You feel that your forehead is hotter than usual; you may also shiver and be tired. Then, you may start to feel irritated at the thought of having a fever. Actually, fevers are a good thing! Learn more about one of your body’s natural defence.
A fever is a rise in body temperature (38°C or 100.4°F or higher) which is higher than usual (37°C or 98.6°F), albeit everyone may have a different "normal" temperature. Body temperature also changes because of exercise and menstrual cycles, for example. Teething in infants may cause a slight increase in temperature, but it is often not considered a fever.
A fever is usually mild and harmless. It should not last long and your temperature typically goes back to normal within 3-4 days. However, it could also be a sign of a serious health condition. Not all fevers need to be treated.
A fever occurs when the body is fighting an infection or illness. The hypothalamus in the brain controls our body temperature. When there are germs detected, it raises the temperature, making it difficult for them to survive.
To tell if you have a fever, you need to take your temperature using a thermometer, ideally taken from the ear.
It is possible to catch a fever through coughing or sneezing, or breathing in air droplets of secretions from a person who has fever caused by viral or bacterial infections.
A number of conditions can lead to a fever, for example:
Fever is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19, which also include tiredness and dry cough. Other symptoms to watch out for include shortness of breath, aches, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea and a runny nose.
If you have a fever, get in touch with your GP.
You should consider getting tested if you have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
You should see your GP if you:
You should also take your child to visit your doctor immediately if they:
It is important to look for the underlying cause of the fever.
A mild fever usually does not require treatment. Treatment also depends on the cause. For example:
Dr. Lily Wong 黃淑婷醫生 is a family practitioner at The London Medical Clinic. She is both a registered general practitioner and a pharmacist in the UK and HK. Having lived and worked as a general practitioner for many years in busy practices in London, she relocated to Hong Kong with her family a few years ago. Dr. Wong has also been appointed Honorary Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Hong Kong University, for her teaching of medical students.
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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