What is a low grade fever?
A fever is an increase in the body temperature above normal. A low-grade fever is a mild elevation of the temperature above normal. Your temperature measurements fluctuate through the day and vary depending upon the site of measurement. Generally, a child is considered to have a fever if the temperature is at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit rectally, 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit orally, or 99 degrees Fahrenheit in the armpit. In an adult, a fever is generally defined as 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) or greater.
What is considered a low grade fever?
If you have a cold, or more commonly the flu, you may have a fever, but not all are the same. Fevers are defined as any body temperature above 98.6° F (37° C). Some people may talk about a low-grade fever versus a regular fever or a high-grade fever. These terms are not universally defined, but it is important to monitor the degree of your fever in the context of your cold or flu and take appropriate action to treat.
Low grade fever symptoms
You have a fever when your temperature rises above its normal range. What's normal for you may be a little higher or lower than the average normal temperature of 98.6 F (37 C).
Depending on what's causing your fever, additional fever signs and symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- General weakness
High fevers between 103 F (39.4 C) and 106 F (41.1 C) may cause:
- Low grade fever causes
Fever occurs when an area in your brain called the hypothalamus (hi-poe-THAL-uh-muhs) — also known as your body's "thermostat" — shifts the set point of your normal body temperature upward. When this happens, you may feel chilled and add layers of clothing or wrap up in a blanket, or you may shiver to generate more body heat, eventually resulting in an elevated body temperature.
Normal body temperature varies throughout the day — it's lower in the morning and higher in the late afternoon and evening. Although most people consider 98.6 F (37 C) normal, your body temperature can vary by a degree or more — from about 97 F (36.1 C) to 99 F (37.2 C) — and still be considered normal. Factors such as your menstrual cycle or heavy exercise can affect your temperature.
For a low-grade fever, your doctor may not recommend treatment to lower your body temperature. Doing so may prolong the illness or mask symptoms and make it harder to determine the cause. Depending on the cause of your fever, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, especially if he or she suspects a bacterial infection, such as pneumonia or strep throat. Antibiotics don't treat viral infections, but there are a few antiviral drugs used to treat certain viral infections. However, the best treatment for most minor illnesses caused by viruses is often rest and plenty of fluids. For infants, especially those younger than 28 days, your baby might need to be admitted to the hospital for testing and treatment.
Wash your hands often and teach your children to do the same, especially before eating, after using the toilet, after spending time in a crowd or around someone who's sick, after petting animals, and during travel on public transportation. This way, you will highly likely avoid low grade fever.