A fever is a normal physical response of your body when there’s an infection. It’s defined as when a person’s body temperature rises above 37.5°C (>99.5°F). That rise in temperature often happens during common illnesses like the flu as your body fights off germs.
Most fevers can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol or dispensed medicines such as ibuprofen which is available at licensed outlets such as clinics and pharmacies.
Fever symptoms: What to look out for?
Although a raised body temperature is the definition of a fever, it’s often accompanied by other symptoms.
If a fever is very high, it may be accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
If you experience any severe fever symptoms, it’s important check your temperature right away and go see a doctor. A high temperature can be caused by many different types of infections and it’s important to address the underlying cause promptly in order to heal.
How do I take my temperature?
Touching the forehead is a classic method to determine if someone’s temperature is raised, but it’s not very reliable. The only safe way to check if you or someone else has a fever is by measuring with a thermometer. Always read the label of the thermometer you are using.
Important! If your temperature is higher than 103°F or 39.4°C, go see a doctor. High-grade fevers can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
An elevated body temperature is usually a sign of an infection of some kind but it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint why you have a fever. The underlying causes can determine the severity and duration of your fever.
The more common conditions that can trigger a high temperature include:
1. Infections: From flu to the common cold to pneumonia to strep throat—a fever is a common sign of a viral or bacterial infection. You should check for other signs such as a runny nose, cough, body aches, and fatigues.
2. Inflammatory diseases: Some conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease can cause your body temperature to rise.
3. Immunizations (e.g. tetanus) or certain medications like antibiotics can cause a fever.
4. Tropical disease: Malaria, e.g., can cause fever.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your higher-than-normal temperature or if it doesn’t go away even after taking medication like paracetamol, visit a doctor.