Learning Issue: Fever (always infection?)-MH A fever as a symptom provides important information about the presence of illness, particularly infections, and about changes in the clinical status of a patient. However, infection is not the only cause for a fever, and I have listed those additional causes below. The average oral body temperature ranges from 36-37.4 °C; a vaginal or rectal temperature will be 0.5°C higher, while the axillary is typically lower. As a response to infection a fever is regulated to a new set point body temperature. This mechanism is carried out by the hypothalamus’s response to pyrogenic cytokines (IL-1; IL-6; interferon-y) elaborated by stimulated macrophages. A fever can offer valuable clinical details about a patient’s current condition; however the degree of fever does not correspond with an illness. In general, fevers are well tolerated, however markedly elevated body temperature may result in profound metabolic disturbances. A high temperature in the first
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