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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Fever

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Symptoms of a Fever

Fever isn’t a condition by itself, but rather a symptom of a variety of different illnesses.

A fever is defined as a body temperature above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, because the body’s temperature can vary when it’s checked orally, rectally, or in the armpit, the medical definition of a fever is a sustained temperature above 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note that babies experience extra symptoms with they have a fever, including:

  • Fussiness or crankiness
  • Lack of sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures (in cases of serious illness)

Causes of a Fever

Common causes of a fever include:

ZOOM+Care sees all types of underlying causes of fever each year, but typical causes include colds, flu, strep throat, and sinus infections.

The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating your body temperature. When your body battles an infection, the hypothalamus takes action and raises your temperature to help the overall fight.

Because so many types of illnesses and infections affect the body and force the hypothalamus to raise your temperature, it can be hard to self-diagnose the underlying cause of a fever.

Should I Be Worried?

Most of us have had a fever at some point in our lives, and in many cases fevers don’t need treatment.

However, adults should see a doctor immediately if any of the following symptoms appear with a fever:

  • Headache and sore throat for more than 48 hours
  • Painful and/or burning urination
  • Severe neck stiffness, headache, and vomiting
  • Vomiting or diarrhea lasting more than 12 hours

Children also get fevers from time to time, which shouldn’t raise any alarms. Instead, be aware of the following severe fever symptoms and seek immediate medical attention for your child in these specific cases:

  • All children: fever above 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Children 12 weeks or younger: fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Children under 2-years-old: any fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Children 2-years-old and above: any fever lasting more than 72 hours
  • Fever accompanied by a rash, weak breathing, dehydration, or seizure

Schedule a fever visit online or from our iOS app today.

Find a neighborhood ZOOM+Care clinic near you in Portland, Seattle, Salem, or Vancouver.

Additional DIY Articles

Sore Throat; STI; Sinus Infection; UTI; Cough; Ear Infection; Cold; Bladder Infection; Flu; Rash; Stomach Pain; Earwax Buildup; Yeast Infection; Foot Pain; Eye Infection; Strep Throat; Back Pain; Asthma; Neck Pain; Allergies; Insect Bites and Stings; Headache; Diarrhea; Anxiety

Fever Prevention Tips

Because fevers are a symptom of an infection and not an illness themselves, your best bet to prevent a fever is through common preventative methods of avoiding illness like washing your hands.

However, here are some tips to soothe an ongoing fever before you or your child need to see a doctor:

  • Non-prescription meds. Ask a pharmacist about non-prescription meds to treat fever, but common options are drugs with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen. But keep the kids away from aspirin.
  • Hydrate. If your child is older than two, and hasn’t had a fever for more than 72 hours (which is when you should see a doctor), you can try keeping them hydrated. It might not break the fever, but it’ll make them more comfortable.