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Fever: Bacterial, Viral, Coronavirus

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

What body temperature is considered a “fever”?

It depends on where you are measuring your body temperature, whether it is your mouth, armpit, rectum or ear. Each site has a different threshold before the temperature would be considered as a fever in most adults.

  • For oral or axillary temperature, temperature above 37.6 C (99.7 Deg F) is considered a fever.

  • For rectal or ear temperature, temperature above 38.1 Deg C (100.6 Deg F) is considered a fever/

What happens when I have a fever?

In the beginning phase of a fever, you may feel cold and start to shiver. Such chills are your body’s response to a rising temperature, and the fever is a sign that your body is fighting an infection.

As for what’s happening inside your body during a fever: Your body increases its immune response with white blood cells and this affects your hypothalamus (the part of your brain that regulates body temperature and other important functions), causing your body to heat up.

A fever may come and go depending on what you are doing while recovering. For example, if you are not fully recovered and yet go back to your regular routine and habits without moderating the intensity, you run the risk of having the fever come back. Or if you do not take your medication on time, in the right sequence, or finish your course of medication, this could affect your recovery too. Your immune system is still weak and not fully recovered.

What are the differences between a viral fever and bacterial fever?

There are a few differences between viral fever and bacterial fever. As the names suggest, a viral fever is caused by virus infection while bacterial fever is caused by bacterial infection. Other differences include duration of fever, how high the temperature would be, recovery process of the fever.

  • Duration of fever: Bacterial fever may persist longer than 10-14 days (or until the person takes antibiotic) while viral fever can last for as little as 2-3 days.

  • Temperature: The body temperature of a person with bacterial fever would be higher than that of a person with viral infection.

  • Recovery process: For bacterial fever, it gets worse for a few days before it starts to improve.

For viral fever, it may come and go, depending on the initial treatment and your body’s recovery. If you didn’t receive the right medication from your initial diagnosis of having a viral fever, your fever may return. There is also the issue of re-infection, where your body doesn’t have the means of producing the right antibodies to address the viral fever that you are infected with. This has been brought to light with the news of re-infection for COVID-19.

What are the characteristics of coronavirus fever?

T-SMART has been working to characterize one’s health, before and after a fever situation. Our founder can concur with what some medical correspondences and our own development of a non-contact infrared measurement and monitoring device does to monitor fevers.

A person who is symptomatic of the coronavirus is highly likely to have a low grade fever. Low grade fever refers to a body temperature that is between the normal body temperature and 38 Deg C (100.4 Deg F), gradually increases over 2 to 5 days, and does not return to normal.

This is why it is crucial to track your fever during the pandemic. Generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 38 Deg C (100.4 Deg F) or higher. Also, do note that the timing when you take your temperature matters. Some people running a fever might not register a high number in the morning but will by afternoon. That’s because people run cooler in the morning, and their temperature peaks in the evening, usually from 4 to 9 p.m. If you are taking your temperature twice a day, at least one of those should be done during that evening window — and ideally around the same time every day, to account for daily fluctuation.

With that said, there are also asymptomatic cases of people with COVID-19. Do get tested, know your body, do the right thing, don’t be an unfortunate statistic.

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