Temperature under the arm (axillary) or in the ear (otic) is at or over 37.2 °C(99.0 °F)In healthy adult men and women the range for oral temperature is 33.2–38.2 °C (92– 101 °F), for rectal it is 34.4–37.8 °C (94–100 °F), for tympanic membraneit is 35.4– 37.8 °C (96–100 °F) and for axillary it is 35.5–37.0 °C (96–99 °F).
People develop higher temperatures with activities but this is not considered a fever asthe set-point is normal. Elderly people have a decreased ability to generate body heat, soeven a low-grade temperature may represent a serious underlying illness.
The pattern of temperature changes may occasionally hint at the diagnosis:
Intermittent fever: Elevated temperature is present only for some hours of the dayand becomes normal for remaining hours,
malaria,kala-azar , pyaemia, or
septicemia.In malaria, there may be a fever with a periodicity of 24 hours(quotidian), 48 hours (tertian fever), or 72 hours (quartan fever, indicating
). These patterns may be less clear in travelers.
Pel-Ebstein fever : A specific kind of fever associated withHodgkin's lymphoma,
being high for one week and low for the next week and so on. However, there issome debate as to whether this pattern truly exists.
Continuous fever: Temperature remains above normal throughout the day anddoes not fluctuate more than 1 °C in 24 hours,
Remittant fever: Temperature remains above normal throughout the day andfluctuates more than 1 °C in 24 hours,
infective endocarditis.A neutropenic fever, also calledfebrile neutropenia, is a fever in the absence of normalimmune system function. Because of the lack of infection-fightingneutrophils, a bacterialinfection can spread rapidly and this fever is therefore usually considered a medicalemergency. This kind of fever is more commonly seen in people receiving immune-suppressingchemotherapythan in apparently healthy people.Febricula
is a mild fever of short duration, of indefinite origin, and without anydistinctive pathology.
Hyperpyrexia is a fever with an extreme elevation of body temperaturegreater than or equal to 41.5 °C (106.7 °F).
Such a high temperature is considered a medical
emergencyas it may indicate a serious underlying condition or lead to significant sideeffects.