Normal temperature varies with the individual & also changes depending on the time through the day. To find out one’s normal temperature, therefore we recommend performing regular measurements under the following conditions: – Measure with the same thermometer – Measure at the same area – Measure at the same time of day
Normal body temperature is in the range of 36.5–37.5 °C on the average, although it varies somewhat among individuals (gender, age). Additionally, temperature can vary according to physical activities, throughout the day, & due to external factors, e.g. with the change of seasons. Normal body temperature may change during any given day. It is usually highest in the evening. Body temperature is typically elevated after physical activity. Body temperature is a basic condition for the proper operation of the cells. It is configured by many internal organs with the control of the nervous system on the delicate balance of heat production & heat loss. This mechanism (called thermoregulation) ensures the stable operation of vital functions by keeping the body at optimum operating internal temperature.
Fever is a medical sign characterized by an increased body temperature above the normal range. Fever is not considered medically significant until body temperature is above 38°C.
Fever is caused by the release of certain chemicals by the immune system, usually as a result of an infection or inflammation. Not every fever needs medical attention, but in young children, if the temperature continues to rise or if there are other worrying symptoms, a doctor should be consulted.
It can be caused by a number of reasons: in most cases by infectious diseases (such as flu & pneumonia), less frequently by hormone imbalance, metabolic disorders, certain inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis) or even extreme sunburn or certain medications & immunizations (vaccines). Sometimes the cause of a fever can’t be identified. If you have a temperature of 38.3 C or higher for more than three weeks & your doctor isn’t able to find the cause after extensive evaluation, the diagnosis may be fever of unknown origin.
Fever is not by itself an illness but a defense mechanism. However, if it rises above 39.4 °C, some actions have to be taken to reduce it. It meant that the body is no longer able to control its inner temperature. This can either be done by using antipyretics (medications against fever), or by taking a cooling bath. The way of treatment should be defined by a doctor, based on the underlying cause, the age & condition of the patient. Infectious diseases require anti-pathogenic drugs. By all means, extra attention should be paid to increased water-intake, to compensate for dehydration. Young children with even low fever require special attention & immediate treatment aiming to reduce the body temperature (cooling bath or cold pack first, before turning to medications). If an infant younger than 4 months old has rectal temperature above 38 °C , immediately call your doctor or go to an emergency room, because it could be a sign of a potentially life-threatening infection. The same action must be taken if any child has a fever above 40 °C.
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