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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

For adults: What's your temperature right now?
In the past four hours, have you taken any medication to lower your fever?
Answer:

Normal body temperature is considered 98.6 F, but your temperature can be about a degree above or below and still be considered normal. For instance, a woman's normal body temperature may rise about half a degree around the time of ovulation. Your temperature can change during the day, too. Because your temperature is lower than 97 F, you should call your doctor. Abnormally low temperature can be caused by exposure to cold, medications, metabolic disorders, and even some infections. A temperature lower than 95 F can be life-threatening.

Normal body temperature is considered 98.6 F, but your temperature can be about a degree above or below and still be considered normal. For instance, a woman's normal body temperature may rise about half a degree around the time of ovulation. Your temperature can change during the day, too. Because your temperature is lower than 97 F, you should call your doctor. Abnormally low temperature can be caused by exposure to cold, medications, metabolic disorders, and even some infections. A temperature lower than 95 F can be life-threatening.

Normal body temperature is considered 98.6 F, but your temperature can be about a degree above or below and still be considered normal. For instance, a woman's normal body temperature may rise about half a degree around the time of ovulation. Your temperature can change during the day, too.

Many doctors say you truly have a fever if it is 100.4 F or above, measured by a mouth thermometer. Even though you don't have a fever now, you may have lowered your temperature by taking medication. You should check your temperature again before taking the next dose.

If you have a low-grade fever, you may not need to take fever-reducing medicine. But if it makes you uncomfortable, medication may help. Also try drinking cool liquids, resting, wearing lightweight clothes, and taking a lukewarm bath or shower.

Call your doctor if a fever lasts more than three days or goes above 103 F. If you have problems with your immune system and/or a serious illness like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or AIDS, call your doctor any time you have a fever.

Normal body temperature is considered 98.6 F, but your temperature can be about a degree above or below and still be considered normal. For instance, a woman's normal body temperature may rise about half a degree around the time of ovulation. Your temperature can change during the day, too.

Many doctors say a person truly has a fever when temperature hits 100.4 F, measured by a mouth thermometer. You don't have a fever right now, but check your temperature again in a few hours.

If you do have a low-grade fever, you may not need to take fever-reducing medicine. But if a fever makes you uncomfortable, medication may help. Also try drinking cool liquids, resting, wearing lightweight clothes, and taking a lukewarm bath or shower.

If your temperature ever goes above 103 F, call your doctor. If you have problems with your immune system and/or a serious illness like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or AIDS, call your doctor any time you have a fever.

Many doctors say a person truly has a fever when temperature hits 100.4 F, measured by a mouth thermometer. If you took your temperature that way, you do have a fever. Taking fever-reducing medicine may have brought your temperature down, so be sure to take your temperature again before taking another dose.

If your fever makes you uncomfortable, try drinking cool liquids, resting, wearing lightweight clothes, and taking a lukewarm bath or shower. Be sure to read and follow the label directions on any fever-reducing medicine you may take.

Call your doctor if your fever gets to 103 F, if it's lasted more than three days, or if you have problems with your immune system or have a serious illness. If you have a fever and other serious symptoms -- like a severe headache or stiff neck -- call your doctor right away.

Many doctors say a person truly has a fever when temperature hits 100.4 F, measured by a mouth thermometer. If you took your temperature that way, you do have a fever. Be sure to check your temperature again in a few hours.

If you have a low-grade fever, you may not need to take fever-reducing medicine. But if your fever makes you uncomfortable, medication may help you feel better. Also try drinking cool liquids, resting, wearing lightweight clothes, and taking a lukewarm bath or shower. Be sure to read and follow the label directions on any fever-reducing medicine you take.

Call your doctor if your fever goes to 103 F, if it's lasted more than three days, or if you have problems with your immune system and/or a serious illness. Or, if you have a fever and other serious symptoms -- like a severe headache or stiff neck -- call your doctor.

Call your doctor. A fever of 103 F or above is considered high and sometimes can lead to seizures, hallucinations, and dehydration.

Call your doctor. A fever of 103 F or above is considered high and sometimes can lead to seizures, hallucinations, and dehydration.

SOURCES:

American College of Emergency Physicians: "Fever."

Cleveland Clinic: "Fever."

FamilyDoctor.org: "Fever."

KidsHealth: "Fever and Taking Your Child's Temperature."

Medscape Reference: "Hypothermia."

The Merck Manual: "Fever."

UpToDate: "Patient information: Fever in children (Beyond the Basics)."

MED REVIEW:

[1] American College of Emergency Physicians: "Fever."
http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=242

[2] FamilyDoctor.org: "Fever."
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/health-tools/search-by-symptom/fever.html

[3] The Merck Manual: "Fever."
http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious_diseases/biology_of_infectious_disease/fever.html

[4] UpToDate: "Patient information: Fever in children (Beyond the Basics)."
http://www.uptodate.com/contents/fever-in-children-beyond-the-basics?source=search_result&search=fever&selectedTitle=1%7E149

[5] Cleveland Clinic: "Fever."
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/symptoms/fever/hic_fever.aspx

[6] KidsHealth: "Fever and Taking Your Child's Temperature."
http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/body/fever.html#a_When_to_Call_the_Doctor

[7] Saskatchewan Ministry of Health: "Caring for Your Child's Fever."
http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/childs-fever

[8] Medscape Reference: "Hypothermia."
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/770542-overview

Reviewed by Michael Smith, MD, July 25, 2013

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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