What is fever?

Fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature and is a sign your body is likely fighting an infection or inflammation. Normal body temperatures vary from person-to-person, although they often range between 97° and 99° Fahrenheit (F). A low-grade fever below 101°F may not indicate a serious health issue.  People with a temperature above 101°F for more than 24 hours should be seen by a physician. Fever discomfort can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin).

Fever can be caused by many things and may be symptomatic of an illness. Possible causes include:

  • Infections - viral or bacterial
  • Inflammation – illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Drug or allergic reaction
  • Heat exposure

What are the symptoms of fever?

Fever can affect children and adults. Check your own child’s temperature with a thermometer. Fever symptoms include:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Shivering
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness

How is fever prevented?

The best way to prevent fever is to avoid infections, which often increase body temperature. You can reduce fever risk by taking these steps:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after eating, using the toilet, or having contact with other people.
  • Carry hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes with you when you do not have access to soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes to reduce the risk of viruses and bacteria entering the body.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing.
  • Do not share glasses, cups, plates and eating utensils with other people.

How is a fever treated?

Visit your physician to help determine the cause of your fever.  It is generally safe for adults to monitor body temperatures under 101°F for several days without seeking medical attention but see a physician if your fever persists or is worsening.  Temperatures above 101°F can often be controlled with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin). For children, the proper dose is based on weight and not age. Follow dosing instructions on the packaging.

Contact a physician for treatment if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever remains above 101°F for more than 72 hours with no known cause, or does not improve with medication
  • Stiff neck
  • Rash
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures

Patient First treats many conditions at our urgent care centers including fevers. You can visit any Patient First center from 8am to 8pm, any day of the week – no appointment is needed