What Temperature Is Considered a Fever?

A young man lies under a blanket on his sofa. He feels his head while checking the temperature reading on his thermometer.

Average body temperature ranges largely depend on your age. Babies, toddlers and children under two years of age experience an average internal body temperature range between 97.9 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas an adult’s normal body temperature ranges between 97 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Adults over age 65 may have a normal body temperature range below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit because aging causes a natural decrease in metabolic rate. This decrease means their bodies may not generate enough heat to maintain a “normal” internal body temperature. Slower circulation may also contribute to lower body temperatures.

If those are considered average temperature ranges, what temperature is considered a fever in adults? Keep reading to learn the difference between low-grade vs. high-grade fevers and when to seek urgent medical care.

What is considered a fever in adults?

Adults with low-grade fevers have an internal body temperature between 100.4 and 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit that lasts more than 24 hours. Low-grade fevers without other symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or pain during urination can be treated safely at home with plenty of rest, hydration, and over-the-counter fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

If you have a persistent, low-grade fever that lasts 3 days or more, it’s essential to visit your local urgent care center because there may be an underlying infection that needs prompt medical treatment.

Adults with a high-grade fever (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) should seek urgent medical care right away, especially if the fever is accompanied by excessive tiredness, ear pain, burning while urinating, diarrhea, or moderate vomiting without the presence of blood.

Seniors should take their temperature regularly to establish a baseline or starting point for their “normal” body temperature. If their average body temperature rises 2 degrees Fahrenheit above baseline, they have a low-grade fever and need prompt treatment.

If you have a low-grade or high-grade fever with severe vomiting (with or without the presence of blood), visit your nearest emergency room.

Visit Coastal Urgent Care of Bossier/Haughton to get the treatment you need for persistent or severe fever. Our skilled specialists are equipped and have extensive experience in treating the symptoms of colds, flu, and fever. They’ll provide the help you need quickly, so you can start feeling better fast. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week.