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Fever: Common Symptoms and When It’s Time to See the Doctor

Fever is known as an increase in the body temperature, frequently due to an infection or inflammation. Fever itself isn’t a disease, but a common symptom of an underlying illness, which serves as a mechanism of protection of the body against viruses and bacteria.

What is the normal body temperature?

The normal body temperature is indicated by an average value rather than a static one, because in a healthy person the body temperature rises and falls during the day, when at 6 am the body temperature is the lowest, and it rises slightly at 4 pm.

In average, the normal body temperature in adults is 98.6°F (37°C). Your natural body temperature may be slightly higher or lower, although over the age of 65 the average body temperature is lower than 98.6°F (36.2°C).

Babies and children’s standard body temperature ranges from 97.9°F (36.6°C) to 99°F (37.2°C).

What are the symptoms of fever?

As mentioned above, the main symptom of fever is a rise in your normal body temperature, but depending on the cause of your fever, you may experience other signs and symptoms such as:

  • Sweat
  • A headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Shivers
  • Weakness

When should you seek medical attention?

Your body knows how to defend itself. Therefore, depending on the cause of the infection, the fever is likely to go away on its own in a matter of a few days. However, some cases require medical treatment. Contact or visit Premier if:

Babies and Toddlers

  • A baby 3 months old or younger has a rectal temperature higher than 100.4° F (38 C).
  • A baby 3 to 6 months old has a rectal temperature higher than 102° F (38.9 C).
  • Babies and toddlers ages 6 to 24 months with a rectal temperature higher than 102° F (38.9 C), that lasts over 1 day.


  • Your child has any unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting or a stomachache.
  • Your child’s fever lasts over 3 days.
  • Your child has a fever and gets an immediate skin rash or develops one gradually.
  • Your child has a fever after being left in a hot car, even for a short while.
  • Your child has a fever and acts apathetic or looks very sleepy.
  • Your child suffers from a lack of appetite.


  • Your temperature is higher than 103° F (39.4 C).
  • Your temperature is higher than 100.4° F (38 C) for more than 3 days.

Also, you should seek immediate medical care when any of the following occurs:

  • Severe headache
  • Any virus or sickness
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Chest discomfort