Category: Illness or disabilities
Introduction and description
Hyperthermia and Hyperpyrexia occur when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. In other words it is an elevated body temperature.
Fever vs hyperthermia
The difference between a fever and hyperthermia, is that:
- A fever is deliberately produced by the body to deal with pathogens, in an attempt to kill them off in the body, or if they are toxic substances to expel them via sweating
- Hyperthermia in contrast is the inability of the body to deal with either the external temperature or the chemical reactions a pharmaceutical has induced. In essence the chemicals in the pharmaceutical have completely disrupted the body's metabolic and thermoregulatory systems.
The opposite to hyperthermia is hypothermia, which occurs when the temperature drops below that required to maintain normal metabolism.
Spiritually, there is no difference between a fever and hyperthermia, high body temperatures have produced out of body experiences, near death and hallucinations, whatever their cause.
How high is high?
The terminology used is shown below in this table:
- Normal 36.5–37.5 °C (97.7–99.5 °F)
- Hypothermia <35.0 °C (95.0 °F)
- Fever >37.5–38.3 °C (99.5–100.9 °F)
- Hyperthermia >37.5–38.3 °C (99.5–100.9 °F)
- Hyperpyrexia >40.0–41.5 °C (104–106.7 °F)
Extreme temperature elevation can become a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment to prevent disability or death.
The most common types of hyperthermia are heat stroke and drug related hyperthermia - adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals:
- Heat stroke - is an acute temperature elevation caused by exposure to excessive heat, or combination of heat and humidity, that overwhelms the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body.
- Drug related hyperthermia - is a side effect of many pharmaceuticals, particularly those that affect the central nervous system. Malignant hyperthermia is a rare complication of some types of general anaesthesia.
Fever and hyperthermia are covered together for ease of explanation, and all the observations are also covered under this one heading. It is worth noting that it is not possible to separate pharmaceuticals that have disrupted the body's thermoregulatory mechanism from those that are being expelled as toxins via sweating, as any pharmaceutical that does the first will result in the body either trying to do the second, or expelling it via diarrhoea and vomiting.