What body temperature is considered a fever?
A fever is defined as a body temperature that is higher than normal. The normal body temperature, however, varies slightly among different individuals. The average normal body temperature is 98.6°F (or 37°C).
- For adults, a fever is when the body temperature is higher than 100.4°F.
- For children, a fever is when their body temperature is more than 100.4°F (measured rectally), 99.5°F (measured orally) or 99°F (measured under the arm).
Having a fever means the body’s immune system is fighting against infections. This is a good sign in most cases. If the fever is between 100.4 and 102°F, it is considered a low-grade fever. A low-grade fever may not require treatment in most cases. If the body temperature goes beyond 102°F, treatment is essential.
When should one visit a doctor for the treatment of a fever?
A fever between 100.4 and 102°F is considered a low-grade fever. A low-grade fever may not require treatment in most cases. Treatment for a low-grade fever is needed if the fever occurs in very young infants (less than three months of age) or if it’s accompanied by serious symptoms such as confusion or inability to eat or drink without vomiting or stomach upset.
One must visit a doctor for fever management if
- A fever is accompanied by neck stiffness, confusion or irritability.
- A fever remains above 103°F (39.5°C) for more than two hours after home treatment.
- A fever lasts longer than two days.
- A fever is accompanied by a rash.
- There is photophobia (intolerance to light).
- There are signs of dehydration such as less amount of urine, sunken eyes and absence of tears.
- The person gets seizures or any abnormal movements or becomes unresponsive.
If a fever rises above 105°F (or 40.5°C) and does not come down with treatment, urgent medical help must be sought because it is a life-threatening emergency.
What causes a fever?
The body has an internal thermostat that regulates body temperature, usually around 98.6°F, despite the changing temperature in the surroundings. Any infection or stress can “reset” the thermostat causing a fever. A fever does not mean a disease. It is rather a sign that the immune system is actively trying to fight an illness or infection. When someone has a fever, the body temperature increases, making it harder for bacteria or viruses to survive.
Some of the common causes of a fever are as follows
- Common cold
- Ear or throat infections
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Mononucleosis, which is a contagious illness that is most commonly caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and certain other infections. It is also called “the kissing disease” because it spreads easily through body fluids such as saliva.
- Medicines such as certain antibiotics, blood pressure medicines and anti-seizure medications
- Heat stroke
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus
- Certain childhood immunizations
- Menstrual periods
- Heavy clothing
- Rigorous exercise
- Dehydration, especially in newborns
What is the best way to measure a fever?
The best way to measure a fever or body temperature is by using a thermometer. It can be inserted into the mouth (orally), into the rectum (rectally) or under the arm (axillary). A fever can also be recorded by using a special instrument, commonly available in stores, that is inserted in the ear and records the eardrum temperature.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Body Temperature Is Considered a Fever Related Articles
acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
Acetaminophen is a drug that reduces fever and relieves pain. It is available alone, or in combination with hundreds of other drugs available both over-the-counter (without a prescription) or that that may require a prescription from your doctor, for example, acetaminophen and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco) or acetaminophen and oxycodone (Percocet).
Acetaminophen treats a variety of diseases or other medical problems that cause pain or fever. Examples of conditions acetaminophen treats include, headache, minor arthritis pain, back pain, tooth pain, menstrual cramps, PMS, osteoarthritis, common cold, tension headache, chronic pain, hip pain, shoulder and neck pain, sore throat, sinus infection, teething, TMJ, bites and stings, and sprains and strains.
Acetaminophen generally has no side effects when taken as prescribed. When side effects are experienced, the most common are headache, rash, and nausea.
In 2014, the FDA recommended that doctors and other health care professionals only prescribe acetaminophen in doses of 325 mg or less. This warning highlights the potential for allergic reactions, for example, face, mouth, and throat swelling, difficulty breathing, itching, or rash. This action also will help reduce the risk of severe liver injury and serious allergic reactions associated with this drug. Other possible serious side effects adverse effects include anemia, kidney damage, thrombocytopenia (a reduced number of platelets in the blood), and liver problems.
Other patient information. Do not take more than one product that contains acetaminophen at the same time. Do not take more than one acetaminophen-containing drug than directed. Do not drink alcohol while taking medicine that contains acetaminophen due to severe liver damage.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.
Fever in Adults and ChildrenAlthough a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
OTC Pain Relievers and Fever ReducersOver-the-counter pain medication and fever reducers include aspirin, acetaminophen and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, pregnancy and breastfeeding safety, and patient information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Children's Cold, Fever & FluColds and fevers are some of the most common ailments in children. Learn common cold symptoms, treatment options, over the counter (OTC) medicines for cold and fever, home remedies, how to relieve a sore throat, how to bring down a high temperature, whether chicken soup works, and more.
Fever and HeadacheIllnesses, diseases, conditions, and infections like cancer, RA, bacterial and fungal infections, encephalitis, meningitis, flu, and colds can cause a headache and fever. Associated symptoms and signs include rash, nausea and vomiting, cough, sweating, neck stiffness, seizure, decreased appetite, and joint pain and swelling. Treatment depends upon the cause but may include antibiotics, antifungal or antiviral drugs, pain-control drugs, decongestants, and cough suppressants.
How Do I Bring My Baby's Fever Down?A baby with a fever always makes parents anxious, but fever is actually a defense mechanism of the body. It prepares the body to fight infection. Most fevers do not need antibiotic therapy and may resolve on their own in five to seven days. There are a few things a parent may try to manage the child’s fever and make them feel more comfortable.
What Are the 5 Types of Fever?Fever is a sign that your body is fighting an infection or illness. Learn the signs of fever, what causes fever, how doctors diagnose fever, and what you can do to treat fever.