties of Fever: Typhoid, meningitis, dengue, diphtheria yellow fever, mumps, Kala – Azar, etc.
- Fevers associated with different diseases are discussed under their relevant systems e.g. Influenza under respiratory diseases.
- Because fever is the most common accompaniment of most of the diseases, in most cases, it has to be regarded as secondary or symptomatic of a diseased state
- Typhoid fever is caused by the gram-negative bacilli ‘SALMONELLA TYPHI’
- It is an enteric (concerned with intestines) fever.
- It is characterized by prolonged fever, abdominal pain, and a rash.
- It has an insidious tendency to relapse.
- The bacillus enters the digestive tract and reaches the bloodstream. Inflammation of the intestines follows.
- Infected people spread Typhoid through stools and Urine. Inadequate sanitary conditions, sewage water contaminating water supplies, flies, poor hygiene spread the disease.
- Symptoms begin gradually after 8 to 14 days after infection. First symptoms are loss of appetite, fever, joint pain, headache, sore throat, constipation, and abdominal pain. As the illness progresses fever remains high and the patient feels extreme exhaustion. There may be diarrhea or constipation.
- For some people, clusters of small pink spots appear on the chest and abdomen.
- Complications are – the onset of Pneumania, Infection of the gall bladder, liver, Urinary tract, kidneys, and even bones.
- Both oral and injectable vaccines against Typhoid fever are available but provide only partial protection.
- The antibiotic ‘chloramphenicol’ is used worldwide but increased resistance to it has prompted the use of other antibiotics.
- Patients must guard against relapse.
- Ayurveda considers, that vitiation of all the three ‘doshas’ results in Typhoid.
- A similar infection like Typhoid but is caused by the bacterium ‘SalmonellaPparatyphi’ A, B or C. After an incubation period of 1-10 days, diarrhea, mild fever and a pink rash on the chest appear and last for about a week.
- Treatment on similar lines as Typhoid is given.
- This is an infection of the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.
- It may occur independently or may be the result of Tuberculosis.
- It can occur at any age, common among infants aged 1 month to 2 years.
- Children with a weakened immune system are more susceptible to meningitis.
The Cause of Fever
Human body temperature is normally 98.6 F or 36 C in normal conditions. When there is a rise in it, it is known as fever. Fever is measured by an instrument known as a thermometer.
This can be accompanied by other common symptoms like body ache, sore throat, headache, burning eyes, coated tongue, feeling of heaviness, excess saliva production, nausea, loss of appetite, and so on.
Fever also can be caused by Group B streptococci, ‘Escherichia coli’ and ‘Listeria Monocy’ to genes. Bacteria that affect older children are ‘Streptococcus Pneumoniae’ and ‘Neisseria Meningitis’, ‘Haemophilus influenza Type B.
- Except in cases pneumococcal or tuberculous meningitis, the onset of meningitis is sudden, the body temperature rising from 39* to 41* C.
- Increasing fever, headache, confusion, stiff neck, Vomitting, shivering, convulsions, skin rash, etc. are other symptoms.
- Meningitis is a dangerous disease and may quickly lead to a serious condition.
- Even with timely and suitable treatment, as many as 30% of newborns with bacterial meningitis die.
- Of the infants who survive 10 to 20% develop serious brain and nerve damage.
- It is very important that infants and children are vaccinated against meningitis, in consultation with the Doctor.
Other Symptoms of Fever
Depending on the type of fever, the other symptoms like vomiting, chills may develop.
External injury, changing climatic conditions, strain, throat or any other infection, any poisoning or insect bite can cause fever. Even on vaccination, we tend to get a fever. There are many kinds of fevers: jaundice, malaria, typhoid, dengue, and so on.
We may not visit a doctor for a simple fever; however, would take a pill to bring it under control.
Fever is generally not considered as an ailment, but a signal to the brain stating that something is not correct with our body.
There is no particular treatment for this ailment. There are medicines available to reduce the body temperature back to normal, and also the other symptoms raised with it.
- Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes fever and generalized pain.
- It is the disease of tropical and subtropical regions.
- It varies in severity. It is more severe in adults than in children.
- Its onset is sudden.
- The symptoms are swelling and pain in the joints. Eruptions may appear on the body. Low fever, sore throat, watery eyes, body ache are other symptoms.
- Some patients bleed from the nose, mouth and digestive tract.
- The disease lasts for 3 days.
- Relapses occur frequently.
- Dengue fever is occasionally fatal.
You can try Ayurveda home remedies listed below for a simple fever:
- The patient can drink lots of hot liquids like vegetable soups, water, barley water, and porridge that can be easily digested.
- He should avoid oily food, junk food, or rich food that cannot be easily digested.
- Cow milk can be given to the patient, as it is easily digestible.
- Rest is a must. It is better to cover the blanket over the patient so that he sweats. Sweating brings down the fever.
- Mash a small piece of ginger, boil with water and jaggery. After straining the mixture well, you can drink that liquid.
Ayurveda offers potent herbal medicines to cure all types of fevers. Some are given below: It is imperative that the patient having a fever should consult an Ayurvedic physician so that suitable drug for the specific fever of the patient is prescribed.
Curing ailments naturally will not give you any side-effects or problems.