If Your Temperature Is This High, You Should Be Concerned About Coronavirus

A temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher means your fever could be a COVID-19 symptom.

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One of the rarely mentioned changes to life during the coronavirus pandemic is how often we take our temperature now. Whether at home or at work, temperature checks have become commonplace, because a fever is the most commonly reported symptom of a COVID-19 infection. But what is a normal temperature? That varies throughout the day and from person to person. Before you panic about the number on the thermometer, make sure you're aware of what you should be looking for when you take your temperature to diagnose a fever that could mean coronavirus.

According to The New York Times, you should be concerned about a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. That's a general guideline, but some people naturally run hotter or colder than others, and your temperature fluctuates throughout the day. While common wisdom holds that the average temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a January study published in eLife found that the average is now closer to 97.9 degrees.

black man on couch looking at thermometer
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By definition, a fever is any temperature higher than one's normal temperature—but with "normal" so difficult to pinpoint, it's important to know what number you should be worried about. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a fever to be a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, which is very close to the New York Times' recommendation.

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One-tenth of a degree aside, a fever does not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. As with any other potential symptom of the virus, it's important to take stock of your overall health and see if any other symptoms are presenting. Keep in mind, however, that fever is the most consistent symptom of coronavirus, so it's not something to be ignored.

If you do have a fever, there are plenty of ways to treat it at home. You can use over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lower it. Also make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you have a fever and know you've been exposed to coronavirus, or if you have any other symptoms, self-isolate and consider getting tested. And for what not to do, These Are the Worst Things You Can Do if You Have a Fever.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
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