When you have a fever, your body responds by cranking up your internal thermostat to make you sweat, chill, and shivers all at once. This is called “persistent febrile response” and it helps the body to fight off the infection. Your body continues to respond by making you sweat when your temperature drops just a bit, even though it’s nothing like a real fever. Let’s take a look at why you sweat when your fever breaks and why this might not be a good sign.
Why Do You Sweat When Your Fever Breaks?
You might be wondering why your body continues to respond with shivers and chills when you have a normal temperature. The reason is that your body is still responding to the infection that caused your fever in the first place. Fever is basically your body’s immune system going into overdrive. It’s the immune system attacking the infection in your body. The problem is that this immune response draws energy and other resources away from other bodily functions, like healing. That’s why we try to suppress fevers as quickly as possible. Here are things to know about why our bodies react this way when we have a fever and break.
You might get goosebumps when your fever breaks.
Fevers can cause you to break out in goosebumps, a prickly feeling on the surface of your skin that is caused by tiny muscles contracting spasmodically. This can happen when your body temperature rises to a level that your brain perceives as “dangerous” or “uncomfortable.” Your blood vessels constrict to keep bacteria and viruses out of your bloodstream and the extra blood in your body’s core. This keeps your core body temperature up, but it also keeps your skin from cooling down. The area of your skin in contact with the sheets or blankets is slightly cooler, so your body constricts the blood vessels in your skin even further in order to keep the rest of your body warm. Since your skin isn’t receiving as much blood flow, it can’t regulate its temperature as well. Your body is forced to react by contracting the muscles in your skin to pull the blood back into your body. This contracting of the muscles is what causes you to break out in goosebumps.
You may begin to shiver when your fever breaks.
If your temperature is high enough, you may also experience involuntary shivering. Like the contracting of your skin muscles that cause goosebumps, your shivering is also an involuntary reaction that indicates your body is trying to cool down. Your blood vessels expand, delivering extra blood to your skin and other organs so that they can regulate their temperature. The problem is that it takes a few minutes for your blood vessels to contract again. Your muscles are a source of heat, so when your blood vessels are expanded to send more blood to your skin, your muscles contract to draw it back into your body. This is why shivering often feels like tiny, uncontrollable muscle spasms. And because your muscles are a source of heat, they’re one of the fastest ways to cool your body down. All of this is why you may begin to shiver when your fever breaks.
Your sweat has an odor when you have a fever and break.
When you have a fever and break, you may notice an unpleasant odor coming from your sweat. This is a side effect of rising body temperatures and is called “breakout sweat.” Breakout sweat occurs when your body temperature rises above 99 degrees and your sweat glands are triggered to begin secreting. Breakout sweat may happen for several different reasons, but one of the most common is a fever. When you have a fever, your body is working to fight off an infection, which causes your body temperature to rise. This rise in body temperature can cause your sweat glands to secrete unpleasant-smelling sweat, which can happen on your body or your hands.
You may experience muscle aches when your fever breaks.
If your fever reaches a high enough level, you may also experience muscle aches. This is a result of your body being forced to channel a ton of energy and resources towards fighting off the infection that is causing your fever. When your fever breaks and your body is no longer fighting the infection, you may feel badly drained. This is because your body has been using its energy reserves to fight the infection and keep itself warm. When your temperature falls and your fever breaks, your body has very little left to draw on. This can lead to feelings of lethargy, fatigue, and muscle aches.
What Is A Persistent Febrile Response?
Persistent febrile response (PF) is the body’s continued response to a low-grade infection. This response involves the following symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Scrambled thinking or confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mild to moderate It responds to low-grade infections like the flu, bronchitis, gastroenteritis, and bladder infections.
Why Is A Persistent Febrile Response Bad?
When a child comes into the doctor’s office with a high fever, the first thing that is often recommended is to keep them home from school. The reasoning is that it could help in reducing the spread of germs and make it less likely that other kids will get sick. Called a “persistent febrile response” or “fever day”, this practice has been endorsed by many school districts and medical professionals for more than 50 years now. However, there are several studies that show that this type of intervention might be doing more harm than good. In fact, some healthcare professionals even recommend against it. Here are reasons why the persistent febrile response is bad:
Fever is a Natural Immune Response
Fever is the body’s natural response to infection. It’s not only a symptom but also a part of the immune system’s efforts to fight off an infection. The rise in temperature is caused by the increase in metabolic rate. There is an increase in blood flow to the affected area, as well as an increase in the number of white blood cells in the area. Therefore, the higher the fever, the more energy the body is putting towards fighting the infection. The question is whether the benefits outweigh the harms.
More Time for Germs to Spread
If the child has been exposed to a contagious illness, the febrile response is important in containing the spread of the germs. The rise in temperature will help to slow the reproduction rate of the bacteria and viruses that are responsible for the common cold, influenza, and other illnesses. If the child is sent home from school, they will be spending most of the day at home with the infection. This will allow the germs to spread more easily to the other kids at school. When the child’s temperature comes back down and they are allowed to go back to school, they will likely be shedding the same amount of germs. The only difference is that their classmates will now be much more likely to come in contact with the germs.
Prolonged Absence from School Could Be Bad
The number one reason why schools recommend sending a child home when they have a high fever is to prevent the spread of infections. But is keeping a child out for a few days really the best way to prevent infections? In some cases, keeping a child out for a couple of days might be enough to contain the spread of the disease. But in other circumstances, diseases can be highly contagious, making it almost impossible to prevent the spread. In the United States, there are several viral diseases that are considered highly contagious and almost impossible to prevent from spreading. These include chickenpox, the flu, measles, mumps, rotavirus, and shingles.
Prolonged Return to School Could Be Bad as Well
On the other hand, it’s also important for kids to get back to school as soon as possible. If a child is kept out for too long, they could fall behind in their studies. Many studies have shown that the longer a child stays out of school because of sickness, the more likely it is that they will fall behind. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, when kids are home they are less likely to be doing schoolwork. And second, when they finally do go back to school, they are behind the rest of the class and need to catch up. This can cause frustration and can sometimes lead to kids giving up on school altogether.
Repeated Absences Could be Harmful Over Time
On the other hand, if a child is sent home too often because of fevers, they could begin to resent school and start to resent the teachers and classmates. This resentment can cause anxiety and can also lead to poor performance in school. Studies have shown that kids who miss school often enough because of illness are more likely to drop out of school before graduation. They are also more likely to have behavioral issues and to engage in risk-taking behaviors like smoking, drinking, or drug use.
Fever is a normal part of the body’s defense against infection. When your temperature rises above 99 F, it’s a sign that your immune system has kicked into high gear. It’s trying to fight off an infection by raising your body temperature, which helps to kill germs faster. But when you recover from an illness, your fever goes away but the persisting febrile response remains for some time. It’s important to see a doctor if you are having a low-grade fever that doesn’t go away after a few days or if you have a high fever followed by a persistent febrile response.