Tell me I’m not the only one that hears this; “I never run fever, my normal body temperature is (insert any number that is less than 98.6°F).” Man, this really gets me heated up. As a student some professor or preceptor told me that a fever in an adult is 100.5°F. Being a good scut monkey, I believed them. To this day I tell my patients this very thing, and it burns me when they say some crap like “I never run fever.” This got me wondering if anyone else hears this and how do you react to it when you do? Also, it really got me re-thinking what is a fever? Do we need to reassess our definitions of normal temps? Do some people actually never run fever?

The Mayo Clinic Says a fever is “when your temperature rises above its normal range. What’s normal for you may be a little higher or lower than the average normal temperature of 98.6 F (37 C).” This definition actually makes sense to me, but in order to determine if a person is running fever you have to have some baseline numbers to know what their normal range is. Not very helpful in an urgent/emergent situation.

MedicineNet says “Fever is considered a temperature above 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C).” This is very close to what I was taught in school. But does it hold true for all Homo sapiens?

So, I bring the poll to the people. I’d like your input on this.

Do you hear this in your practice?

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How do you react when you hear this?

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  1. trishx3 says:

    I think that because not every thermometer doesn’t read the same they believe the tempature they read at home. So if every time they check their temp. at home it reads 97.6 that’s what their “normal” temp is. However, they may not have taken their tempature right, or the thermometer doesn’t read properly. When you tell them their temp. in an office setting and it reads 98.7 that’s normal to them it’s higher than normal now.

  2. Kaylan says:

    I personally think temporal thermometers suck. They not accurate. I have taking my temp 5 times in a row and they all say way different readings. I say stick with the original ways, under the tongue or up where the sun don’t shine. :) Can’t go wrong there!

  3. Mrs.G2U says:

    Yes I hear that quite often. I can tell them their temp. is 98.8 and their lIke ooh! I am running a fever I always run (for ex.) 97.4.. Or same thing for their child.. So I explain to them a fever is considered 100 or 101 and above. But some are just set in their ways..Bottom line my goal is to make them feel that we care and we are here to make them feel better

    • qfwm2001 says:

      Your bottom line is what we all should be doing. Make the patients feel better. Sometimes it’s just hard when they show up with a bunch of non-sense! Thanks for the comment

  4. Chris says:

    So many Pts are arrogantly ignorant. It can be maddening at times. I have stopped trying to reason with them and just lay out the facts and tell them to let me know if they have any problems. Love your musings.

    • qfwm2001 says:

      Chris, thanks for the reply. I have to agree with you. I used to spend the time explaining why they were wrong about what constitutes a fever in the human body, but know I mostly agree and move on. The tricky part about a situation like this is that you need to maintain a patient base. Without a solid flow of patients producing revenue, you will soon be in the soup line at the local shelter. At the same time you have an obligation to do what is right and in the best interest of your patients. Generally i will right an ABX rx but inform the patient to give it time to resolve before taking the medicine. This is a bit of a cop-out on my part, but it keeps the patients happy. Thanks again for the reply.

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