A couple with flu symptoms and fever.


The normal body temperature is between 36.5°C and 37.5°C. A fever is one way your body fights off an inflammation or infection, causing your body temperature to go up to kill bacteria that will die at higher temperatures. While a fever may be uncomfortable, it usually isn't a cause for concern and goes away within a few days. Taking a acetaminophen products such as Panadol, can help relieve discomfort and reduce fever.

Woman taking her temperature on digital thermometer.

Managing fever

The body’s normal temperature is around 37°C, however it can vary according to the time of day. If your temperature is over 38°C when measured orally, then you are considered to have a fever.24,25

A fever can often be a good sign. Generally, fevers happen when your immune system is fighting off infections such as colds, coughs and ear infections. At the first sign of attack, the body’s defenses launch infection-fighting chemicals into the blood. These chemicals also affect the body’s thermostat, which is located in the brain and called the hypothalamus.26,27

To take your temperature and help with managing fever, there are different types of thermometer you can use:24

Digital. These thermometers are quick and accurate and can be used for taking temperatures orally, rectally and under the armpit.

Woman lying down trying to determine her body temperature by putting her hand in her forehead.
Person taking their temperature with a digital ear thermometer.

Ear. These digital thermometers are inserted into the ear and can only be used to take ear temperatures. They can be more expensive than other types of thermometer.

Strip. These are placed against your forehead, and show the temperature of the skin, but not the body. They are not very accurate.

Glass. There are two types of glass thermometers; those that contain a coloured alcohol to measure the temperature, or the more old-fashioned type which contains mercury. The use of mercury glass thermometers is not recommended, as mercury can be highly poisonous.

Woman checking and holding a traditional thermometer.
Woman checking her temperature on a digital thermometer while she holds her head.

If you have a fever but are fine in every other way, then you may not need to do anything aside from making sure you are properly hydrated.24,28

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