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A thermometer with a high reading and some red highlights radiating out.

Whilst alive we all have some heat in us or we would be stone cold dead! What we mean when we say we have a 'temperature' or a 'fever', is that our internal body temperature is higher than normal. The normal temperature of our bodies is 37 degrees centigrade, and it is usually measured in the ear, armpit, mouth, up your bum, or on your forehead. Anything above 37.5 degrees is usually considered to be abnormal. When your temperature is up you usually feel sick: hot and cold, shivery and sweaty. It often means that your body is fighting an infection of some kind - caused by either a bacteria or a virus.

What to do

This depends on what is causing your fever - as a fever, just by itself is not harmful. If you feel rotten with your fever then taking paracetamol according to the instructions as this will help bring your temperature down and make you feel a bit better. Although a fever is usually caused by mild infections like a cold or the flu, it can be a sign of a more serious illness. Remember that if you have a bad headache, and/or a rash which does not lose its red colour when you press on it, and/or it hurts when you bend your neck - it could be meningitis and you should contact a doctor immediately. If you get regular high temperatures for more than a few days then you should see your doctor as this may be a sign of a prolonged infection or another illness.