Meaning Behind the Word: Pyrexia

Pyrexia, often referred to as fever, is a medical condition characterized by an elevated body temperature above the normal range.


The word pyrexia originates from the Greek word "pyr" meaning fire and "exia" meaning condition. Thus, pyrexia literally translates to fire condition, reflecting the heat associated with fever.

Clinical Significance

Pyrexia serves as a vital indicator of an underlying infection or illness. It is the body's natural response to pathogens, signaling the immune system to combat the invading agents.

Common Causes

Some common causes of pyrexia include:

  • Infection: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can trigger fever as the body fights off pathogens.
  • Inflammation: Conditions such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease can lead to elevated body temperature.
  • Drug Reaction: Certain medications or drugs may induce fever as a side effect.


Typical symptoms associated with pyrexia include:

  • High Temperature: The body temperature rises above 38°C (100.4°F).
  • Chills: Often accompanied by shivering as the body tries to generate heat.
  • Sweating: As the fever breaks, the body may sweat profusely to cool down.


Pyrexia is a significant physiological response that plays a crucial role in the body's defense mechanism against infections and other underlying health issues. Understanding its causes and symptoms is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Suggested Articles