What is a Fever? Normal body temperature for most people is 36⁰C to 37⁰C but can fluctuate between individuals or throughout the day. A fever occurs when body temperature rises higher than normal for an extended period of time.
A temperature of over around 37.5⁰C is considered a low level fever by most doctors , and over 38.5⁰C is considered a high grade fever.
Diagnosing a Fever
Different methods of checking temperature can affect the result, with different methods of taking temperature having different thresholds for indicating a fever in children.
Rectal/Tympanic (ear): 38⁰C
Paradoxically, people suffering from a fever can either feel abnormally hot or cold. Shivering and shaking, clammy skin, sweating and feeling tired are also common symptoms of a fever. In addition, your forehead may feel extremely hot and your cheeks may flush.
Causes of Fever
The most common cause of a fever is infection , with excess body heat being a sign that your body is actively fighting an infection.
- Viral Infection:cold and flu, respiratory infections such as COVID-19
- Bacterial Infection: tonsillitis, urinary tract infections, pneumonia
Other potential causes of fever include:
- Chronic Illness: A few chronic illnesses, such a rheumatoid arthritis can cause fevers that last for extended periods.
- Heat Stroke: fever without sweating may be a sign of heatstroke.
- Drug use
Fever Self Care
- Paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to lower fever in children. Adults can also use aspirin.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of clear liquids, especially water
- Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee as those can lead to dehydration
- Avoid cold baths or showers as they can actually cause you to trap body heat
- Get plenty of rest
See a Doctor If:
- Your temperature is over 40⁰C
- Fever symptoms persist for more than three days despite self treatment
- Symptoms worsen over time
- You have a temperature but are not sweating
- You suffer a severe prolonged headache that does not respond to treatment
- You start experiencing other symptoms including a sore throat, drowsiness or confusion, hallucinations, rapid heart beat, neck stiffness, muscle spasms, shortness of breath and skin rashes