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Why does chickenpox cause fever?

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Chickenpox (and other infectious diseases) do not actually cause fever. The fever is caused by the person's own immune system trying to fight the virus (or bacteria). These infectious organisms usually reproduce fastest near normal body temperature; by raising the body temperature the immune system slows their reproduction, making it easier to eliminate them.

If the fever is mild it is best to leave it alone and let it do its job. Use of damp cloths on the forehead or sucking ice cubes to make the patient more comfortable should be all that is needed.

Only if the fever is causing extreme discomfort or gets to about 104F (life threatening range) should other measures be taken to reduce the fever, and the advice of a medical professional should always be sought in such cases before taking action. Remember that children with chickenpox should never take aspirin, as it could cause Reye's syndrome.
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