A mother chekcing her child's temperature, with a themometer in one hand and her other hand on her childs head.

What is a normal body temperature?

Age

Body temperature normal range

Fever temperature range

 

Other signs of illness include

How to take their temperature

Precautions

Baby (age 0-2)

Around 36.4C

 

(normal temperature for a baby  can vary slightly from baby to baby – it’s best to take your baby’s temperature regularly to find out what’s normal for them). (1)

37.5C or above (2)

Hotter to touch on their forehead, back or stomach.

 

Sweaty, clammy or

have flushed cheeks. (3)

 

Always take the temperature either under the armpit (axillary) for babies.

 

Place the tip of the thermometer under the baby’s armpit and gently hold them still until it beeps. (4)

Fever in babies under 6 months of age is rare.

 

If your baby is younger than 3 months and has a fever of 38C or above or is between 3-6 months of age with a fever of 39C or above, seek medical attention immediately. (5)

Child (2-10)

Around 36.4C

 

(normal kids’ temperature can vary slightly from child to child – it’s best to check your child’s temperature occasionally to find out what’s normal for them).

38C or above (6)

Hotter to touch on their forehead, back or stomach.

 

Sweaty, clammy or

have flushed cheeks. (7)

 

It’s best to take the temperature under the armpit (axillary).

 

You could also use an ear thermometer (tympanic), but don’t allow your child to do this unsupervised. (8)

Fevers in children are common and usually nothing to worry about.

 

If your child’s temperature lasts more than 5 days or is accompanied by a rash, see your child’s GP. (9)

Young person (10-18)

36.5C - 37.2C considered normal range (10)

38C or above (11)

Hotter to touch on their forehead, back or stomach.

 

Sweaty, clammy or

have flushed cheeks.

 

They have other symptoms, such as shivering (chills), sweating or warm, red skin. (12)

 

 

Older children can be shown how to take their own temperature.

 

This can be armpit (axillary), ear (tympanic) or by mouth. (13)

 

If the temperature lasts more than 5 days or is accompanied by a rash, see your child’s GP.

Adult (18-65)

36.6C – 37.2C considered normal range (14)

38C or above (15)

Your chest or back feel hotter than usual

 

You have other symptoms, such as shivering (chills), sweating or warm, red skin (16)

 

As above.

Contact your GP if your fever doesn’t improve after 3 days, the fever is over 40C, or if you’re having trouble breathing. (17)

Older adult (65+)

36C (18)

37.8C or above

As above.

As above.

Older adults tend to have a slightly cooler core body temperature.

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-children/
  2. https://www.nhsinform.scot/self-help-guides/self-help-guide-fever-in-babies
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-children/
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/how-to-take-your-babys-temperature/
  5. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/fever-in-children
  6. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-children/
  7. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-children/
  8. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/how-to-take-your-babys-temperature/
  9. https://what0-18.nhs.uk/parentscarers/worried-your-child-unwell/fever-high-temperature
  10. http://www.choosewellmanchester.org.uk/self-care/self-care-information-for-adults/taking-your-temperature/
  11. http://www.choosewellmanchester.org.uk/self-care/self-care-information-for-adults/taking-your-temperature/
  12. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-adults
  13. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/accidents-first-aid-and-treatments/how-do-i-take-someones-temperature/
  14. http://www.choosewellmanchester.org.uk/self-care/self-care-information-for-adults/taking-your-temperature/
  15. http://www.choosewellmanchester.org.uk/self-care/self-care-information-for-adults/taking-your-temperature/
  16. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-adults
  17. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-adults
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16398904/
  19. https://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5468
  20. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/natural-family-planning/
  21. https://www.btf-thyroid.org/myths-and-misunderstandings-about-thyroid-disease
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK331/
  23. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/fever-in-adults
  24. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/accidents-first-aid-and-treatments/how-do-i-take-someones-temperature/
  25. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/
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