Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Are Recurrent Fevers Normal?

Thursday, 17 Mar 2011 11:24 AM

Question: My 38-year-old wife has been running a temperature of between 99 and 101 degrees for the last 10 months. She had a recent blood test that was considered normal. Is this normal?

No, this is unusual. Our hypothalamic area of the brain is usually able to control our core temperature. Any recurrent disturbance of temperature regulation is worth further evaluation.

Your wife’s recurrent elevated temperature could be from an acute infection or other inflammatory process, chronic bacterial or parasitic condition, hormonal disorder, malignant or non-malignant tumor, or immune system malfunction.

A normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees, and elevations will draw my attention, especially when they recur. A simple, complete blood count is often a good starting point, but further evaluation sounds like it is in order. Sometimes a fever chart helps characterize the fever degree and frequency, and can actually be diagnostic in some cases. It also will certainly help with evaluation and investigation.

Remember that not all infections are apparent by outward signs. Infections and inflammation of internal organs, such as endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart and valves), and many of our body fluids can elude diagnosis without an astute clinical examination, evaluation, and appropriate supportive studies.


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