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Seeking Treatment for Fever

Fever is generally defined as a core body temperature of least 100.4oF or 38oC.   While there are many causes of fever, the most common reason is infection.

Most human infections are caused by viruses which the body will fight off without specific treatment, and typically fever will last three days or less. The presence of fever can also, however, signal more serious and potentially life threatening bacterial infections that require prompt treatment.

For kids with fever, seek medical treatment immediately when:

  • He or she is less than 3 months of age
  • Temperature is higher than 103, or any fever that lasts greater than 3 days
  • Your child is not acting “right”, seems difficult to arouse, or has any symptom that is concerning to you

For all patients, kids and adults included, seek medical attention when fever:

  • Lasts greater than 3 days
  • Is associated with chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Is accompanied by significant abdominal pain
  • Is associated with a wound that gets red and tender, or you notice a red streak
  • Is present and you have difficulty urinating
  • Is associated with severe headache, stiff neck, light sensitivity, or unusual rash

There are many other causes of fever, and you should always consult your own healthcare professional for personal advice regarding your or your loved one’s elevated body temperature.