Coronavirus symptoms: How to measure if you have a high temperature without a thermometer

Coronavirus in the UK has claimed 684 more deaths today, bringing the total number of fatalities to 3,605. Sadly, the number is another day-on-day record – the Department of Health have announced the worrying statistic showing a 20 percent rise. With this news, knowing whether you are displaying mild symptoms of COVID-19 is important. It’s normal for one’s body temperature to fluctuate throughout the day but how can you know for sure whether your high temperature might be cause for alarm?


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The coronavirus is a new virus which belongs to a family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses in humans ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases including the severe acute respiratory (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets, such as those generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The virus takes around five to six days to start showing symptoms in the body.

A fever is the body’s natural reaction to exposure to disease-causing pathogens including COVID-19.

The body’s increase in temperature can destroy the proteins in these pathogens to keep them from multiplying.

A fever is an inflammatory response to the virus in the body. It’s a way of warning that a foreign entity is in the body.

The definition of a fever depends on a person’s age and where the temperature reading originates from.

When it comes to coronavirus symptoms, a fever is one of the main warning signs. 

The NHS explains: “A high temperature is a symptom of coronavirus. This means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.”

A normal body temperature is typically around 37 degrees; however, this can vary for each individual and can fluctuate depending on the time of day.

There are many other factors regarding why one’s temperature might be high other than a possible coronavirus infection.

These include having any inflammatory conditions, taking certain medications, alcohol withdrawal, certain vaccinations, having any blood clots, having endometriosis or a sexually transmitted disease (STD).


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If using touch to determine a fever in someone else, it’s important to touch your own skin first, then compare the two temperatures.

If the other is much warmer, this could be a sign of a fever. Another method to determine a high temperature is to try pinching the skin on the back of the hand to check for signs of dehydration.

If the skin doesn’t snap back quickly, this could be a sign of dehydration and a sign of a fever. 

If a person does not have a thermometer, there are other ways to diagnose whether it is a fever or not.

Touch is the most popular method, but it’s also the least accurate. This is especially the case if you’re self-diagnosing.

Having a cold bath can temporarily help reduce a high temperature but this can lead to shivering.

When a person shivers, the body rapidly vibrates to increase the body temperature, and this could actually cause the temperature to get higher.

A better option is to try sponging the body with warm water. As the water evaporates, the body will begin to cool.

If you are experiencing a high fever, it’s important to be vigilant of any other common symptoms of COVID-19. 

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