Having a fever can leave you feeling miserable, hot and sweaty and worried. How high is too high? When is it time to call the doctor? What do.

Fever 101: What to do and when to worry

Fever 101: What to do and when to worry

Fevers, though uncomfortable, are a natural defense mechanism our bodies use to fight off infections and illness. However, understanding what constitutes a fever, how to manage it, and when to seek medical attention is crucial for your well-being.

What is considered a fever?

A fever is an abnormally elevated body temperature. For adults, a temperature exceeding 100.4°F (38°C) is typically considered a fever. In children, the definition varies slightly based on age:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): Any temperature exceeding 100.4°F (38°C) requires immediate medical attention.
  • Infants (4-11 months): A temperature exceeding 100.4°F (38°C) warrants a call to the pediatrician.
  • Children (1 year and older): A temperature exceeding 102°F (38.9°C) is considered a fever.

Also see : 8 Things to Do When You Have the Flu — and 8 Things to Avoid

What to do when you have a fever?

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids like water, clear broths, and electrolyte-rich drinks. This helps replace fluids lost through sweating and prevents dehydration.
  • Get plenty of rest: Your body needs rest to fight off the underlying illness.
  • Dress lightly: Wear lightweight clothing and keep the room temperature cool to avoid overheating.
  • Take over-the-counter medications: Medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help reduce fever and relieve aches and pains. Always follow dosage instructions and consult your doctor if you have any underlying medical conditions.
  • Monitor your temperature: Regularly check your temperature to track its progress.

When to seek medical attention?

While most fevers resolve on their own, there are certain instances where it's crucial to seek medical attention:

  • High fever: For adults, a fever exceeding 104°F (40°C) warrants a trip to the doctor.
  • Fever lasting more than 3 days: If your fever persists for more than 3 days without improvement, it's best to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
  • Fever with other concerning symptoms: Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms along with a fever:
    • Stiff neck and headache: These could be signs of meningitis.
    • Severe pain: Unrelenting pain in the abdomen, chest, or ears could indicate a more serious illness.
    • Confusion or difficulty breathing: These symptoms should always be treated as emergencies.
    • Seizures: Seizures are a serious complication of fever and require immediate medical attention.
  • Infants and young children: Always consult a doctor if your infant or young child has a fever, as they are more susceptible to complications.

Also see: Flu Symptoms vs COVID-19 Symptoms

Additional tips:

  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Avoid contact with others: If you have a fever, it's best to avoid close contact with others to prevent them from getting sick.
  • Monitor for other symptoms: Keep an eye out for any other symptoms you may experience alongside the fever, as they may provide clues about the underlying cause.

While fevers are typically harmless, it's important to understand when they require medical attention. By following these tips and being aware of the warning signs, you can effectively manage your fever and seek help when necessary.

Remember this blog provides general information and should not replace professional medical advice. Not every fever is cause for concern, but when they are, you will need quality medical care to meet your emergency needs. If you are in need of emergency medical attention, please visit or call the Nearest Emergency Room for a immediate medical help.

We have ER locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area that are open and here to help you 24/7 If you or your family have a medical emergency.

We have 9 facilities spread across the DFW area with average wait times of less than 10 mins that are OPEN 24/7 located in Hurst, Colleyville, Frisco, Highland Village, Hillcrest, Uptown, Little Elm, Mansfield, and Texoma.