According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of last month, the predominant flu virus circulation was still the 2009 H1N1 virus and it is common for the last flu spike to occur in February and March. So in preparation for this, Dr. Sorin Teich of Medisim-USA, patent-holder and manufacturer of the TempleTouch™ Thermometer, debunks common fever myths and prescribes accurate tips to help you know when to seek medical attention.
“It is important for people to know fact from fiction when it comes to fevers and internal body temperature,” said Teich. “Fever is a common symptom of the seasonal flu and separating the myths from the facts will allow for people to receive the necessary care that their symptoms require.”
The most popular of all fever myths: 98.6 is normal
It is not uncommon for parents today to assume that when their child’s temperature goes above 98.6, that their child is running a fever. A child’s internal body temperature is generally higher than adults – and everyone’s internal body temperature is different and can vary from hour to hour depending on one’s age, physical activity, general health, and immediate surroundings.
The idea that 98.6 is one’s internal temperature stems from a study conducted more than 100 years ago. The study measured the temperature of 25,000 people and together, their internal temperatures averaged 98.6° F. Also, remember that primitive thermometers were used and they were not nearly as accurate as the thermometers of today.
Some more food for thought: Older is colder. An article from Journal of Clinical Nursing reported a study performed on adults 60 and older that showed as we age, our core temperature actually drops as much as 1°F as we age. One of the major factors that lead to this drop in core temperature is inactivity (or lack of exercise).
Some more common fever myths:
Touching the skin is a reliable test of a person’s temperature.
The quick answer, no. How a person’s forehead feels to the touch can be affected by many things. The only true way to test a person’s internal temperature is with a reliable thermometer.
Feed a cold, starve a fever.
We’ve all heard this one before, but it’s yet another common misconception. A fever will cause the body to lose fluids through sweating and breathing. Because of this, your body will need more fluids than normal. Fluids also help your body decongest, which helps you get better faster while eating keeps your strength up.
Taking a cold bath can lower your temperature.
Wrong. In fact, it may cause a person to shiver due to the cold, which would actually raise a person’s internal temperature and make the fever worse.
Without treatment, fevers will keep going higher.
Wrong. The body does have a ceiling on your internal temperature. Due to our brain’s thermostat, fevers from infection (like the flu) top out at 103°F to 104°F and rarely will go as high as 105°F or 106°F.
Fevers cause brain damage or fevers over 104°F are dangerous.
Although seeing a temperature reading about 104° can cause alarm, fevers with infections don’t cause brain damage. Only internal temperatures of 108°F or higher, which are extremely rare, can cause brain damage.
Temperatures between 98.7°F and 100°F (37.1°C to 37.8°C) are low-grade fevers.
No. Just because a person’s temperature is above 98.6° does not mean you have a fever. A person’s internal temperature goes through normal variations throughout the day, typically peaking in the late afternoon and evening. A low-grade fever is an internal temperature of 100°F to 102°F.
Accurate temperature readings are critical, especially in small children. Thanks to advancements in technology, parents have more options than ever when it comes to thermometers. Most moms and dads are using less invasive, yet accurate, methods to take their child’s temperature.
One of the best selling thermometers today is in fact the TempleTouch thermometer. The patented device accurately detects the core body temperature using conduction in just six seconds by touching the thermometer to the temple. The thermometer is so gentle it can be used on a sleeping infant or child.