COVID-19 fever temperature should be adjusted according to age, researchers are suggesting.
The team found that basal body temperature was lower in older people and those with a lower body mass index (BMI).
For example, older people who have caught the virus are less likely to have a fever hitting 37.8ºC. In addition, chances drop by 1% with each year of age.
Carried out by King’s College London, the findings suggest that COVID cases among elderly patients could be missed as fever temperatures are usually lower.
Indicator of fever temperature
Fever is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. It affects more than two thirds of those who get the disease.
Researchers found that using a threshold of 37.4ºC for the over 65s is an appropriate indicator of fever, similar to 37.8ºC in adults under 65.
The findings back a call for the revision of the National Early Warning Score guidelines. This would involve reducing the temperature at which COVID-19 is suspected for adults over 65.
Stopping the spread
Dr Claire Steves was the lead researcher from The School of Life Course Sciences.
‘Fever is one of the key symptoms of COVID-19. But our results show that cases in older people may be missed. The current temperature threshold is too high for older people,’ she said.
‘Recognising 37.4 as the fever threshold for people over 65 could make a big difference to diagnosing the disease in a timely way. As well as stopping its spread, and getting the right treatment.’
It recently emerged that temperature scanners, however, have ‘limited value’ in detecting COVID-19.
Experts in physiology say that people having their body temperature taken by standing in front of scanners can lead to false negatives.
Instead, they suggest taking temperature readings of a person’s eye and fingertip would be more reliable.
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