Here’s what you need to know about body temperature
Fever is one of the most common ailments that can affect anyone irrespective of their age. It occurs when there is an increase in the normal body temperature. This increase in the temperature normally occurs when the body’s immune system is in the process of fighting an infection caused by a virus, or it can be a symptom of a more serious health condition. The average normal body temperature is around 98.6°F or 37°C, and when it rises above this temperature, the person is diagnosed with fever.
Body temperature readings
One can use a thermometer to measure the body temperature accurately during a fever. In fact, the body temperature can be measured from various locations in the body such as the mouth, armpits, ears, forehead, and rectum. Each of these locations could, however, show a slight difference in the readings. The readings also differ depending on certain factors such as the time of day they are taken, age of the person, activity level, and stage of the menstrual cycle in women. Below are some important facts on body temperature.
- The body temperature does not remain the same throughout the day.
- The normal body temperature ranges between 97.7°F to 99.5°F.
- Fever (high temperature) or hypothermia (low temperature) are the major causes of abnormality in the body temperature.
Fever often subsides within a week; however, there are instances when it takes longer than usual. In such cases, doctors often ask the patient to maintain a body temperature chart that will help them derive important conclusions about their condition, and this proves instrumental in seeking effective treatments.
Symptoms of a fever
Every ailment, including a fever, is preceded by certain symptoms. The common symptoms that surface when an individual suffers from a bout of fever are as follows.
- Muscle ache
- Loss of appetite
- Chills and shivering
- Stiff neck or neck pain
- Eye pain or sore eyes
- Fussiness (in babies and children)
- Feeling of dizziness and lightheadedness
Different normal body temperatures
People of different age groups have different normal body temperatures. For example, a baby’s normal body temperature can be higher than an adult’s normal body temperature. Therefore, it is important to know the correct range for an accurate diagnosis.
In babies: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a healthy baby’s normal body temperature ranges between 97°F and 100.3°F. If the temperature is taken using a rectal thermometer, and the reading is 100.4°F or higher, the baby has fever.
In children: A child’s average normal body temperature is around 98.6°F. The average normal temperature of a child is different in the morning and afternoon, 97.4°F and 99.6°F respectively.
In adults: In adults, the normal temperature in the mouth is around 98.2°F, around 97.7°F under the arm, and in the rectum or ear, the ideal temperature is around 99.5°F.
Prevention from fever
Fever is often caused by an infection; hence, one of the best preventive measures include keeping oneself safe from unwanted germs. Keeping the surroundings clean and practicing good hygiene habits are some ways of preventing contact with disease-causing pathogens.