Fever is when a human’s body temperature goes above the normal range of 6–37° Centigrade (98–100° Fahrenheit). It’s a common medical sign. Other terms for a fever include pyrexia and controlled hyperthermia.
As your body temperature rises, the person may feel cold until it levels off and stops rising.
People’s normal body temperatures may vary and are affected by factors like eating, exercise, sleeping and what time of the day it is. Our body temperature is usually at its highest at about 6 in the evening and at its lowest at about 3 in the morning.
A high body temperature, or fever, is one of the ways our immune system attempts to combat an infection. Usually, the rise in body temperature helps the individual resolve an infection. However, there are times it may rise too high, in which case, the fever can be serious and lead to complications.
Doctors say that as long as the fever is mild, there’s no need to bring it down – if the fever is not that severe, it’s probably helping to neutralize the bacteria or virus that’s causing the infection. Medications to bring down a fever are called antipyretic may be recommended.
When a fever reaches or exceeds 38° Centigrade (100.4° Fahrenheit), it’s no longer mild and should be checked every couple of hours.
These temperatures refer to oral measurement, when the thermometer is placed in the mouth. For normal underarm temperatures, the temperature measures lower than it actually is and the numbers are lowered by about 0.2–0.3° Centigrade.