In the last blog, here, I explained why we develop a fever sometimes due to infection. I also explained some other characteristics of the person with a fever that would require that I take a closer look: overall appearance, extremes of age, a poorly functioning immune system, and some social issues I must consider.
I had alluded to the fact that not all fevers are due to an infection. Now, I want to explain some of the issues that can cause elevated body temperature when no bacterial or viral culprit is to blame.
Certain illicit drugs, like amphetamines, can cause body temperature to elevate higher than what we usually see with infectious causes. MDMA (ecstasy), a common rave drug, causes users to want to have move their bodies more (like dance), it causes increases in serotonin, and it causes the cells themselves to release energy as heat rather than storing it.
Sometimes prescription or over-the-counter drugs can interact...
I remember one time I was working at a large hospital, and about 1 am a mother brought her toddler in with a rectal temperature of 106.5. Even for those of us who see a lot of kids with fever, that’s pretty high. We did a full evaluation including blood work, x-rays, and lumbar puncture and got the kid admitted to the pediatric service while we waited to see if the blood cultures grew anything. This child did fine and went home after a couple of days. Fevers continue to be one of the most common reasons people come to the hospital or see their doctors, especially in the pediatric age group.
I like to educate people about fevers because there are so many misconceptions. Everyone’s grandmother has an antidote for fever. Everyone knows someone who knows someone whose “brain was fried” due to fever. So many myths, so little time…
Aside from some unusually high fevers, usually caused by issues other than infection (discussed in the next...
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Not all vitamins are created equal. Look at the quality of the vitamins. Read the instructions. Some are best taken with food, some without. Remember, vitamins are used to supplement what you aren't receiving from a proper diet.
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