Temperature Response

When the body begins to fight pathogens, body temperature may increase several degrees. A rise in body temperature above the normal 37°C (98.6°F) is called a fever. Fever is a symptom of illness that shows the body is responding to an infection. Some pathogens trigger fever, as do chemicals released by macrophages. A moderate fever may slow bacterial and viral growth and promote white blood cell activity. However, very high fever is dangerous because extreme heat can destroy important cellular proteins. Temperatures greater than 39°C (103°F) can be dangerous, and those greater than 41°C (105°F) can lead to death.

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