How to tell if it’s a fever (and how to take the temperature)

It is considered a fever when the temperature in the armpit is higher than 38ºC, since the temperature of 37.5ºC is easily reached when it is very hot or when the person has many layers of clothes on, for example.

The safest way to know if you have a fever is to use the thermometer to measure the temperature, and not rely on just putting your hand on your forehead or the back of your neck.

In cases where the temperature in the armpit is over 39ºC, it is recommended to go immediately to the emergency room, as high fever can cause seizures or endanger the person’s life.

How to measure the temperature correctly

To measure body temperature correctly, you must know how to use each type of thermometer. The most common are:

  • Glass or digital thermometer:just place the metal tip on the armpit, anus or mouth in direct contact with the skin or mucous membranes and wait at least 3 minutes, or until the beep, to check the temperature;
  • Infrared thermometer:point the tip of the thermometer at the forehead or into the ear canal and press the button. After the beep, the thermometer will show the temperature immediately.

See a complete guide to using each type of thermometer .

Body temperature should be measured at rest and never immediately after physical activity or after a bath, because in these cases it is normal for the temperature to be higher and, therefore, the value may not be real.

The most common, easiest and safest thermometer to use is the digital thermometer, as it can read the temperature under the armpit and produces an audible signal when it reaches body temperature. However, any thermometer is reliable, provided it is used correctly. The only type of thermometer that is contraindicated is the mercury thermometer, as it can cause poisoning if it breaks.

How to take a baby’s temperature

The body temperature in the baby should be measured with the thermometer, as in the adult, and preference should be given to the most comfortable and fast thermometers, such as digital or infrared.

The ideal place to assess the baby’s temperature more accurately is the anus and, in these cases, the digital thermometer with a soft tip should be used to avoid hurting the baby. However, if the parents are not comfortable, they can use the temperature measurement in the armpit, confirming the anal temperature only in the pediatrician, for example.

How many degrees is fever in the adult

The normal body temperature varies between 35.4ºC and 37.2ºC, when measured in the armpit, but it can increase in situations of flu or infection, generating fever. The main variations in body temperature include:

  • Slightly increased temperature, known as “subfebrile”: between 37.5ºC and 38ºC. In these cases, other symptoms usually appear, such as chills, tremors or redness of the face and the first layer of clothing should be removed, a bath of lukewarm water or drinking water;
  • Fever: itis the axillary temperature above 38ºC. In the case of the adult, it may be recommended to take a 1000 mg tablet of paracetamol, stick with only one layer of clothing or put cold compresses on the forehead. If the temperature does not decrease after 3 hours, you should go to the emergency room;
  • High fever: it is the axillary temperature above 41 ºC, which must be considered a medical emergency and, therefore, the person must be evaluated by a doctor.

The temperature can also be lower than normal, that is, less than 35.4ºC. This usually happens when a person has been exposed to cold for a long time and is known as “hypothermia”. In these cases, try to remove the source of the cold and put on several layers of clothing, drink hot tea or heat the house, for example. Understand what can cause hypothermia and what to do .

Here’s how to get your fever down quickly without using medication:

What temperature is fever in the baby and children

The body temperature of the baby and the child is slightly different from that of the adult, the normal being that the temperature varies between 36ºC and 37ºC. The main variations in body temperature in childhood are:

  • Slightly increased temperature:between 37.1ºC and 37.5ºC. In these cases, you must remove a layer of clothing and give a warm bath;
  • Fever:anal temperature higher than 37.8ºC or axillary higher than 38ºC. In these cases, parents should call the pediatrician to guide the use of medicines for fever or the need to go to the emergency room;
  • Low body temperature(hypothermia) :  temperature below 35.5ºC. In these cases, you should wear another layer of clothing and avoid drafts. If the temperature does not rise in 30 minutes, you should go to the emergency room.

Temperature variations in babies and children are not always due to illness or infection, and may vary due to the amount of clothing worn, the birth of teeth, the reaction of a vaccine or due to the temperature of the environment, for example.

How much to take medicine to lower the fever

Removing excess clothes and taking a warm bath is a good way to lower your body temperature, but when that is not enough, your doctor may recommend using an antipyretic, also known as an antipyretic, to lower your fever. The most used medicine in these situations is usually paracetamol, which can be taken up to 3 times a day, at intervals of 6 to 8 hours. See other medicines to lower the fever .

In the case of babies and children, fever remedies should only be used with guidance from the pediara, as the dosages vary widely according to weight and age.


Leave a Comment