how low of a low fever is enough to be concerned about?
March 21, 2020 11:15 PM   Subscribe

Even in ordinary times, my resting temp (taken orally with a mercury thermometer) is about 98.0ºF, but often spikes to around 99.0 in the afternoon. Yesterday I hit 99.3 and decided to self-quarantine for a while, but is that really enough of a fever to bother about? What's the accepted level for how low of a low fever is a covid concern?

I'll likely stay isolated regardless of answers here, but it would be nice to have general guidelines.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The CDC lists measured fever as one sign of coronavirus and elsewhere (in guidance for assessing ill travelers) defines a fever as 100.4 degrees or higher
posted by wjm at 11:28 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]

Best practice is to assume you are shedding virus continuously until proven otherwise. There are still a fair number of people who don't have fevers, but are shedding infectious virus.
posted by benzenedream at 11:45 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]

but is that really enough of a fever to bother about?

we know that the virus asymptomatic, so what you're actually feeling doesn't determine anything. Not saying that 99.3 means you have the virus. Am saying that even if it didn't, you might have it anyway.
posted by philip-random at 11:47 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]

In a lot of temperature screenings here in Asia, 37.3 is the magic number (99.1) where they won't let you in the door or will pull you out of line.
posted by frumiousb at 12:21 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]

Temperature varies normally through the day and based on your activities, environment, etc. If your normal goes up to 99, 99.3 doesn't feel like new information to me. Up to 99.5 they even let you give blood, because that's so much more likely to be interpersonal variation than an indicator of illness.

For someone whose usual temperature is 97.2, I'd feel differently just as an anecdotal judgement. But for you it's like someone who has a smoker's cough. They're coughing! Is it because of the pandemic or because of the smoking? No way to tell.
posted by Lady Li at 12:56 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Please isolate. There is no way to tell if you have it or not without being treated. Many people show no symptoms at all . Your body is doing something different. What that is I can't tell you. But I can tell you that you should self isolate. You don't want this AND covid (if it's something else), you don't want to spread covid (if you have it), you don't want just covid anyway (if it is nothing and you go out and catch covid anyway). Just stay home.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:01 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]

99 is a normal temp for you. Keep staying isolated but don’t worry about it.
posted by mskyle at 5:43 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]

I spiked a fever last week after confirmed exposure the week prior, and wound up getting on the phone with a Kaiser doc (they have an extremely efficient system for this right now; I was impressed). They're going by the CDC guideline of 100.4.

That being said, good plan to just continue staying at home, because that's what the doc told me to do. She said the only way that guidance changes is if it keeps going up (like to 103) or if you start not being able to breathe, then call back for additional guidance, but because hospitals are so overloaded and tests are so limited, they aren't going to test people and they'd prefer everyone treat themselves at home as much as humanly possible. I was told to stay isolated for a minimum of two weeks after last exposure, one week after onset of symptoms, and 72 hours after no longer running a fever, whichever is latest.

Sorry. I know it sucks wondering and not being able to know.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 2:41 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

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