What is a recurrent fever?

A fever is a part of your body’s natural defense system. Your immune system is the part of your body that works to fight off illnesses. When this system is triggered, your body’s temperature heats up. Typically, your average body temperature should be around 98.6° Fahrenheit (or 37° Celsius). A fever is a temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit or higher. If you take a child’s temperature orally or axillary (armpit), you might get a reading that’s up to one degree off. To get the most accurate temperature reading, take the child’s temperature rectally.

A recurring fever is a fever that happens multiple times over a period of time. These fevers can sometimes be described as episodic, meaning that they come and go. A recurrent fever is one that comes back in a pattern. For example, your young child or toddler could have a fever every month.

This type of fever is typically seen in young children, usually under age 5 (infants and toddlers in particular). The increased temperature lasts for a few days and then goes away for a stretch of time. The child is healthy and acts normally in between fevers.

Recurrent fever is one of the main symptoms of a collection of conditions called periodic fever syndromes. These are diseases that cause a person — typically a child — to have a fever in a spaced out pattern over time, without having a virus or bacterial infection.

What’s the difference between a recurrent fever and a classic fever?

The main difference between a classic fever and a recurrent fever is how often it happens. If you have a recurrent fever, it lasts for a few days, gets better, goes away and then comes back after a period of time when you felt healthy. Recurrent fevers keep happening and coming back over time. A classic fever is also usually linked to an infection or virus. With a recurrent fever, you may have a higher body temperature without any virus or bacterial infection.

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