Fever is body normal reaction towards infection and other illnesses. It is not a disease but a symptom. Normal body temperature is between 36.5ºC-37.5ºC. Above this is fever. Indicating a viral or bacterial infection. It can also indicate chronic disease or any immunological reaction.

Causes of Fever

  • Viral infection causing common colds, sore throats and diarrhoea
  • Bacterial infection example lung infection (pneumonia), tuberculosis (TB) and nerve infection (meningitis)
  • Malaria/ dengue/ HIV
  • Joint disease
  • Cancer


Minor infections can resolve on its own due our competent immune system

Home management for fever are :

  • Mild fever <38 ºC with no complications
  • Drink water or fluids frequently to replenish lost fluids.
  • Eat light, easily digested food such as soup
  • Try a shower or sponge bath with tepid water may reduce the fever.
  • Dress lightly, do not wrap with blanket as this will increase the fever.
  • Tepid sponging over body parts example head, feet and abdomen with wet cloth

When to see a doctor?

If you have serious symptoms:

  • If temperature >38ºC not improve with home treatment.
  • History of recent traveling outside your country .
  • Has other symptoms like rash, bleeding, fit, drowsy, breathless, joint pain or swelling
  • Pain in the abdomen, eye or cheek bone.
  • Has other illness such as diabetes mellitus and cancer.
  • History of dengue at your housing area.
  • Unable to take enough food and fluids.
  • Painful and frequent urination or less amount.
  • No improvement after 4 to 5 days.
  • Fever still persistent despite home treatment.
  • Fever associated with injury


  • Avoid contact with someone who has fever with diagnosis of infectious disease example TB
  • Practice good hygiene
  • Take balance and healthy diet
  • Avoid crowded areas example massive congregation and congested shopping areas
  • Keep active with regular exercises

Frequently asked questions

How to measure body temperature?

  • To be sure if you have a fever, measure your body temperature with a clinical thermometer, available from any pharmacy.
  • Wash it with soap and water.
  • Plaease read the information leaflet before using.
  • Digital termometer is recommended as contrast for mercurial thermometer
  • Ear probe thermometers can be used.
  • Temperature color strips are not accurate and not advisable.


  1. John Murtagh’s General Practice, July 2015, Six Edition
Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer : Dr. Jamilah Abdullah
Reviewer : Dr. Nor Faizah bt. Ghazali