Information on the causes of high body temperature and what temperature is in the normal range.
Select a Topic
- What is Temperature?
- What causes High Temperature?
- How is a High Temperature diagnosed?
- Help and Treatment for people
What is Temperature?
The body’s normal body temperature is approximately 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37. 0ºC).
What causes High Temperature?
Developing a high temperature is apart of the body’s natural way of supporting the immune system in fighting off illness and infection, however, it can become dangerous if the body’s temperature becomes too high, especially in children.
When children and infants develop a fever it is very important to monitor them closely and try and bring down their fevers to avoid complications such as dehydration and febrile seizures. In addition, it’s not enough to reduce a fever without trying to discover the underlying cause.
In some cases, a mild fever in infants and children are indicative of a serious illness that needs medical attention and prompt treatment. However, low grade fevers in older children and adults are usually not serious and provided the underlying cause is not serious, they can generally be managed successfully at home.
How is a High Temperature diagnosed?
While normal body temperature tends to fluctuate slightly throughout the day, when the body reaches a temperature of 100.4ºF or 38.0ºC, it is medically defined as a fever.
Help and Treatment for people with High Temperature
There are plenty of over-the counter medications used to reduce a high temperature, however, many come with unwanted side-effects and may cause more damage than good. Aspirin in particular should never be given to children as it can trigger the potentially fatal Reye’s syndrome.
Tips for regulating body temperature:
- Make sure you monitor your child’s fever closely. This can be done by checking your child’s temperature at least every 4 hours until it has completely subsided.
- Guard against dehydration by ensuring your child drinks plenty of fluids and make sure these do not contain caffeine.
- A lukewarm bath or sponge bath will help to cool down a high fever but never use cold water or ice.
- Encourage plenty of bed rest as moving around raises body temperature even more. This can be tricky with children that get frustrated when confined to bed, so you may have to think creatively. Try quiet activities such as coloring, game books, books on tape and playing cards.
- Dress your child in light cotton pajamas so that body heat can escape and do not bundle your child up at bedtime.