Synonym:—Simple continued fever.
Definition:—A fever of short duration devoid of the characteristics of any invariable definite lesion. Many of the facts previously stated concerning fevers are applicable to this.
Etiology:—This form of fever depends upon simple causes, not plainly apparent, often, such as digestive disturbances, excitement or exhaustion of the nervous system, exposure to cold or to the extreme heat of the sun. It is often followed by definite forms of severe continued fever. If febricula is not immediately controlled, as it may nearly always readily be done, it may be the precursor of well developed local inflammation in some organ or part. The sudden occurrence of a sharp attack of fever, in a previously healthy patient, especially in a child, may be safely diagnosed and treated as febricula, if meningeal invasion be excluded.
Symptomatology:—There is a sudden rise of temperature usually preceded by a chill. There is headache, hot, dry skin and suppressed secretions. The tendency of the fever is to continue from twenty-four hours to four or five days, when the temperature gradually abates without complications.
Treatment:—The pyrexia should never be neglected, because simple. The simple indications for treatment should be met by the specifically indicated remedy. Depressing antipyretics should be avoided in children. In isolated cases of previous robust health, in adults, a dose of one of the synthetics might be given and sometimes repeated once or twice, not more than three times. In children and elderly people, aconite is the remedy par excellence. A mixture is prepared of five drops of the tincture in four ounces of water. This is given in dram doses and repeated every fifteen or twenty minutes at the onset, for two or three hours, and then at longer intervals. The patient should be kept quiet in bed, and simple sponging may be resorted to. Food in any considerable quantity should be avoided.
The phosphate of iron in very small doses in hot solution—about one grain in two ounces of water—may be given in dram doses, every ten, fifteen or twenty minutes, with beneficial results, especially where the temperature is above 103° F.
The development of distinct forms of continued fever, or of any of the exanthemata, or of local inflammation should be constantly and keenly watched for, and promptly met by the indicated remedies.