What You Need to Know About Body Temperature and Fever

What You Need to Know About Body Temperature and Fever

08:59 30th July 2018 | General Health Care

A fever temporarily increases your temperature and it is your body’s way of telling you something may be wrong. The body’s normal temperature is between 36.5°C and 37.2°C, and it is usually only cause for concern when the temperature increase reaches 38°C and above.

One’s normal body temperature varies throughout the day by about 0.6°C and is affected by factors such as eating, sleeping, and exercise. The potential increase in body temperature is also affected by one’s age, heart rate, body size and type, as well as the loss of body heat through metabolic processes.

Fever causes:

In response to an infection, illness, or other possible causes, the hypothalamus may reset the body to a higher temperature. Infections are the most common cause of fever, but various other conditions, illnesses, and medicines can raise the body temperature.

Fever symptoms:

Depending on what is causing your fever, you may also experience the following:

  • Sweating, chills, and shivering
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite

When to call a doctor:

As an adult, one should seek medical attention when your fever reaches 39.4°C or higher and if the fever symptoms get worse. If your fever is accompanied by a skin rash, eye sensitivity, confusion, neck pain, or persistent vomiting – do seek medical attention immediately.

Although a slight rise in temperature may not warrant a call to the doctor for adults, it might for children. If a baby or child’s temperature is 38°C or over and they appear lethargic or irritable – do consult your doctor immediately.

Home treatment:

It may be uncomfortable, but a fever should resolve itself in a few days. During this time, remember to:

  • Drink extra fluids: water and fruit juices
  • Get a lot of rest
  • Ease body aches with medication if needed, such as Paracetamol. Medications can lower a fever, but it is always better to find and treat the cause of a fever.

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