The fever

Fever is an increase in temperature produced by an alteration of the thermoregulatory center located in the brain, in particular in the anterior hypothalamus, due to the presence of chemicals called pyrogens, which can be of different nature:

 exogenous (bacteria, viruses and toxins);

 endogenous (interleukins, interferons and other inflammatory mediators).

Normal body temperature is maintained by the thermoregulatory mechanisms of our body around 36.5 ± 0.7 ° C; a body temperature over 41 ° C (for example in case of heat stroke or malignant hyperthermia), causes denaturation of enzymes, alteration of cell membranes and interruption of mitochondrial functions, the outcome is lethal.

Fever is a defense mechanism activated by our body following infection by harmful microbes; in fact, an increase in temperature creates an unfavorable environment for the replication of bacteria and viruses, which can thus be eliminated more easily by our immune system; moreover, the increase in temperature induces our body to produce interferon and other substances useful for fighting viruses.

However, fever causes a strong sense of malaise and discomfort, headache and nausea, and we are strongly induced to take antipyretic drugs to reduce body temperature, but in doing so we cause a drop in temperature, favoring the replication of the microbes that infest our body; for this reason it is advisable to take antipyretic drugs when the temperature exceeds 38-38.5 ° C.