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In normal course our body temperature is ranges from 98.4 to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature goes above this level it is called fever. Most common cause of fever is infection. Bacteria and virus cannot thrive above a certain temperature. To defend the invading virus and bacteria the immunity system increases the body temperature.
Once infection is sensed, the immune system releases a chemical called pyrogen. These pyrogens released into bloodstream reaches the hypothalamus, present at the basal part of the brain. The function of Hypothalamus is to control the body temperature. Sensing the pyrogens, hypothalamus increases the body temperature by releasing a chemical called prostaglandin.
Normally little fever is good as it helps to arrest the growth of infection. However if the internal body temperature exceeds 105°F, this may cause damage to our body protein and the brain may experience seizures and delirium. The prolonged high fever may also cause death.
Antipyretics (anti - against and pyretic -Feverish) are chemical substances that reduce fever. They suppress the release of prostaglandin and reduce fever. The most common and well known anti pyretic is paracetamol. Other antipyretics and anti inflammatory agents include Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac.
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