It is considered that someone has a fever when the body’s temperature is higher than usual. Most physicians consider a temperature of 100 F (37.8 C) or 100.4 F (38 C) to be high. In addition, fever is considered a normal body’s response to an infection or disease and it goes away when the infection passes. That’s why fever is not a serious health problem.

What is a Fever?

A person has a fever the body’s temperature rises and becomes higher than normal. However, fever is not considered a health condition and appears as a symptom or a side effect of certain medications. When your temperature increases a few degrees above normal, it means that the immune system fights against an infection.

In addition, a normal body temperature is considered 98.6 F degrees (37 degrees Celsius) according to common knowledge states. However, the body temperature may fluctuate by a degree or more. However, a person has increased temperature in the evening and lower in the morning. An increased body temperature may occur during exercising and menstrual periods. Furthermore, children and infants have a little higher body temperature than older children and adults.

In any case, there are no strict guidelines for what temperature is a fever. The body’s temperature fluctuates among people depending on the time of day and method of measurement. Usually, 100.4 F (38 C) measured orally (by mouth) is considered fever by most physicians.

The ear and rectal thermometers usually measure at about 1 degree F (0.6 degrees C) higher than oral thermometers. On the other hand, skin thermometers (for example forehead thermometers) measure at about 1 degree F (0.6 degrees C) lower than oral thermometers. Ask your healthcare professional if you have any questions.


In most cases, if you have an increased fever, you may also notice any of the following symptoms. Examples include:

  • Sweating
  • Faster heart beats
  • Flushed complexion
  • Hot skin
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Feeling cold

Check below some symptoms that may occur along with fever in children and babies:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Reduced urination
  • Paleness or flushness
  • Fussiness
  • Earache
  • Lack of appetite
  • Cry

If you or your children experience any of the previous symptoms, you should contact a doctor.


Check below some of the most common fever causes:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Skin infections
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) infections
  • Viral infections (including influenza or COVID-19)
  • Bacterial infections
  • Reaction to some medicines
  • Vaccinations
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Cancer

Additionally, some allergic reactions typically do not provoke fever. Allergies usually cause sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and others. Nonetheless, even hay fever or allergic rhinitis often do not cause fever.


The most common place where people measure the temperature is the mouth but you can take the temperature in different parts of the body. Other sides include armpit (axillary), forehead (temporal artery), and ear (tympanic membrane). It is considered that the rectum is the most precise site and the armpit is the least accurate.

Additionally, if your fever is lower than 101 F (38.3 C), you may not need treatment with medicines, just take a warm bath (roughly 98 F or 36.7 C) and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

However, if your temperature is higher than 101 F (38.3 C), you may use nonprescription medicines such as Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Aspirin.

It is not recommended to administer Aspirin if you are under 17 years old because this medicine can cause Reye’s syndrome, which is sometimes a fatal condition.


A fever can be prevented by avoiding infections and conditions that provoke it. In some cases, fever may happen in children due to vaccinations. Giving your child Acetaminophen before or after the vaccine can help to prevent fever.

However, it is impossible to prevent all fevers because it is a symptom that your body is doing and is supposed to do. Consult with your healthcare provider for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions

When a fever should be treated by a doctor?

Usually, in adults a temperature lower than 103 F (39.4 C) is not dangerous and it is not considered a concern. However, if the temperature increases above, you should contact your physician. If any of the following cases occur in your children, immediately consult a doctor. Examples include:

  • Medicines including Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen do not reduce the fever
  • Fever is higher than 104 F (40 C)
  • It lasts more than five days
  • You notice breathing and urinating problems

When should I go to the emergency room (ER)?

In case you experience fever along with the following symptoms, it may be a symptom of a serious health condition. Check below some examples:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal tenderness or pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Stiff neck
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Altered speech
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Strange behavior
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Fever rash
  • Waking problems

What are the possible complications of not treating a fever?

Fevers higher than 105.8 F (41 C) can be dangerous because when your body temperature reaches this temperature, the organs will start to malfunction and can fail. However, moderate fevers may also be dangerous for those who suffer from lung or heart disorders. Moreover, worsens the symptoms and mental state in people with dementia.

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