Fever, or the «fiery hello» from the immune system to infection

But did you know that fever is actually a great way to fight infection? It turns out that viruses and bacteria are extremely intolerant of high temperatures! There’s just one «but»…

Jokes aside, there are undeniable advantages to a temperature increase.

Firstly, the activity of the immune system increases many times over. The number of leukocytes increases, they are directed to the focus of infection and there they organize a grand special operation to destroy the pathogen. In the process, a multitude of biologically active substances are released, which «attack» viruses and bacteria.

Secondly, the pathogens themselves slow down their reproduction when the temperature rises, they weaken, reduce the production of toxins and their own proteins.

How does the temperature rise? When tissues are damaged by viruses, our body’s cells die. This attracts the attention of immune cells, which «diagnose» the infection. In response to this, special substances — pyrogens — are released into the blood.

In our brain, there is a kind of «climate control» system — the thermoregulation center. Pyrogens for it are the same as raising the temperature on the control panel of the boiler room. The more of them — the stronger the brain heats our body.

The thermoregulation center signals the vessels in the skin to constrict. The skin pales, and heat transfer to the surrounding environment drops. As a result, heat is retained in your body and the temperature rises to the required value.

When the body finally defeats the infection, the formation of pyrogens stops. The thermoregulation center perceives this as a signal «everything is over, we return to normal mode» and returns the temperature level to 36.6°C.

The more extensive and active the inflammatory process — the stronger the fever. For example, a sore throat or a runny nose rarely come with a temperature above 37.5°C, while lung inflammation occurs at 38-39°C.

Should the temperature be reduced? If it reaches more than 38.5°C — yes. Exceeding this threshold no longer brings benefits, but our body’s own proteins begin to break down. This leads to high intoxication and a sharp deterioration in condition.

In other cases, do not interfere with the immune system. It has been tested by millions of years of evolution, has been «honing its skills» in fighting infections all your life and better «knows» how to act. Drink plenty of fluids, consume calorie-rich food, and take sick leave. If you are bothered by other symptoms — we advise you to familiarize yourself with the list of cold remedies used in the USA.

Which antipyretic drug to use? The undisputed world leader in this issue is paracetamol. This substance penetrates the thermoregulation center and «turns off» the influence of pyrogens. They continue to circulate in the blood, but the brain «does not notice» them. The temperature drops and the patient feels better. The advantages of paracetamol over other anti-inflammatory drugs:

has many years of experience in useacts mainly in the central nervous system, which means it has fewer side effectscombines well with other cold remedies — antihistamines and expectorantshas forms for early childhoodis available in various forms: syrups, tablets, capsules, powders, candlesrecommended by the FDA for use in the USA

Remember, it is strictly forbidden to:

use paracetamol on the same day with alcoholtake more than 4 grams per day

If you are bothered by a cough in addition to high temperature — we suggest reading about how cough is treated in the USA.

Want to buy paracetamol drugs? You can view the list of trade names here.