Reverse Engineering: Fever Fudge

May 2012 Prof. Scarlet Leslie

Have you been burning for some information about Fever Fudge? You're in luck! Time to delve into one of the more troublesome sweets in a Skiving Snackbox.

What is a fever? The body's normal core temperature is 37.8°C (100°F). Anything above that temperature is considered a fever. However, a temperature greater than 41.1°C (106°F) is called hyperpyrexia, which is an emergency and must be treated immediately. The core temperature stays around 37.8°C (100°F), but the average temperature you can measure may fluctuate between 36.4°C and 37.2°C (97.5°F and 98.9°F) throughout the day. This range is known as the temperature set point. It is controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain. Many thermometers are now used to measure temperature, including under the tongue, inside the ear, and in the armpit. Rectal thermometers are the most accurate, but, as you may guess, not too fun to use. An oral temperature reading of 37.6°C (99.7°F) or higher indicates a fever.

What causes a fever? Fever is usually due to an agent called a pyrogen, such as bacteria or virus. Pyrogens increase the body's set point. This is why you shiver when you have a fever. The body is trying to reach the new set point which is a higher temperature. Fever is also possible because of dehydration, heat stoke, or after an injury or surgery. Considering that Fever Fudge also causes massive, pus-filled boils, it is most likely that the Weasley twins used a mild strain of bacteria. Boils are commonly caused by bacteria.

How is fever treated? First of all, be sure to wear loose clothing if you plan to take Fever Fudge. The temperature of the room should be kept around 20°C (68°F). Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and remove any blankets, since they may cause you to sweat and make the fever and associated symptoms grow even worse.

Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen all have fever-reducing properties. You may recall from the Puking Pastilles discussion that salicylates must be avoided in children. Therefore, salicylate-containing aspirin is not a component in Fever Fudge. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are both very effective. Both of these also have maximum doses, so munching on Fever Fudge as a snack is not recommended. Try to get your hands on some real fudge!

And the boils? NEVER, ever, ever pop a boil. A warm compress is the best choice. Murtlap Essence acts similar to a warm compress. Its soothing properties also help the healing process.

A bacterial pyrogen in the sick end of Fever Fudge gives you a fever (and boils). Ibuprofen is usually reserved for pain, so acetaminophen should be in the healing end. Having both acetaminophen and ibuprofen is not any more effective. Of course, Fred and George still had to work on the taste, but in the end, Fever Fudge is clearly a hot seller!