Fevers: Five Types You Need to Know

Fevers not only increase our body temperature, but increase our awareness about what we might be suffering from. In fact, there are various types of fever and each can help doctors distinguish between particular kinds of diseases or infections their patients may be suffering from. So, what types of fever can a human have and what valuable information can they tell us?

5 Types of Fever to Look Out For

Before we delve into fever types, let’s define what fever is first. In 2001, the International Union of Physiological Sciences Commission for Thermal Physiology defined fever as “a state of elevated core temperature, which is often, but not necessarily, part of the defensive responses of multicellular organisms (host) to the invasion of live (micro-organisms) or inanimate matter recognized as pathogenic or alien by the host.”

The three major fever types described by the Journal of Infection and Public Health were either sustained fever, intermittent fever or remittent fever.

Sustained Fever

Sometimes called continuous fever, it’s defined as a fever that does not fluctuate more than about 1.5 °F during a 24-hour-period. Sustained fevers also don’t reach a normal temperature at any time during that period. What can it mean? It can point to illnesses such as pneumonia, typhoid, acute bacterial meningitis, or a urinary tract infection.

Intermittent Fever

This is defined as a fever that’s present only for several hours during the day.  What can it mean? It can point to illnesses such as malaria, pyogenic infections, tuberculosis (TB), schistosomiasis, or lymphomas.

Remittent Fever

Defined as fever with daily fluctuations exceeding 2 °C and where a normal temperature is never reached. What can it mean? Remittent fevers can point to infectious diseases such as infective endocarditis and others.

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