How to read a fever

A person’s normal internal body temperature is usually 98.6 degrees but can range between 97 and 99 degrees. A spike in body temperature is known as a fever. This is usually a sign of infection but a fever on its own is not something to worry about. A thermometer helps measure a person’s body temperature and determines the extent of his or her fever. In case of children, this thermometer may be placed under the arm or in the ear while in the case of adults; a thermometer is placed under the tongue to measure temperature. When measuring temperature in these different ways, the results may not always be the same.
Below is a fever temperature chart to help you correlate the temperatures taken.

Orally taken temperature of 99.5 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit corresponds to 100.4-101 degrees Fahrenheit when taken through the ear.
Other temperature comparisons in Fahrenheit are:
100-101.5(orally) = 101.1-102.4 (through the ear)
101.6-102.4 (orally) = 102.5-103.5 (through the ear)
102.5-103.5 (orally) = 103.6-104.6 (through the ear)
103.6-104.6 (orally) = 104.7-105.6 (through the ear)

Similarly an oral temperature of 37.5-37.7 degrees Celsius corresponds to 38-38.3 degrees Celsius when taken through the ear.
Other temperature comparisons in Celsius are:
37.8-38.5 (orally) = 38.4-39.1 (through the ear)
38.6-39.1 (orally) = 39.2-39.7 (through the ear)
39.2-39.7 (orally) = 39.8-40.3 (through the ear)
39.8-40.3 (orally) = 40.4-40.9 (through the ear)

Given the difference in temperatures when measured in different ways, always remember to mention to your doctor how the temperature was taken along with the recorded temperature. A child is considered to have a fever when the temperature measured through his or her ear is recorded at 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. Thus according to the above fever temperature chart their oral temperature would have to be at least 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.5 degrees Celsius.

You must seek medical helps if your child develops a fever when he is under three months old or has a temperature higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.9 degrees Celsius. If there are any other symptoms such as a severe headache, confusion, stiffness of the neck, vomiting and diarrhoea or significant irritability, seek emergency care.

Children can be treated for fever with liquid Ibuprofen or Advil. The dosage for this medicine depends on your child’s age and weight and can be repeated every 6 to 8 hours. It is not advisable to give Ibuprofen to children under the age of 6 months or aspirin to children under the age of 18 years. Along with the medication, ensure that your child drinks plenty of fluids and rests. You may also give them a light blanket to feel more comfortable. If the fever does not subside within 24 hours, consult a doctor.