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Fever

Alternative Names -  Elevated temperature; Hyperthermia; Pyrexia

Definition -   Normal body temperature varies by person, age, activity, and time of day. The average normal body temperature is 98.6F (37C).

Considerations

Normal body temperature varies

  • In children younger than 6 months of age, the daily variation is small.
  • In children 6 months to 2 years old, the daily variation is about 1 degree.
  • Daily variations gradually increase to 2 degrees per day by age 6.

Your body temperature is usually highest in the evening. It can be raised by physical activity, strong emotion, eating, heavy clothing, medications, high room temperature, and high humidity. This is especially true in children.

A rectal temperature up to 100.4F (38C) may be entirely normal. A rectal temperature of 100.5F or above should always be considered a fever. Lower temperatures might also be a fever, depending on the person.

Fever is not an illness. Far from being an enemy, it is an important part of the body's defense against infection. Many infants and children develop high fevers with minor viral illnesses. While a fever signals to us that a battle might be going on in the body, the fever is fighting for the person, not against.