What you need to know about fever

A fever is a natural bodily response to an infection or illness that results in an increased body temperature.

What is a normal body temperature?

Although a person’s body temperature varies throughout the day, our normal temperature is around 37 °C (98.6 °F).

“Normal” body temperature varies with age as well as by where it is taken (e.g., orally or rectally).

What is a fever?

Fever, a rise in body temperature above the normal level, is the body’s natural way of responding to an infection or illness.

What causes fever?

Generally, a fever is caused by viral infections such as colds, flu, and chicken pox. Bacterial infections such as strep throat and some ear infections can also cause fever. An infant or child may develop a fever after an immunization.

When should you take your child’s temperature?

In most cases, your child’s behaviour is a better indication of the severity of an illness than the degree of the fever. If your child feels warm or feverish, you can take their temperature, but observing your child’s behaviour is sometimes more important than the actual temperature reading.

Digital or glass thermometer?

Using a digital thermometer is the quickest and safest way to take your child’s temperature. The Canadian Paediatric Society no longer recommends the use of mercury (glass) thermometers.