A fever is defined by most
healthcare providers as a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) and higher when taken
The body has several ways to maintain normal body temperature. The organs involved in helping with temperature regulation include the brain, skin, muscle, and blood vessels. The body responds to changes in temperature by:
Increasing or decreasing
Moving blood away from, or
closer to, the surface of the skin
Getting rid of, or holding on
to, water in the body
Seeking a cooler or warmer
When your child has a fever, the
body works the same way to control the temperature. But it has temporarily reset its
thermostat at a higher temperature. The temperature increases for a number of
Chemicals, called cytokines and mediators, are made in the body in response to an invasion from a microorganism, malignancy, or other intruder.
The body is making more
macrophages. These are cells that go to combat when intruders are present in the
body. These cells actually "eat-up" the invading organism.
The body is busy trying to
make natural antibodies, which fight infection. These antibodies will recognize
the infection next time it tries to invade.
Many bacteria are enclosed in
an overcoat-like membrane. When this membrane is disrupted or broken, the contents
that escape can be toxic to the body. They stimulate the brain to raise the