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[hyper- + thermo- + -ia]
1. Artificial elevation of body temperature for therapeutic reasons.
2. An unusually high fever.
SYN: SEE: hyperpyrexia
Hyperthermia may be caused by heat stroke; central nervous system diseases; thyroid storm; or infections such as encephalitis, malaria, meningitis, or sepsis, esp. due to gram-negative organisms.
To treat hyperthermia, the patient is placed in a cool environment; tepid water baths may be used to promote reduction in surface temperature by convection and evaporation. Hypothermia blankets may be used if hyperthermia is the result of neurologic dysfunction or initial therapy is ineffective. Fluid intake is increased to at least 3 L per day (unless otherwise restricted by cardiac or renal disorders) to replace fluids lost through diaphoresis, rapid respirations, and increased metabolic activity. Frequent oral hygiene is provided because dehydration dries the oral mucosa. Shivering is prevented through administration of diazepam.
Rubbing alcohol should not be used to reduce fever.