A fever is a condition that refers to your body temperature being higher than normal (98.6 F), also known as Pyrexia. A fever is your body’s main defense against infection, as most bacteria and viruses find it difficult to survive at temperatures higher than your body’s normal temperature. Fevers also serve to activate your body’s immune system. Most fevers are caused by infections; however, other causes include heat exhaustion, cancers, autoimmune disorders, and certain medicines.
- If your body temperature is 100.5 or above, then you have a fever.
- If you have a sore throat, dry cough, muscle aches or headaches, or general fatigue, then you may also have a fever.
- Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting and weight loss may accompany a fever.
- If you are having chills or night sweats, you likely have a fever.
It is important to remember that a fever is usually a symptom of an infection, and to monitor your symptoms very carefully.
Who is at risk?
- If you are suffering from any kind of infection, fever is usually the most common symptom
- If you are taking certain medications, your risk of fever may be higher
- People suffering from heat exhaustion
- People with cancer
- People with autoimmune diseases
Treatment of Condition
Treatment of your fever will depend on the cause of your fever. Usually, over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen will lower a very high fever. Adults can also take aspirin, although aspirin should not be given to children with fevers. You should also be sure to drink enough liquids to prevent dehydration.
Fever in children requires different treatment than in adults; contact your child’s physician for more information.
When should I see a doctor?
- If you have a severe stiff neck (sign of meningitis)
- If your fever lasts for over a week, seek medical attention
- If you have lost weight unintentionally
- If your fever comes and goes and/or stays considerably high
- If you have recently started taking a new medicine
- If you have been exposed to high temperatures and are not sweating (this is a sign of heatstroke)
- If you’ve been exposed to someone with Strep, pneumonia or the Flu.
- If you’ve recently travelled outside of the country.
If you have any symptoms of infection that have lasted more than a few days, see your doctor right away.
If your child has anything more than a low-grade fever that can be treated with cold medicine, seek medical attention immediately, as the fever may be a symptom of a serious infection.
Treatment for fevers is available now at Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Mountain Lakes, NJ.
For more information on fever, see the following websites:
Chart to Determine Your Type of Fever – from FamilyDoctor.org
Medline Plus (NIH) Fever Page
Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of MtLakesMedical.com. The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.