Fever refers to a condition of the body in which the temperature goes beyond the normal. It is characterized by disturbance in the normal functioning of the body system.
It is a common sickness which occurs both in children and adults.
The average temperature of the body in health ranges between 98.4 and 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.9 Centigrade and 37.5 Centigrade.
It is liable to marginal variations, depending on the intake of food, the amount of exercise and the temperature surrounding the atmosphere.
The lowest temperature of the body is between hours of 1:30 a.m to 7 a.m and the highest between 4 p.m and 9 p.m.
The temperature can be taken by a clinical thermometer, which is basically a bulb of mercury connected to a narrow tube inside a glass case.
There are marked degrees of temperature upon this thermometer. As the mercury is warmed, it rises up the tube and the body temperature is that at which the mercury stops. To get a true reading of the body temperature, it should not be measured after undue exertion, or after a hot drink - either of which activities causes the temperature to rise and so give a false reading.
Fever generally starts by slight shivering, pain in various parts of the body, particularly the head, thirst, and great lassitude. The urine is scanty. There may be constipation, nausea, and vomiting.
The pulse and respiration are speeded up. Then finally, there is profuse sweating, a copious flow of concentrated urine and general relief of symptoms.
A high temperature is often accompanied by delirium. I f the temperature of the body during the attack of fever reaches 106 degrees Fahrenheit, the condition is known as 'pyrexia'. It is an indication of danger. If the temperature goes beyond 107 degrees Fahrenheit for any length of time, death may be inevitable.
The term fever has a very wide application. It is the symptoms of a body's fight against infection.
It is one of the most common features of different diseases. In many cases, it is a secondary symptom of the disordered state of the body with which it is associated.
The main cause of all fevers is the accumulation of morbid matters in the system due to wrong feeding habits and unhygienic conditions of living.
Fever is thus, a natural attempt on the part of the body to rid itself of toxic matter.
It is not the result of germ infection, as is generally believed. If it was true, all persons exposed to an infection should get it.
Fever is a natural healing crisis, it should be helped to run its normal course.
Any interference with this natural process by the administration of drugs will only enable the body to retain the morbid matter which caused this condition.
If dealt with naturally, the common fever, where there are no complications, will subside in two or three days.
The patient should be put on a fast on orange juice and water at the beginning of the treatment. The procedure is to take the juice of an orange in a glass of warm water every two hours from 8 a.m to 8 p.m.
It will provide energy, increase urinary output and promote body resistance against infection, thereby hastening recovery. A warm-water enema should be given daily to cleanse the bowels during this period.
Cold compresses may be applied to the head in case the temperature rises 103 degrees Fahrenheit. If this method does not succeed, a cold pack may be applied to the whole body. The procedure is to wring out a sheet or large square piece of linen material in cold water, wrap it twice around the body and legs of the patient and then cover completely with a small blanket or similar warm material.
This pack should be applied every three (3) hours during the day while the temperature is high and kept on for one hour or so each time. A hot water bottle may be applied to the feet and also against the sides of the body.
After the temperature has come down to normal and the tongue has cleared, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for further two days.
In this regimen, he/she should take three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits such as apple, pear, grapes, orange, pineapple, peach, watermelon or any other juicy fruit in season.
For drinks, unsweetened lemon water or plain water, either hot or cold may be taken.
Thereafter, the patient may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits and raw or lightly-cooked vegetables.
Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of common fever.
The use of the leaves of holy basil (Tulsi) is the most effective of these remedies. A decoction made of about 12 grams of these leaves, boiled with half a liter of water, should be administered with milk, sugar and powdered cardamom (chhoti elaichi).
This will bring down the temperature.
A tea made from fenugreek (methi) seed is equal in value to quinine in reducing fevers.
It is particularly valuable as a cleansing and soothing drink. Fenugreek seeds, when moistened with water become slightly mucilaginous, and hence the tea made from them has the power to dissolve sticky substances like mucus.