Fever is not by itself an illness but usually a symptom of an underlying condition, most often an infection. It is also known as a high fever or a high temperature
It is usually associated with physical discomfort, and most people feel better when a fever is treated. Depending on your age, physical condition, and the underlying cause of your fever, you may or may not require medical treatment for the fever alone.
Many experts believe that fever is a natural bodily defense against infection. Non-infectious causes of fever can also be found
It is generally not considered dangerous, but hyperthermia can cause dangerous rises in body temperature. This can be due to an extreme temperature associated with heat injury such as heat stroke, side effects of certain medications or illicit drugs, and stroke. With hyperthermia, the body is no longer able to control body temperature.
- Lethargy, fussiness, poor appetite, sore throat, cough, ear pain, vomiting, and diarrhea are important to report to your doctor.
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if you have an infant younger than 4 months old with a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or above, you should immediately call your doctor or go to an emergency room, because it could be a sign of a potentially life-threatening infection. Also call your doctor or go to the emergency room if any child has a fever above 104 F as high fever can cause seizures in young children.
Call your doctor right away if your child has a fever and the ff:
- Looks very sick
- Is drowsy or very fussy
- Has a weakened immune system or other medical problems
- Has a seizure
- Has other symptoms such as rash, sore throat, headache, stiff neck, or earache
Call the doctor if the fever lasts more than 1 day in a child less than 2 years old or lasts more than 3 days in a child age 2 or older.
Physician may do/request:
- History & Physical Exam
- The doctor will ask about symptoms and conditions, medications, and if you’ve recently traveled to areas with infections or have other infection risks. A malaria infection, for example, may be have a fever that typically recurs.
- Sometimes, you may have a “fever of unknown origin.” In such cases, the cause could be an unusual or not obvious condition such as a chronic infection, a connective tissue disorder, cancer, or another problem.
Treatments may vary depending on the cause of the fever:
- The most common treatments include over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
- Antibiotics would be used for a bacterial infection such as strep throat.