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Misunderstanding a hot head

We all function at least a little bit like our own doctors and nurses. We do the same for our children, of course, especially when they are very young.

Everyone is aware that elevated body temperatures can be strong signals that a person is ill. When the thermometer climbs over 99 degrees, many of us assume we have an infection. We will often dial the doctor's office to schedule an appointment to get treatment of the infection. However, a recent Popular Science article points out that sometimes what is assumed to be a fever-causing infection is actually an entirely different and distinct medical condition.

While makes sense that a layperson might not understand the cause of an elevated temperature, misdiagnosis by a physician can lead to improper treatments that can make matters much worse.

So if fever isn't the cause of your shivers, chills and rising temperature, what could it be? Fevers can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, including in rare circumstances brain injury, endocrine disorders, reactions to medications or street drugs, and even your body's response to cancer.

Popular Science urges you not to "freak out yet," however.

First of all, be reassured that most elevated temps are caused by infections (viruses, bacterial infections, urinary tract problems, appendicitis, parasites, etc.).

That said, scientists and doctors still aren't fully certain of how bodies establish and maintain fevers. When you have an infection, production of pyrogens are triggered that in turn produce "chemical messengers called prostaglandins," the article states. The bottom line, it seems, is that this process causes the hypothalamus to readjust upwards the body's temperature.

For many of us, the explanation might as well be written in an alien language. We rely instead on our doctor's understanding of elevated temperatures and their causes.

If you have suffered damage as the result of a misdiagnosis by a VA doctor or hospital, you can speak with a San Antonio attorney experienced in nationwide medical malpractice litigation.

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