The fever in itself may not be the illness, but it is an indication that your body is trying to fight an illness. Another name for fever is hyperthermia or pyrexia. The body normally elevates the temperature to fight off an infection or an illness. Slight temperature in that regard is fine. But when the temperature is severe, there is some cause for concern. You can get a fever test done to know exactly why your body’s temperature is rising. It can be due to an infection. It may be due to dengue or malaria or even typhoid. A covid infection can result in a high fever. Even a stomach problem sometimes results in fever. Sometimes, when your body is in pain due to an injury or an inflammation, you get a fever. A timely fever test can reveal exactly what is causing you the fever and then you can take the required medicine or the precaution. Some of the prevalent tests for fever include malaria test, typhoid test, dengue test, Covid test and a viral marker test.
The body’s normal temperature is around 98.6 Fahrenheit. It varies to some decimal points. For example, if it is around 97.5 or it goes up to 99, there is nothing to feel alarmed about. Low temperature may mean that you may be weak or anemic. High temperature means you have fever, and your body is responding to some illness or infection. A part of your brain called the hypothalamus controls your body temperature. When your body encounters an infection or an illness, the hypothalamus may reset the body temperature a bit higher to confuse the pathogen. Your body temperature can also be influenced by your menstrual cycle or a bout of strenuous exercise that you have just had.
The onset of fever may be accompanied by
Chills or shivering
Loss of appetite
If you are having these symptoms, then it is advised that you get a fever test done.
What causes fever? Some general causes of fever include
Stomach flu or gastroenteritis
Infections in the air, lung, skin, throat, bladder or kidney
Inflammatory problems such as rheumatoid arthritis
Vaccination or immunization
Medication side effect
Lupus (your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs)
Substance abuse such as amphetamines and cocaine
Although, fever may be a manifestation of another illness, rising temperature comes with its own problems. If the fever goes to the brain, the person can go into seizures, and this can lead to another medical problem. Hence, if one has been experiencing high temperature for a prolonged time, it is always better to get a fever test done as early as possible.
A fever test is not a single test. There may be different reasons for a high temperature, your doctor can suggest a fever test accordingly. A fever test is mostly done to find antigens or antibodies for a specific infection when you submit your blood sample. A malaria test, for example, is a category of fever test. It is a tropical disease mostly spread by mosquitoes. Another form of fever test is typhoid test. It is an illness caused by bacteria. The typhoid bacteria can enter your body through contaminated food or water. It is a serious illness and hence an immediate fever test and subsequent treatment is required. Just like malaria, dengue is another variant of a similar tropical disease spread by mosquitoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to get a fever test as soon as possible?
As explained above, fever itself is not an illness. It is the way your body reacts to an external threat. A part of your brain called hypothalamus detects an incursion in the form of an infection, bacteria, or virus, and then raises the temperature of your body to disorient the intruder. A simple fever may go in 24 hours. But, if the fever prolongs or goes down with a paracetamol and then comes up again when the effect wears off, you must take your fever seriously. From seasonal flu to cancer and everything in between, fever can represent anything. It’s always better to consult a doctor and then get an appropriate fever test done.
What is the process of getting a fever test done?
You will need to submit a blood sample. Based on the diagnosis, your doctor can suggest whether the fever is being caused by an infection, an inflammation, or another problem. The doctor may suggest a malaria test, a dengue test, a typhoid test or a viral marker test. The fever may also be due to Covid-19. A phlebotomist will visit you to collect your blood sample. In the case of Covid-19, a swab will be taken from your nose. The sample will be submitted to the lab and the results will be available to you within a couple of days.
If a fever can be measured using a thermometer, why take a test?
A thermometer tells you how much temperature you have. For example, if your temperature is 102°F, then this is what your thermometer is going to tell you. A thermometer test does not tell you what is causing the fever. Only an appropriate fever test can tell you what’s wrong with you and why your body temperature is either rising or isn’t coming down after rising.
What if my fever goes down after paracetamol; do I still need a test?
Sometimes a fever is temporary. There are many infections or internal developments that cause the body to raise the temperature temporarily. In such situations, when you take paracetamol, the fever goes down. In the meantime, the body recovers, and the antigens can contain the pathogen and the body is no longer under threat. You may need to take a couple of paracetamols and after that you feel fine. In such cases, there is no need to take a fever test. A test is needed when the fever does not go down and even if it goes down after taking a paracetamol, it goes up again, successively. It means something serious is happening inside your body and you need to find what’s the problem. Then you definitely need a fever test.
What are the natural ways of bringing the fever down?
In extreme situations, ice is applied to bring the temperature down, but ice is used normally under medical supervision. At home, temperature can be brought down by continuously wetting the cloth in room temperature water and then putting the cloth on the forehead. A tepid bath can be given to a child to bring the temperature down. If the temperature keeps coming up, an appropriate fever test is required.