What is a fever?
A fever is a rise in body temperature above the normal body temperature of about 37 C. It can vary by up to a degree either way depending on the person, what they’ve been doing and time of day.
Body temperature is different depending on how you take it. Armpit and forehead temperatures are half a degree lower than oral temperature and ear and rectal temperatures are about half a degree higher than oral temperature.
Symptoms of a fever
- Feeling hot and clammy
- Red face
Causes of a fever
Fevers are usually caused by infections. Infections can be caused by bacteria or by viruses. A mild fever is part of how our body fights infection.
Heat stroke is another cause of fever.
Treatment of a fever
- Drink water but avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol
- Take paracetamol preferably or ibuprofen
- Have a tepid (lukewarm) bath
When to see your Doctor if you have a fever
- If a baby is under 6 months old
- If a child has had a fever for more than 1 day despite using paracetamol
- If an adult has had a fever for more than 3 days despite taking paracetamol
- If temperature is above 40C
- If the person is unable to eat or drink
- If the person can’t stop shaking
- If you have other severe symptoms such as racing heart, muscle spasms, confusion, trouble breathing, severe headache
- If you have recently bene overseas
When to go to the hospital if you have a fever
- If you also have a stiff neck
- If you have a rash that does not change when you press on it
- If your child is in pain
- If your child can’t move properly or has muscle twitches