Causes of fever
How does fever occur?
Fever occurs when the hypothalamus resets the normal temperature point to a higher level. Though the body is still working to balance the heat produced with that which it releases, since the set-point is now higher, the body temperature rises.1
The increase in body temperature occurs due to various reasons such as release of certain chemicals called cytokines in response to invading microorganisms, cancer cells or any other foreign matter. It is also in response to the body producing white blood cells and antibodies to protect it from the invading foreign matter.2
Common causes of fever
Infectious causes of fever3,4
Any form of infection can cause the body to respond with a fever. These include viral and bacterial infections. Some examples are:
Urinary tract infections
Otitis media (ear infections)
Non-infectious causes of fever1
Though it is more common for a person to develop fever because of an infection, there are non-infectious causes of fever. These include:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Some anti-epileptic medications
Antiretroviral medicines (for treatment of HIV)
Some antiarrhythmic medications (e.g. amiadarone)
Crystal-induced arthropathies Gout (accumulation of uric acid in the joints) Thromboembolism Deep vein thrombosis Abdominal conditions Acute pancreatitis Central nervous system conditions Stroke (haemorrhagic and ischaemic)
Common causes of fever in children5–7
Some of the more common causes of fever in children are:
Upper respiratory tract infections Influenza Ear infections Roseola which is caused by a virus and associated with a rash Tonsillitis Common childhood illnesses e.g. chicken pox After vaccination
However, contrary to popular believe, teething does not cause fever. There may be a slight increase in temperature during teething due to the irritation of the gums, but it is not high enough to qualify as a fever.7 This is important to remember as, if the child who is teething has a fever, then there may be an underlying infection that should be treated.
How do they present?
Refresh your knowledge on the signs and symptoms of fever and learn about “red flag” symptoms that indicate a referral to the doctor.
What can you recommend to your patients for fever?
Find out more about both non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments for fever in both adults and children.
Patient care resources
An easy to use tool for pain assessment in your patients or customers.
Tough** on fever and pain,11 gentle on the child11,12‡
Panadol for children contains paracetamol which is recommended as first-line treatment for fever and mild-to-moderate pain in children.12-14 It starts to relieve fever within 15 minutes.11,15,16†