Is Fever Beneficial?

  • A. Sahib El-Radhi


  • 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.


Benefits and harms of fever Effects of fever on microorganisms Risk of febrile seizures Hygiene theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Sahib El-Radhi
    • 1
  1. 1.Chelsfield Park HospitalOrpingtonUK

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