Fever - Diagnosis and treatment (2023)


To evaluate a fever, your care provider may:

  • Ask questions about your symptoms and medical history
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Take nasal or throat samples to test for respiratory infections
  • Order tests, such as blood tests or a chest X-ray, as needed, based on your medical history and physical exam

Because a fever can indicate a serious illness in a young infant, especially two months of age or younger, your baby might be admitted to the hospital for testing and treatment.

Fever of unknown origin

When a fever lasts for more than three weeks — constantly or on several occasions — and there is no clear cause, it's usually called a fever of unknown origin. In these cases, you may need to see specialists in one or more medical fields for further evaluations and tests.

More Information

(Video) Fever in Adults: The Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment | Merck Manual Consumer Version


For a low-grade fever, your care provider may not recommend taking medications to lower your body temperature. These minor fevers may be helpful in reducing the number of microbes causing your illness. Fevers above 102 F (38.9 C) tend to cause discomfort and often require treatment.

Over-the-counter medications

In the case of a high fever or a fever that causes discomfort, your care provider may recommend nonprescription medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others).

Use these medications according to the label instructions or as recommended by your health care provider. Be careful not to take too much. High doses or long-term use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen may cause liver or kidney damage, and acute overdoses can be fatal. Don't give aspirin to children, because it may trigger a rare, but potentially fatal, disorder known as Reye's syndrome.

These medications will usually lower your temperature, but you may still have a mild fever. It may take 1 to 2 hours for the medication to work. Call your care provider if your fever doesn't improve, even after taking medication.

Prescription medications

Your health care provider may prescribe other medications based on the cause of your illness. Treating the underlying cause may lessen signs and symptoms, including fever.

(Video) Fever ( Part - 2 ) - Diagnosis and Treatment.

Treatment of infants

Infants, especially those younger than two months old, might need to be admitted to the hospital for testing and treatment. In babies this young, a fever could indicate a serious infection that requires intravenous (IV) medications and round-the-clock monitoring.

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(Video) Valley Fever, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Lifestyle and home remedies

You can try a number of things to make yourself or your child more comfortable during a fever:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking fluids will improve heat loss from the skin and replace water lost through sweating. Water and clear broth are healthy choices. Infants under 6 months should only have breast milk or formula.
  • Rest. You need rest to recover, and activity can raise your body temperature.
  • Stay cool. If you aren't shivering, dress in light clothing, keep the room temperature cool, and sleep with only a sheet or light blanket.

Preparing for your appointment

Your appointment may be with your family doctor, pediatrician or other care provider. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your care provider.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
  • Write down information about the fever, such as when it started, how and where you measured it (orally or rectally, for example) and any other symptoms. Note whether you or your child has been around anyone who's been ill.
  • Write down key personal information, including possible exposure to anyone who's been ill or recent travel out of the country.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you or your child is taking.
  • Write down questions to ask the care provider.

For a fever, some basic questions to ask your provider include:

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  • What's likely causing the fever?
  • What kinds of tests are needed?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend?
  • Is medicine necessary to lower the fever?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor

Be prepared to answer questions, such as:

  • When did the symptoms first occur?
  • What method did you use to take your or your child's temperature?
  • What was the temperature of the environment surrounding you or your child?
  • Have you or your child taken any fever-lowering medication?
  • What other symptoms are you or your child experiencing? How severe are they?
  • Do you or your child have any chronic health conditions?
  • What medications do you or your child regularly take?
  • Have you or your child been around anyone who's ill?
  • Have you or your child recently had surgery?
  • Have you or your child recently traveled outside the country?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen the symptoms?


How do you write a fever diagnosis? ›

Write down information about the fever, such as when it started, how and where you measured it (orally or rectally, for example) and any other symptoms.

What does it mean to be diagnosed with fever? ›

A fever is a temporary rise in body temperature. It's one part of an overall response from the body's immune system. A fever is usually caused by an infection. For most children and adults, a fever may be uncomfortable. But it usually isn't a cause for concern.

What does treatment of a fever include? ›

Suggestions to treat fever include:
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen in appropriate doses to help bring your temperature down.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water.
  • Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee as these drinks can cause slight dehydration.
  • Sponge exposed skin with tepid water. ...
  • Avoid taking cold baths or showers.

What is the first line for fever? ›

First line of fever treatment: Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is over-the-counter medication, with multiple well-known brands selling it, including Tylenol. Acetaminophen is universally considered to be a safe first line treatment for fever, and it should be given regularly every 4 hours.

What is the nursing diagnosis for fever? ›

Pyrexia: An elevated body temperature due to an increase in the body temperature's set point. This is usually caused by infection or inflammation. Pyrexia is also known as fever or febrile response.

What are the 4 types of fevers? ›

Types Of Fever
  • A low-grade fever happens when the body temperature rises to 100.4F (38C)
  • Moderate fever if the temperature rises above 102.2-104F or 39.1-40C.
  • High-grade fever indicates if the body temperature is 104F (39.4C) or above.
  • Hyperpyrexia, if the temperature is above 106F or 41.1C.
Aug 31, 2020

What is the medical term for a fever? ›

Fever, also referred to as pyrexia, is defined as having a temperature above the normal range due to an increase in the body's temperature set point.

When should fever be treated? ›

No treatment is necessary for a mild fever unless the person is uncomfortable. If the fever is 102 or higher: Give an over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as directed on the label.

When should you seek treatment for a fever? ›

Numbers that are cause for concern:
  1. 105°F – Go to the emergency room.
  2. 103°F or higher – Contact your health care provider.
  3. 101°F or higher – If you're immunocompromised or over 65 years of age, and are concerned that you've been exposed to COVID-19, contact your health care provider.
Sep 17, 2020

Is it better to treat a fever or not? ›

Fever is a sign that the body is combating an infection. It helps kill bacteria and viruses. It also boosts production of infection-fighting white blood cells. There's generally no need to worry about bringing a fever down unless it's causing your child discomfort.

What are the three phases of a fever in order? ›

This happens in 3 phases.
  • Your body reacts and heats up. Your blood and lymphatic system. ...
  • The fever levels off. In the second phase of a fever, the amount of heat you make and lose is the same. ...
  • Cooling down. In the third phase, your body starts to try and cool down so that your temperature can return to normal.
May 19, 2023

Why is fever a line of defense? ›

The heat of fever augments the performance of immune cells, induces stress on pathogens and infected cells directly, and combines with other stressors to provide a nonspecific immune defense.

Is a fever a line of defense? ›

Fever, although part of the second line of defense in immune response, is still a topic of discussion on whether an increase in body temperature during an infection is more beneficial than harmful.

What is a good sentence for diagnosis? ›

She is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. The diagnosis was a mild concussion. His doctor made an initial diagnosis of pneumonia. The committee published its diagnosis of the problems affecting urban schools.

What are the 4 steps to diagnosis? ›

Making a diagnosis involves multiple steps including taking a medical history, performing a physical exam, obtaining diagnostic tests, and then examining the data to come to the best explanation for the illness.

What are the 4 types of diagnosis? ›

NANDA-I recognizes four categories of nursing diagnoses: problem focused diagnosis, risk diagnosis, health promotion diagnosis, and syndrome. Problem focused diagnoses, also known as actual diagnoses, are patient issues or problems that are present and observable during the assessment phase.

What do you write in a nursing diagnosis? ›

A nursing diagnosis has typically three components: (1) the problem and its definition, (2) the etiology, and (3) the defining characteristics or risk factors (for risk diagnosis).

What is subjective data for a fever patient? ›

The patient's report of pain, pressure, and nausea are subjective data because only the patient can feel the sensation of pain or pressure and nauseous sensation. The report of fever off and on is subjective because the nurse did not measure the temperature on the previous days.

What are 3 nursing interventions for clients with fever? ›

Monitor body temperature and trend; manage variability. Provide optimal hydration; consider increased need due to insensible loss. Administer antipyretic medication to reduce temperature and discomfort. Encourage sleep/rest to minimize oxygen and metabolic demand.

What is nursing diagnosis explanation? ›

The nursing diagnosis is the nurse's clinical judgment about the client's response to actual or potential health conditions or needs.

Do nurses explain diagnosis? ›

Some nurse practitioners also prescribe medications and act as primary care providers, which entails performing diagnoses of patients' conditions. They've obtained significant training and specialization to understand their patient's conditions. As a result, diagnosing patients fall within their scope of practice.

What are the five stages of fever? ›

There are five patterns: intermittent, remittent, continuous or sustained, hectic, and relapsing. With intermittent fever, the temperature is elevated but falls to normal (37.2°C or below) each day, while in a remittent fever the temperature falls each day but not to normal.

What are the 3 clinical manifestation of fever? ›

In addition to an elevated temperature, look for other signs, such as: flushed face, hot skin, low urine output, loss of appetite, headache, or other symptoms of an infection or illness.

What are common causes of fever? ›

Common conditions that can cause fevers include:
  • upper respiratory tract infections (RTIs)
  • flu.
  • ear infections.
  • roseola – a virus that causes a temperature and a rash.
  • tonsillitis.
  • kidney or urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • common childhood illnesses, such as chickenpox and whooping cough.
Mar 30, 2023

How will you manage and treat a patient suffering from fever? ›

Rest and drink plenty of fluids. Medication isn't needed. Call the doctor if the fever is accompanied by a severe headache, stiff neck, shortness of breath, or other unusual signs or symptoms. If you're uncomfortable, take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or aspirin.

How long does a fever last? ›

Most fevers will improve on their own in a few days. However, there are a number of things you can do to help the uncomfortable feelings associated with a fever.

What not to do when you have a fever? ›

What NOT to do
  1. Bundle up or cover up with a blanket. ...
  2. Starve as it will leave a person with no energy to fight off the infections and make the person feel weak.
  3. Always pop an antibiotic as it might not work every time. ...
  4. Self-medicate because you may not need medicines to bring down a fever.
Jul 15, 2018

How do doctors treat high fever? ›

People with high fevers usually feel much better after taking medicine to reduce the fever. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), are options. Your doctor will treat any underlying infection if necessary.

How do you bring a fever down? ›

Home Treatment
  1. Dress your child in light clothing. Over dressing them can trap the body's heat and make the temperature go higher. ...
  2. Give extra fluids. ...
  3. Your child may not want to eat much. ...
  4. Give sponge baths or let your child soak in a tub. ...
  5. Over-the-counter medicines can help lower a fever.

When should adults go to ER for fever? ›

However, any fever above 103°F should be treated immediately in the ER. In addition, if you or your child are experiencing any of the following symptoms in conjunction with a fever, a trip to the ER is warranted: Confusion. Severe pain (abdominal pain, headache, muscle pain, etc.)

When should you go to hospital with fever WebMD? ›

Fevers themselves generally aren't dangerous, but you should check in with your doctor if: An adult's temperature is 103 or higher. A very young infant (under 3 months) has a rectal temperature 100.4 or higher (call your doctor or go to an emergency room immediately)

Why do fevers spike at night? ›

Cortisol is higher during the day, and these higher levels suppress your immune activity to a large degree. When cortisol levels go down at night, your immune system is more active in fighting illness or infection. This is why fevers spike at night.

Is it OK to leave a fever untreated? ›

Fevers only need to be treated if they cause discomfort (makes your child feel bad). Most fevers don't cause discomfort until they go above 102° or 103° F (39° or 39.5° C). MYTH. Without treatment, fevers will keep going higher.

Does a fever mean you're getting better or worse? ›

A fever is your immune system's way of changing the battleground to help itself fight. When your body recognizes an invader (like bacteria or a virus), your immune system raises your body temperature as a defense. Your immune system works much better in hotter temperatures, while invaders do worse.

How do you treat a fever in adults? ›

Treating fever in an adult
  1. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  2. Dress in lightweight clothing.
  3. Use a light blanket if you feel chilled, until the chills end.
  4. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others). Follow the directions on the label.

How high is a 102 fever? ›

Low-grade fever

The medical community generally defines a fever as a body temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. A body temp between 100.4 and 102.2 degree is usually considered a low-grade fever.

How long can I have a fever of 102? ›

Most fevers go away on their own within a few hours to days as your body beats the infection. If your fever lasts longer than 3 days, it's important to see a doctor. A recurrent fever, however slight, may be a sign of a more serious condition.

What happens when you have a fever for too long? ›

In most cases, fevers can break on their own or with home remedies. However, high fevers that linger or worsen can cause significant health complications if left untreated, including febrile seizures, brain damage, and even death.

Why don't some people get fevers? ›

What gives? The immune system doesn't function as efficiently in older adults as it does in younger people. The body's fever response to infection is not always automatic in elderly people. More than 20 percent of adults over age 65 who have serious bacterial infections do not have fevers.

Why do you feel cold when you have a fever? ›

Once the higher temperature is set, your body begins working to increase its temperature. You will feel cold because you are now at a lower temperature than your brain thinks you should be so your body will begin to shiver to generate heat and raise your temperature. This is the chills.

Can low immunity causes fever? ›

Mild Fever

If you're running a higher temperature than normal, it could be that your immune system is starting to overwork. That can happen due to an oncoming infection or because you're starting to have a flare of an autoimmune condition.

Does fever mean immune response? ›

You get a fever because your body is trying to kill the virus or bacteria that caused the infection. Most of those bacteria and viruses do well when your body is at your normal temperature. But if you have a fever, it is harder for them to survive. Fever also activates your body's immune system.

What immunity is fever? ›

A fever can help your immune system fight infections in two ways. A higher temperature in the body speeds up how cells work, including the ones that fight illness. They can respond to invading germs faster. Also, higher body temperatures make it harder for bacteria and viruses to thrive in your body.

Is fever a natural immune response? ›

Fever (also known as pyrexia) is a physiological process of the innate immune response against many infections and diseases, characterized by an elevation of temperature above the normal range of 36.5–37.5 °C (98–100 °F) due to an increase in the body temperature regulatory set-point.

How do you say I have a fever professionally? ›

"I am writing to let you know that I developed a fever last night. I hoped it would go away by this morning, but it looks like I am still above normal temperatures. I expect to be back in the office tomorrow, as long as my temperature goes back to normal."

How do you describe a fever temperature? ›

Currently, according to Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine [7], fever is defined as a core temperature (rectal) of 37.5°C–38.3°C (99.5°F–100.9°F), a skin temperature (axillary) >37.2°C (>99°F), a morning oral temperature >37.2°C (>99°F), or late afternoon oral temperature >37.7°C (>99.9°F), with lower ...

How do you write a fever history? ›

Take a comprehensive history of the patient's fever.
  1. Onset and duration.
  2. Time course.
  3. Triggers.
  4. Relieving factors.
  5. Recent infections.
  6. Local exposure.
  7. Travel history.
  8. Ideas.
Jan 16, 2023

How do you use fever in a sentence sample? ›

Noun The symptoms of the disease include headache and fever. We waited in a fever of anticipation. He had us all in a fever with worry.

How do you say leave because of a fever? ›

I am down with fever and flu because of which I will not be able to come to the office for at least {X days}. As per my family doctor, it is best that I take rest and recover properly before resuming work.

How do you explain a fever to your boss? ›

If you are feeling sick or uncomfortable then you can request your boss for the day off like “Dear Sir, I am not feeling well today, I feel like I have a fever and I will be unable to attend my work. I hope I get better tomorrow. So kindly grant me a leave today”.

How do you say I am sick with a fever? ›

3. I have a cold.
  1. I have a fever.
  2. I have the flu.
  3. I have a stomachache.
  4. I have a headache.

Which word is used to describe a fever due to illness? ›

Febrile is most commonly used in a literal way to refer to an illness involving a fever.

What is a good sentence for temperature? ›

The temperature soared to above 100 degrees in the shade. The temperature of the water was about 40 degrees. Coping with severe drops in temperature can be very difficult. His temperature continued to rise alarmingly.


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