Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Fever, or Pyrexia, a diseased condition of the body characterised by undue elevation of temperature. The normal temperature of the body averages about 98.6° Fahrenheit, and although it undergoes slight variations according to the time of day, the ingestion of food, the amount of exercise taken, etc., these variations are confined within narrow limits, a very close equilibrium being maintained between the amount of heat produced by the oxidation of food taken into the body and the amount of heat lost by the lungs and skin and in the various excreta. In fever the temperature is raised above the normal; this appears to be in the main due to an increased production of heat by disintegration of the tissues, rather than to a diminution in the loss of heat from the body. If the temperature is raised only two or three degrees, the fever is said to be slight; if the thermometer indicates an increase to 103° or 104°, the fever is said to be high; while if the temperature exceeds that amount the condition is said to be one of hyper-pyrexia. Certain symptoms are usually associated with elevation of the body temperature. The fever is generally ushered in by shivering attacks or riyors; the skin is hot and dry; the pulse and respiratory movements are quickened; headache is common; vomiting may occur; the tongue is dry and coated; and the urine scanty and high-coloured. The termination of a febrile attack may be either by crisis or lysis. In the former case the temperature suddenly falls to the normal, in the latter the diminution of temperature takes place more gradually. The term intermittent fever is applied to those cases where there are several rises of temperature separated by intervals in which the normal temperature is registered. In remittent fever the temperature remains throughout the attack above the normal, but the degree of elevation undergoes diminution or remission -from time to time. In continued fever the elevation of temperature is fairly continuously maintained throughout the attack. Hectic fever is a fever of remittent or intermittent type, which continues for a long period of time and is associated with loss of flesh, sweating, and flushing of the cheeks; the term is especially applied to the fever which develops in the course of tubercular disease of the lungs and joints. Fever should be regarded as the name for the group of symptoms already described rather than as a disease in itself. It is not possible to do more than to refer briefly to the forms of disease in which fever occurs. They may be divided into two groups; in the first place, there are the specific febrile diseases (malaria, smallpox, typhus, typhoid, scarlatina, measles, etc.), and secondly there are all those maladies in which inflammation affects some part or organ of the body (pneumonia, pleurisy, abscess, etc., etc.).