Health Questions and Answers

Question: Does the magnitude of the temperature indicate the severity of the illness?

Answer:

No, there is no pathognomonic degree of fever that has been clearly associated with a specific risk of infection in patients, although before the widespread use of the Haemophilus influenzae vaccine, temperatures greater than 41.1°C were associated with a higher incidence of serious bacterial illness. In pediatrics medical decision making, the temperature should be used as only one piece of information in conjunction with many other factors.

Reference:  Baraff LJ: Fever without a source in infants and children. Ann Emerg Med Dec 36:6, 2000.

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