Pneumonia is a disease characterized by an inflammatory process in the lung tissues with an infectious etiology. Inflammation is a pathological process that arises as a response to the actions of pathogenic microflora and manifests itself in reactions aimed at suppressing and eliminating the stimulus, as well as the products of its vital activity. Fever in pneumonia is one such defensive response.
Reasons for the rise in temperature
The activity of infectious agents damages the lung tissue, and the body includes various protective reactions. Fever in pneumonia is even beneficial, and indicates an active immune system and resistance to infection.
The center of thermoregulation is located in the hypothalamus, it is a kind of biological thermostat of the human body. Having received a signal from the lungs, it turns on mechanisms that ultimately lead to an increase in the overall temperature.
Representatives of the pathogenic microflora secrete compounds called pyrogens . It is they who provoke the fever. Most exogenous pyrogens are components of infectious agents. Their molecules are usually quite large and cannot penetrate the brain’s protective filter – the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, they stimulate the hypothalamus indirectly through endogenous pyrogens . The body produces these substances itself, in response to the action of toxic compounds produced by infectious agents.
An increase in temperature is due to a restructuring of the regulation mechanism: heat production increases and heat transfer decreases. In a mature organism, a decrease in the amount of heat generated plays a paramount role: in this way, the energy necessary to fight infection is saved. On the contrary, in newborns and infants, heat production increases.
At high temperatures, the production of cells of humoral immunity of leukocytes is activated, which are sent to the focus of inflammation to destroy foreign harmful agents. Heating the body stimulates the production of interferons, which are necessary to suppress the vital functions of viruses. Hyperthermia directly in the area of inflammation creates an unsuitable environment for infectious agents in which they die.
Temperature with pneumonia
Normally, the temperature background of the human body is about 37 degrees (depending on the measurement site). With relatively easy pneumonia, if the immune system is functioning normally, the temperature rises to about 38 degrees. As a rule, such indicators are observed in the evening, but in the morning they are close to normal. Daily temperature fluctuations are about one degree. With proper treatment, the fever will subside after 3-4 days.
If the temperature rises to 38-39 degrees, this indicates focal pneumonia, which develops in a secondary form, due to any respiratory infectious disease. As a rule, in the first few days, when the infection develops, the thermometer readings are slightly increased. When the inflammatory process begins in the lungs, the person’s temperature rises significantly, pronounced symptoms of intoxication appear, and the cough increases.
The reason for the increase in temperature indicators to critical values (39-41 degrees) is most often in a serious lesion: the pathological process covers a large area of one or both lungs. In such cases, the fever builds up rapidly, lasts a long time (a week or more), a person has a strong chill. In such cases, the appointment of antipyretic drugs is vital, since prolonged preservation of an elevated temperature leads to cerebral edema and other dangerous consequences.
Temperature with pneumonia in adults
Pneumonia in adults often begins as a complication of a respiratory infection. Immunity is significantly weakened, and pathogenic microflora descends into the lower respiratory system. However, the immune defense continues to work, so in adults and relatively healthy people, the temperature, as a rule, does not rise above subfebrile values (37-38 degrees). It is believed that with such indicators, you should not take antipyretic drugs, do not interfere with the body on its own to cope with the infection.
Usually, patients have the following symptoms of pneumonia, together with a low-grade fever:
- joint and muscle pain, aches;
- general malaise;
- increased sweating;
- lethargy, drowsiness;
- lack of appetite;
If shortness of breath joins the clinical symptoms, this leads to tissue hypoxia, the development of respiratory failure. With such signs and an increase in indicators of more than 38 degrees, it is necessary to bring down the temperature with medications.
In older people, the temperature background with pneumonia may change slightly. This is due to age-related weakening of immunity, decreased functionality of the endocrine system, and concomitant diseases. In heavy smokers and chronic alcoholics, the immune defense does not function effectively enough, therefore, in these categories of patients, the temperature indicators are often excessively elevated, and the fever lasts for a long time.
Temperature in children
In a child, pneumonia can be a complication of ARVI or influenza, other infectious diseases. If in the course of treatment there comes a moment when no positive dynamics is observed for several days, this may indicate that the pathological process has spread to the lung tissue. Parents should pay attention to the following signs:
- the temperature rises sharply;
- the cough, which has almost stopped as a result of treatment, intensifies;
- lethargy, excessive drowsiness, lack of appetite are observed;
- rapid shallow breathing, shortness of breath with physical exertion;
- pallor of the skin.
If the child is already talking, he may complain that he has pain in the chest or abdomen. In infants, pneumonia is manifested by a cough, pronounced pallor of the skin, apathy, drowsiness, and moodiness.
Pneumonia without fever
Fever is one of the main symptoms of infectious diseases, including pneumonia. However, there are cases when the disease proceeds in a latent form, in the absence of pronounced manifestations. Most often, the symptoms of inflammation are absent in people with low immune status. They have no immune response to the activity of infectious agents (or it is very weak). This is very dangerous, since, without encountering resistance, the pathogenic microflora multiplies, releases toxins, and destroys lung tissue. Intoxication is growing, which leads to disruption of the functioning of all vital organs.
How to bring down the temperature with pneumonia
The mainstay of treatment for all forms of pneumonia is antibiotic therapy. The selection of the necessary medications is carried out by the doctor based on the test results obtained. He also determines the regimen, dosage and duration of the treatment course. In addition to the main treatment, symptomatic therapy is prescribed, aimed at stopping acute manifestations of the disease. The methods of such therapy include the appointment of antipyretic drugs, but doctors do not always recommend them. At a subfebrile temperature, it is not advised to take drugs that reduce fever. This can disrupt the well-coordinated work of the immune system to destroy pathogenic microorganisms. The temperature should go astray artificially only in those cases when it rises very quickly and lasts for three days or longer. The appointment of antipyretics should be dealt with exclusively by the attending physician.
If the patient is being treated at home, methods can be used to alleviate the fever. You can wipe your body with a wet towel. This will reduce the fever somewhat. It is recommended to eat foods with vitamin C to normalize thermoregulation and help the immune system. Also, the patient is shown a plentiful drink (herbal teas, cranberry juice, kombucha). This will increase sweating and help you cope with high fever faster.
The temperature with pneumonia is a sign of an increased work of the immune system. It is not worth taking antipyretics without a doctor’s prescription. It is better to immediately seek medical help and undergo the prescribed treatment. With the uncontrolled intake of funds to reduce fever, a malfunction of the immune system occurs. As a result, the disease may worsen, and the clinical picture will be blurred.