How to know when a fever breaks?

If you notice your fever is gone, but you have a bad headache or feel tired, it might be time to call a doctor.

Keep in mind that fevers are common in children and adults. In children, fevers are often due to an infection, while in adults, they are often due to heat and dehydration.

What causes a fever?

Many things can cause a fever. The most common causes include:

  • An infection
  • A virus, such as the common cold, cold sores, or flu
  • A bacteria or virus
  • A fungal infection
  • A parasite
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Dehydration
  • Medication side effects
  • An allergic reaction
  • A reaction to a drug
  • A reaction to a food

How do you know when a fever is gone?

If you notice your fever is gone, but you still feel tired, it might be time to call a doctor.

If you are sick and can’t keep your temperature down, or if you have a fever and notice other symptoms, such as a cough, runny nose, or sore throat, call a doctor.

Treating a fever

You can treat a fever at home with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

Follow the package directions on the medication for how much to take. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label.

If you have a fever and have a cold, you can take ibuprofen for up to 8 days. You can take acetaminophen for up to 10 days.

To prevent fever, drink plenty of fluids or take an over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce your body’s response to an infection.

If you are sick and can’t keep your fever down, or if you have a fever and notice other symptoms, such as a cough, runny nose, or sore throat, call a doctor.

When to see a doctor?

Most people can recover from a mild fever at home. However, a fever that lasts longer than 3 days or a fever that is accompanied by any of the following symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor.

  • Persistent or worsening symptoms that are not relieved by home treatment
  • A high body temperature that is not related to infection
  • A high body temperature accompanied by any of the following symptoms

These symptoms may be signs of a more serious condition, such as a bacterial infection.

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Extreme weakness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Severe or persistent chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • A fever that is higher than 101°F (38°C)
  • Stomach pain or diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes

When should you call for an ambulance?

These symptoms may be signs of a more serious condition.

  • You cannot keep your temperature down
  • You cannot drink enough fluids
  • You are showing signs of dehydration
  • You have a high body temperature that is not related to infection
  • You have a high body temperature accompanied by any of the following symptoms

For more information about fever and ambulance calls, see the section on the symptoms to watch for in the ambulance.

What is the treatment for a fever?

Treating a fever depends on its cause.

If the fever is due to an infection, the appropriate treatment is usually a course of antibiotics.

If the fever is caused by a virus, such as the common cold, it should resolve within a week or so.

For a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

If you have an allergy, your doctor may suggest taking antihistamines to reduce the symptoms of an allergy.

If you have a medication side effect, your doctor may suggest not taking the medication.

If you have a fever with symptoms of dehydration, such as thirst, dry mouth, or headache, you should drink plenty of fluids.

How can I prevent the spread of a fever?

To help prevent the spread of a fever, always keep your fever down. You can do this at home by drinking plenty of fluids or taking an over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce your body’s reaction to an infection.

You can also wear a mask to help prevent the spread of a cold.

If you are sick and can’t keep a fever down, or if you have a fever and notice other symptoms, such as a cough, runny nose, or sore throat, call a doctor.

Who can treat a fever?

If your doctor thinks a fever is due to an infection, they will usually prescribe antibiotics.

If your doctor thinks a fever is caused by a virus, they may prescribe an antiviral medication.

If your doctor thinks a fever is caused by medication side effects, they may suggest not taking the medication.

What is the difference between a fever and a cold?

A fever is a very high body temperature. Most people would define a fever as a temperature between 100.4°F (38°C) and 103.9°F (39.3°C).

A fever is often accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • A headache
  • Itching
  • Muscle aches
  • A stiff neck
  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Body soreness

These symptoms will usually go away within a few days. However, a fever is usually considered to be a more serious condition than a cold.

A cold is a mild, but short-term, illness that usually lasts for several days. It is caused by viruses and bacteria.

A cold does not usually cause a high body temperature, but it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a bacterial infection.

Is there anything I should do if I think I have a fever?

If you think you have a fever, you should drink plenty of fluids to help bring down your temperature.

It is important to take an antihistamine to reduce the body’s response to an infection.

In most cases, a fever will resolve on its own. However, it is important to take an antihistamine to prevent symptoms such as a headache.

If you are dehydrated, you should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses (8 to 10 oz) of fluid a day.

You should also try to stay hydrated, even if you feel well.

Outlook

Fevers usually go away on their own. If you’re sick or you have a fever and other symptoms, call your doctor.

If you’re sick and can’t keep your fever down, it can lead to complications, such as dehydration or heat exhaustion.

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