ThedaCare Health Matters
Fever is a topic I have written about in the past. It is such a common symptom yet there still seems to be misunderstanding about it so I wanted to talk about it again.
To review, a fever is not an illness; it is a physical finding that is an indication something is not right in the body. It is the body’s response to some problem, most commonly some type of infection.
Fever can be treated for comfort and monitored. A fever is not necessarily an emergency; however, a fever that is persistent and associated with trouble breathing, persistent vomiting or decreased responsiveness should be promptly evaluated. Also, a fever in an infant younger than 3 months old should be promptly evaluated. In addition, a fever in an elderly individual or someone with chronic medical problems is more likely to be a serious.
The body temperature is regulated by the central nervous system to a fairly narrow range. Normal temperature is considered to be 98.6 degrees. A fever is generally felt to be a temperature over 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit (100.3 in infants).
Chills and shaking is usually a sign the temperature is going up while sweating is usually a sign the temperature is decreasing. During an illness, the temperature can vary several degrees within hours so measuring more than once is advisable.