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Sharp Health News

Fever highs and lows (infographic)

Feb. 19, 2016

You have a fever, but at what point should you consider calling the doctor? Dr. Bethani Bernaba, a board-certified family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, explains how to take your temperature correctly and what exactly that reading means.

Fever highs and lows (infographic). How high is too high? It’s the question we commonly have when feeling the first signs of fever. Our expert explains how to accurately measure, respond to and treat a fever – and how you know when it’s time to call your doctor. There are four ways to take your temperature: Oral is the most accurate method for children and adults who are able to fully close the mouth. Temporal is a less invasive method and still very accurate. Rectal method is best for infants and young children who can’t hold an oral thermometer. Tympanic is an easy and convenient, yet less accurate, method. How to read your temperature. 97 to 99 degrees is an acceptable body temperature. 98.6 degrees is the normal body temperature. A temperature of 99 to 110.3 degrees is a sign of a low-grade fever. A temperature of 100.4 degrees indicates that you have a fever. A temperature of 102 degrees or higher is considered a high-grade fever. To treat a fever, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Babies younger than two months old with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher should receive urgent medical attention. Call your doctor if you or your child has persistent high fever for several days, or if the fever is accompanied by any of the following symptoms: Headache, Dizziness, Nausea, Vomiting, Chest pain, Shortness of breath, Body aches, Lethargy. If you aren’t experiencing any other symptoms, refrain from reaching for over-the-counter remedies such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, says Dr. Bethani Ann Bernaba, a family medicine physician with Sharp Rees-Stealy.  It’s important to note that fever is not an illness itself, but rather a symptom of illness. It’s the body’s natural way of fighting infection – whether viral or bacterial.

View a printable version of this infographic.

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