Body temperatures can reveal a lot about your help. Temperature is one of the key vital signs doctors look at. Infections can cause a fever and other illnesses can cause your body temperature to fluctuate according to your age, gender and more.
Organisms are only able to function correctly and effectively if their internal conditions are kept within a specific range – a state is called homeostasis.
Enzymes in particular need the correct temperature to catalyse chemical reactions.
Controlling your body temperature is important as extremes can be dangerous.
High temperatures can lead to dehydration, heat stroke and death if left untreated.
Low temperatures can lead to hypothermia and death if untreated.
When do you need to consult a doctor?
Extremely high or low body temperatures can be a cause for concern.
With healthy adults, a moderate fever where your temperatures rise slightly should not be a significant cause of concern.
However, a moderate fever for someone with an existing lung or heart condition may be more worrying.
Adults with temperatures above 40C and below 35C should consult a medical professional, especially if there are other alarming symptoms such as headaches and shortness of breath.
Temperatures above 41C may indicate organ failure and therefore should prompt you to seek medical help immediately.
With children under three months old, a temperature of 38C or above should prompt you to consult your GP or call 111 for medical advice.
For children aged three to six months, a temperature of 39C may be a cause for concern and therefore you should seek medical advice.
For any children over the age of six months with a temperature above or below the normal range listed above and with other signs of being unwell, you are advised to seek medical advice.