Fever usefulness of fever

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Usefulness of Fever

There are arguments for and against the usefulness of fever, and the issue is controversial.[1][2] There are studies using warm-blooded vertebrates[3] and humans[4] in vivo, with some suggesting that they recover more rapidly from infections or critical illness due to fever.

Theoretically, fever has been conserved during evolution because of its advantage for host defense.[1] There are certainly some important immunological reactions that are sped up by temperature, and some pathogens with strict temperature preferences could be hindered.[5] The overall conclusion seems to be that both aggressive treatment of fever[4] and too little fever control[1] can be detrimental. This depends on the clinical situation, so careful assessment is needed.

Fevers may be useful to some extent since they allow the body to reach high temperatures. This causes an unbearable environment for some pathogens. White blood cells also rapidly proliferate due to the suitable environment and can also help fight off the harmful pathogens and microbes that invaded the body.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Schaffner A. Fever—useful or noxious symptom that should be treated? Ther Umsch 2006; 63: 185-8. PMID 16613288
  2. Soszynski D. The pathogenesis and the adaptive value of fever. Postepy Hig Med Dosw 2003; 57: 531-54. PMID 14737969
  3. Su, F.; Nguyen, N.D.; Wang, Z.; Cai, Y.; Rogiers, P.; Vincent, J.L. Fever control in septic shock: beneficial or harmful? Shock 2005; 23: 516-20. PMID 15897803
  4. 4.0 4.1 Schulman, C.I.; Namias, N.; Doherty, J., et al. The effect of antipyretic therapy upon outcomes in critically ill patients: a randomized, prospective study. Surg Infect (Larchmt) 2005; 6:369-75. PMID 16433601
  5. Fischler, M.P.; Reinhart, W.H. Fever: friend or enemy? Schweiz Med Wochenschr 1997; 127: 864-70. PMID 9289813

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