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High temperature (fever) in adults

What is a high temperature?

Normal body temperature is different for everyone and changes during the day.

A high temperature is usually considered to be 38C or above. This is sometimes called a fever.

Many things can cause a high temperature, but it's usually caused by your body fighting an infection.

Check if you have a high temperature

You may have a high temperature if:

  • your chest or back feel hotter than usual
  • you have other symptoms, such as shivering (chills), sweating or warm, red skin
  • a thermometer says your temperature is 38C or above

Do I need to take my temperature?

You do not need to take your temperature using a thermometer, but you can if you have one.

Make sure you use it correctly to help get an accurate result. See how to take a temperature.

Important

If you feel hot or shivery, you may have a high temperature even if a thermometer says your temperature is below 38C.

What to do if you have a high temperature

If you have a high temperature, it could be coronavirus.

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Information:

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Advice for children

This page is for adults. For advice about children, see fever in children.

Page last reviewed: 6 April 2020
Next review due: 6 April 2023