A fever is a body temperature greater than 100.4°F (38.0°C) when taken by mouth. It is a symptom, but not a disease. A fever is usually a sign that your body is fighting infection, most often a viral infection. Most healthy adults tolerate fever without any long-term problems. Having a reliable thermometer is an important part of a first aid kit.

Treatment

Home care   Home Care

  • If the fever is new and mild, and no other worrisome symptoms are present, consider a trial of an anti-fever medicine (antipyretic) such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®, paracetamol) per package instructions.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Take a sponge bath with room temperature water.

Professional careProfessional Care

Seek medical attention if:

  • You have high fever of 103°F to 105°F (39.4°C to 40.6°C) for more than six hours, that does not respond, even temporarily, to home treatment measures.
  • You experience a fever with any of the following:
    • A very stiff neck and headache and/or light sensitivity
    • An unexplained rash
    • Confusion or change in behavior
    • Pain behind the cheekbones or above the eyes
    • Shortness of breath and cough
    • Abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting
    • Pain or burning with urination
  • You experience a low-grade fever of 100.4°F to 102°F (38°C to 38.9°C) that lasts more than one week.