The body’s temperature is managed by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. Depending on any number of endogenous or exogenous influences, the hypothalamus may raise or lower the body’s temperature in order to maintain biological equilibrium; however, if the temperature rises above 100.4, it is likely that the body is attempting to fight off some type of infection or illness, and the energy that is being used is causing the hypothalamus to reset the body temperature.
The most common causes of elevated body temperature are common infections, such as gastroenteritis and colds, there are times when other types of infections can be the culprit. Some other types of infections include:
- Infections of the lung, throat, skin, bladder, kidney or ear
- Conditions that cause inflammation
- Side effects from certain drugs
- Different types of vaccines
Other causes of fever include:
- Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and inflammatory bowel disease
- Blood clots
- Hormonal disorders, such as hyperthyroidism
- Illicit drug use, especially cocaine and amphetamines
Although a fever is easy to measure, determining its cause can prove to be a difficult task. A person should never attempt to self-diagnose the origin of an elevated body temperature. If a fever persists for more than 24 hours, it is recommended to visit a physician to be examined and diagnosed.
In most instances, fevers can be effectively treated through the prescription of antibiotics for bacterial infections, and acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin).