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  1. How to Break a Fever
  2. When Is a Fever Too High?
  3. Symptoms of Fever in Adults, Children, and Babies, and When to Seek Help
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The reverse of both scenarios can also occur. Your overall comfort level and symptoms can help you decide how to treat a fever. If a rash accompanies your fever, you should consult with your doctor. Other symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting, may resolve more quickly with medical attention. Most people have a baseline temperature of Daily temperature fluctuations are also normal. Different types of thermometers can yield different results. Many pediatricians recommend using rectal thermometers for infants and babies. Discuss with your doctor which type of thermometer to use.

How and when you should treat a fever is generally determined by your age. If left untreated, fever can lead to serious complications in young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems. Infants up to 3 months old should be seen by a doctor if they have a fever of They should still see a doctor even if there are no other symptoms present. If your child is very uncomfortable, or if their fever persists for more than three days, you should consult with your doctor.

Fevers above that number may be reduced by medication. Adults with a fever and other symptoms, such as a stiff neck, severe pain anywhere in the body, or shortness of breath, should seek immediate medical attention. A compromised immune system is common in people that have HIV , cancer , or autoimmune diseases.

Fever is often a sign of infection. Sometimes, these infections are fast moving or hard to treat. So if you have a compromised immune system, getting immediate medical support for fever important. Running a fever is usually nothing to worry about. They can work with you to determine the best course of action. Uh-oh, feeling warm? Read about these alternative remedies for a low-grade fever before you run to your medicine cabinet. People often associate night sweats with cancer, but a number of other things can cause them.

Learn more about the causes and treatments. Need to get rid of a fever fast? Read about side effects, warnings, and other factors to help you decide which fever reducer is best for you or your…. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care. Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

How to Break a Fever

Call or other emergency services now. Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care. It's easy to become dehydrated when you have a fever. In the early stages, you may be able to correct mild to moderate dehydration with home treatment measures.

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It is important to control fluid losses and replace lost fluids. If you become mildly to moderately dehydrated:. Rest and take it easy for 24 hours, and continue to drink a lot of fluids. Although you will probably start feeling better within just a few hours, it may take as long as a day and a half to completely replace the fluid that you lost. Do not try to take a shower if you are dizzy or unsteady on your feet. Increase the water temperature if you start to shiver.

Shivering is a sign that your body is trying to raise its temperature. Do not use rubbing alcohol, ice, or cold water to cool your body. Dress lightly when you have a fever. This will help your body cool down. Wear light pyjamas or a light undershirt.

When Is a Fever Too High?

Do not wear very warm clothing or use heavy bed covers. If you are not able to measure your temperature, you need to look for other symptoms of illness every hour while you have a fever and follow home treatment measures. Try a non-prescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:. Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine. Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a non-prescription medicine:. Be sure to check your temperature every 2 to 4 hours to make sure home treatment is working. Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:.

The best way to prevent fevers is to reduce your exposure to infectious diseases. Handwashing is the single most important prevention measure for people of all ages. Immunizations can reduce the risk for fever-related illnesses, such as the flu. For more information, see the topic Immunizations. You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.

Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Learn How this information was developed. To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise. All rights reserved. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Symptoms of Fever in Adults, Children, and Babies, and When to Seek Help

Topic Overview Fever is the body's normal and healthy reaction to infection and other illnesses, both minor and serious. Fever temperatures A fever is a high body temperature. Causes of fever Viral infections , such as colds and influenza flu , and bacterial infections , such as a urinary tract infection or pneumonia , often cause a fever. Treating a fever In most cases, the illness that caused the fever will clear up in a few days.

Low body temperature If a low body temperature is your only symptom, it is not something to worry about. Check Your Symptoms Do you think you may have a fever or chills? How old are you? Are you male or female? Are you pregnant? Yes, you know that you're pregnant. No, you're not pregnant, or you're not sure if you're pregnant.

Have you had surgery in the past 2 weeks? Do you have symptoms of shock? The symptoms in an adult or older child are different than the symptoms in a young child. Do you think you may be dehydrated? Are the symptoms severe, moderate, or mild? Are you having trouble drinking enough to replace the fluids you've lost? Little sips of fluid usually are not enough. You need to be able to take in and keep down plenty of fluids.

Are you having trouble breathing more than a stuffy nose? Would you describe the breathing problem as severe, moderate, or mild? The symptoms in an adult or older child are different than the symptoms in a young child or baby. Is your ability to breathe:. Getting worse? Staying about the same not better or worse? Getting better? Are you suddenly drooling and not able to swallow?

Do you have symptoms of a serious illness? Is there any pain? How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine? Signs of pain in an adult or child are different than signs of pain in a baby or toddler. Do you have a health problem or take medicine that weakens your immune system?

How to Treat High Fever in Children

Do you have shaking chills or very heavy sweating? Shaking chills are a severe, intense form of shivering. Heavy sweating means that sweat is pouring off you or soaking through your clothes. Besides fever, do you have other symptoms of a more serious infection? Have tiny red or purple spots or bruises appeared suddenly? Do you have a rash that looks like a sunburn? Did you take your temperature? How high is the fever? The answer may depend on how you took the temperature. Mild: How high do you think the fever is?

Mild or low. How long have you had a fever? Less than 2 days 48 hours. At least 2 days but less than 1 week. Think about whether the fever started soon after you began using a new medicine or a higher dose of a medicine. These include: Your age. Babies and older adults tend to get sicker quicker. Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care sooner. Medicines you take. Certain medicines and natural health products can cause symptoms or make them worse.

Recent health events , such as surgery or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them more serious. Your health habits and lifestyle , such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug use, sexual history, and travel. Try Home Treatment You have answered all the questions. Try home treatment to relieve the symptoms. Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any concerns for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect. You may need care sooner. For example: You may feel tired and edgy mild dehydration , or you may feel weak, not alert, and not able to think clearly severe dehydration.

You may pass less urine than usual mild dehydration , or you may not be passing urine at all severe dehydration. Severe dehydration means: Your mouth and eyes may be extremely dry. You may pass little or no urine for 12 or more hours. You may not feel alert or be able to think clearly. You may be too weak or dizzy to stand. You may pass out. Moderate dehydration means: You may be a lot more thirsty than usual.

Your mouth and eyes may be drier than usual. You may pass little or no urine for 8 or more hours. You may feel dizzy when you stand or sit up. Mild dehydration means: You may be more thirsty than usual. You may pass less urine than usual. For example: You may feel a little out of breath but still be able to talk mild difficulty breathing , or you may be so out of breath that you cannot talk at all severe difficulty breathing.

It may be getting hard to breathe with activity mild difficulty breathing , or you may have to work very hard to breathe even when you're at rest severe difficulty breathing. Severe trouble breathing means: You cannot talk at all. You have to work very hard to breathe. You feel like you can't get enough air. You do not feel alert or cannot think clearly. Moderate trouble breathing means: It's hard to talk in full sentences.

It's hard to breathe with activity. Mild trouble breathing means: You feel a little out of breath but can still talk. It's becoming hard to breathe with activity. Severe trouble breathing means: The child cannot eat or talk because he or she is breathing so hard. The child's nostrils are flaring and the belly is moving in and out with every breath.

The child seems to be tiring out. The child seems very sleepy or confused. Moderate trouble breathing means: The child is breathing a lot faster than usual. The child has to take breaks from eating or talking to breathe. The nostrils flare or the belly moves in and out at times when the child breathes. Mild trouble breathing means: The child is breathing a little faster than usual.

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The child seems a little out of breath but can still eat or talk. A few examples are: Antibiotics. Barbiturates, such as phenobarbital. ASA, if you take too much. If you're not sure if a fever is high, moderate, or mild, think about these issues: With a high fever : You feel very hot. It is likely one of the highest fevers you've ever had. High fevers are not that common, especially in adults. With a moderate fever : You feel warm or hot. You know you have a fever. With a mild fever : You may feel a little warm. You think you might have a fever, but you're not sure.

Long-term alcohol and drug problems. Steroid medicines, which may be used to treat a variety of conditions. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer. Other medicines used to treat autoimmune disease. Medicines taken after organ transplant. Not having a spleen. Petechiae say "puh-TEE-kee-eye" : Are tiny, flat red or purple spots in the skin or the lining of the mouth.

Do not turn white when you press on them. Range from the size of a pinpoint to the size of a small pea and do not itch or cause pain. May spread over a large area of the body within a few hours. Are different than tiny, flat red spots or birthmarks that are present all the time. May be in one area or all over.

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Is different than the bruising that happens after you bump into something. Symptoms of serious illness may include: A severe headache. A stiff neck. Mental changes, such as feeling confused or much less alert.

Extreme fatigue to the point where it's hard for you to function. Shaking chills. Pain in adults and older children Severe pain 8 to 10 : The pain is so bad that you can't stand it for more than a few hours, can't sleep, and can't do anything else except focus on the pain.

Moderate pain 5 to 7 : The pain is bad enough to disrupt your normal activities and your sleep, but you can tolerate it for hours or days. Moderate can also mean pain that comes and goes even if it's severe when it's there.