Why do we get a temperature when ill?

What does raising body temperature do to help fight illnesses?
22 November 2022


Taking a child's temperature with a digital ear thermometer



When we get ill, our body temperature goes up. And in fact, researchers have done scientific studies from thousands of temperature measurements made in Germany and other parts of the world a hundred years ago, and compared it to today we're apparently one degree warmer in the past than we are today. But why does our temperature go up when we get ill?


Jonathan - I think the answer to this is quite simple, right? It's just the body's immune response to being infected and many viruses, many bacteria that infect humans are very temperature sensitive. And so the body's immune system increases its temperature in order to make it less hospitable for these pathogens.
Chris - You're Basically cooking them into submission, is that what you're saying?

Jonathan - Yeah. Or at least kind of discouraging them from reproducing and making us even more sick.


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