When your body temperature goes above the average of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, you have a fever. While fevers can be uncomfortable, they are generally not dangerous and are often a sign that your body is fighting off an infection. However, in some cases, a high fever can be a sign of a more serious condition and may require medical treatment. Read on to learn more about high fevers and when to seek medical care.
1. What is a high fever?
2. What are the symptoms of a high fever?
3. What causes a high fever?
4. What are potential complications of a high fever?
5. What is the treatment for a high fever?
6. Bottom Line
What is a high fever?
A fever is essentially your body's way of fighting off infection and other illnesses. A high fever is usually defined as a temperature of 103 degrees or higher. Fever symptoms can vary greatly and can even include nausea, muscle aches, vomiting, and a variety of other ailments.
It is important to diagnose any underlying cause of the fever to ensure proper treatment - especially if it persists for more than three days. It is also important to stay hydrated and get adequate amounts of rest while suffering from a fever to help the body recover properly.
What are the symptoms of a high fever?
Whether your high fever is the result of a common cold or flu, it can have some uncomfortable effects. Low-grade fever symptoms typically include chills, sweating, feeling flushed, headaches, thirst, and loss of appetite. Depending on the severity of your ailment, your eyes can become exhausted or achy due to dehydration and lack of rest caused by being feverish.
If you experience a high-grade fever that is persistent or worsens over time, the following symptoms may also occur:
- Intense sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Mild confusion
- Upset stomach or vomiting
- Cool, moist, pale skin
- Decreased urine or inability to urinate
It's important to take steps such as staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and taking medication when needed to help ease the worrisome symptoms associated with a high fever.
What causes a high fever?
Fevers occur when your body is fighting off infections - which is a good thing. However, high fevers are no joke, as they can be caused by a range of both minor and serious conditions.
It's important to recognize when a fever may be a sign of something more sinister going on within the body; conditions such as heatstroke, thyroid storm, serotonin syndrome, intracranial hemorrhage, and sepsis all need medical attention.
Monitoring changes in temperature can help better determine the underlying cause of a fever, and with that knowledge, treatment decisions can be made and a proper diagnosis determined.
What are potential complications of a high fever?
If left untreated, a high fever can be very dangerous. It can cause dehydration and put further strain on your body's organs as they try to fight the infection. This can lead to confusion, hallucinations, seizures, and even organ failure in extreme cases. Organs that can be damaged by a prolonged high fever include:
Additionally, a high fever over 104°F can cause permanent neurological damage, which may lead to long-term cognitive impairment, such as learning disabilities and memory loss, though these are more likely among younger children than adults.
If a high fever goes above 107.6°F even death can occur. Timely testing and treatment is vital to avoid potentially fatal complications of high-grade fevers.
What is the treatment for a high fever?
Treatment for Children
It is never a good sign when your child has a high fever. It can be quite frightening and worrying. Knowing the right treatment to administer is key, and the first step should always be to book an appointment with a healthcare professional, or visit an urgent care clinic, regardless of how mild the symptoms may appear.
A healthcare professional can rule out any more serious problems and help you assess the best treatment plan for your child's fever. They might suggest ibuprofen or paracetamol to bring down the temperature or even antibiotics if they diagnose an infection.
As stated above, if a fever is left untreated, it can lead to devastating complications, so taking your child to a doctor as soon as possible should be of utmost importance.
Treatment for Adults
Treatment for adults with high fever must also be taken seriously, and considering the risk of complications that can arise from prolonged fevers, it's best to seek treatment at the first sign.
Fever caused by an infection won't dissipate until the infection is either gone or starts to improve. Medical attention may be necessary, depending on your ailment and its severity.
A visit to a healthcare professional or an urgent care clinic should be in order if an adult's fever lasts longer than three days or they develop chest pain or difficulty breathing. It could be a case of COVID-19 or another viral infection that requires treatment, and only a medical professional will be able to accurately diagnose and treat any underlying condition.
If symptoms were present before the fever began, treatment might need to target both conditions before full recovery can happen. Consulting a healthcare professional is always best when dealing with high fevers.
High fevers can be serious and should be taken seriously. It's important to monitor symptoms and pay close attention to any underlying causes that could potentially lead to further complications. Visit a healthcare professional or urgent care clinic if your fever persists longer than three days or reaches 104°F (40°C).
At Access Health Urgent Care, our skilled providers can quickly evaluate your symptoms and provide the appropriate treatment. We understand that high fevers can be frightening, which is why we offer compassionate care in a convenient and comfortable urgent care setting. Don't wait - call or walk in today!
Access Health Urgent Care provides access to urgent care treatment for conditions ranging from immediate attention to preventative care. We provide access to treatment for people of all ages, from six months on up.
Our services include urgent care illnesses and injuries; occupational health; ear, nose, and throat issues; and a full range of testing services. Our team of medical professionals are always ready to offer you access to great health care for you and your family.