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Low grade fever or not
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Low grade fever or not

I was wondering what exactly is the definition of a low grade fever

i have read many conflicting values

Some say ANYTHING above 37 (98.6) is a fever
I have also read anything above 37.3 (99.14 F)
And some say 37.5 (99.5)

I have also read that the normal body temperature can be up to .6C above 37.

Now I do know that your body temperature starts off low in the morning , rises in the afternoon and goes back down at night.

I am asking this because I took my temperature one afternoon for some reason and I had 37.4 (99.3) this was done orally with one of those digital thermometers that registers in .1 C increments.  I started taking my temperature at various points in the day and started to see a pattern, it was never above 37 until about 11am and always below after 7pm.  I also never reached a point above 37.4 most of the afternoon it is really 37.2-37.4.

Now am I correct to state that if I had a temp that was high in the morning or night then that would be a fever and the afternoon values are simply normal.

I also decided to take my temperature once an hour to see how it changes throughout the day and it follows a nice even curve from below 37, hitting 37 around lunch and going back below in the evening back down to the temp it was when I woke up.

So I am not sure I am having a low grade fever every day in the afternoon or that is just what happens, the average for the day happened to be 36.9.

Any insight and what i should look for to see if I really do have a fever or not would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Typically, a fever becomes significant if it is above 100.4 degrees.  Below that, and above the normal, would be considered "low-grade".  

With persistent low-grade fevers, further evaluation should be done to determine a source.  A chest x-ray, blood and urine cultures, and sputum cultures can all be considered depending on the other symptoms present.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
www.kevinmd.com
2 Comments
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I have never reached 38 (100.4)  I will mention this to my doctor but can a fever happen at the exact same time every day and always be gone the rest of the day?  I would have assumed if I had some viral infection or chronic disesase it would be elevated most of the day.  From what i read about normal body temperature fluctuations I could very well be normal as it follows a cyclic pattern and never breaks through 1F above (98.6)
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