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Body Temperature – Understanding what Your Body is Telling You

Dallas Physicians • Infections, Fever, Body Temperature

Body temperature is an excellent indicator as to when the body is fighting an infection or virus. Body temperature is regulated by the brain’s hypothalamus, a small area in the core underside of the brain responsible for coordinating the autonomic nervous system and several bodily functions. The hypothalamus works as the body’s thermostat, regulating body temperature in response to internal and external conditions. The hypothalamus also controls your body’s balance of fluids, hormones, and the release of certain chemicals. For these purposes, the hypothalamus also regulates sweat glands and blood vessels that act like cooling and heating ducts of the body.

When Body Temperature Changes – 98.6 and Higher

When the body is healthy, the hypothalamus controls body temperature to roughly 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (some body temperatures – especially in older adults – may be slightly less). When bacteria or a virus enters the body, blood vessels typically expand or contract in order to pull more blood and heat closer or farther away from the skin in order to retain or release heat.

When the hypothalamus detects an infection, it release chemicals that cause a rise in body temperature. These chemicals cause blood vessels to narrow, drawing heat inward into the body. This process if part of the body’s natural means for fighting infection since a rise in body temperature assists the immune system by conserving heat and subjecting bacteria or a virus to heat that can play a role in breaking it down.

Fever – When to See an Urgent Care Doctor

Since a rise in your body’s temperature typically means it’s fighting off an infection, it’s important to closely monitor how high your temperature goes. A fever of 102 or higher should be evaluated by a doctor at an urgent care facility especially if it won’t come down with treatment or persists for a day or two. If you have a fever of 102 or higher accompanied by a stiff neck, headache, or vomiting, you should go immediately to the emergency room as this could be a more serious infection like meningitis.

While most fevers during cold and flu season are nothing to worry about, a fever unaccompanied by sore throat, runny nose, or other common flu-like symptoms could point to an infection somewhere in the body. In cases involving food poisoning, diverticulitis, walking pneumonia, or MRSA, you may not have typical flu or cold-like symptoms. As a result, abdominal pain, tenderness or redness around a cut, or loose stools accompanied by a fever should be evaluated immediately by a doctor.

Dealing with a Fever? Contact Hillcrest Medical Today

If you or your child has a fever, contact an urgent care doctor at Hillcrest Medical today at (214) 368-3800 to schedule an appointment or come in as a walk-in patient. We have the resources needed to conduct lab tests and determine what is the cause of your fever.

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