Is Fever Beneficial?
Fever has a long evolutionary history, which by itself supports the hypothesis that fever is an adaptive host response to infection.
There is considerable evidence that fever promotes host defence against infection.
Complications and mortality associated with high fever >40 °C are closely related to the severity of the underlying disease, not to the level of fever.
Fever is effectively controlled by the hypothalamic centre and therefore does not climb up relentlessly. Temperatures >42 °C are often caused by hyperthermia, not by fever.
If the febrile child is comfortable, there is little reason to support the practice of routine use of antipyretic medication.
Parental education is critical in the management of the febrile child.
Antipyretics do not prevent febrile seizures.
There is a conflict between research evidence supporting a positive role of fever and the demands of current practice that fever be abolished.
KeywordsBenefits and harms of fever Effects of fever on microorganisms Risk of febrile seizures Hygiene theory
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