What is a Fever?

A fever is defined as an increase in body temperature due to an illness. Fever occurs when the area of the brain called the hypothalamus shifts your normal body temperature upward. There are many causes of fever, which can include a virus, bacterial infection, inflammatory conditions, heat exhaustion, and some medications or immunizations. While having a fever may be uncomfortable, but it usually not a concern in adults unless it reaches 103°F or higher.

While fevers usually go away on their own in adults within a few days, over-the-counter medications may be able to lower a fever.

Common symptoms of a fever may include:

  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue

Children and Fever

For infants and toddlers, even a slight fever may indicate an infection in the body. To check a child’s temperature, oral, rectal, ear, and forehead thermometers can be used. It is important to call your baby’s doctor if:

  • Your baby is younger than three months old and has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher.
  • Your baby is between 3-6 months old and has a rectal temperature of up to 102°F.
  • Your baby is between 6-24 months old and has a rectal temperature higher than 102°F.

Children with fever who are irritable, vomiting, have a severe headache, or other symptoms should visit a doctor as well.

Prevention and Treatment of Fever

Reducing your exposure to infectious diseases may help to prevent fevers. Washing your hands often, showing your children how to properly wash their hands, carrying hand sanitizer with you, avoiding touching your face, and covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze are all ways to help prevent fever.

Treatment depends on the cause of your fever. Antibiotics may be prescribed if a bacterial infection is present. However, antibiotics cannot be used to treat viral infections. If a viral infection is the cause of your fever, rest and drinking plenty of fluids can help.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a fever, our staff at Springfield Urgent Care can work with you to diagnose and treat your symptoms.

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