Fever: What It Means and How to Treat

It can be concerning when a fever lasts for longer than expected or begins to spike without warning suddenly. In these instances, it is vital to seek proper treatment for the fever to ensure there are not any long-term complications that occur as a result of the fever, such as dehydration or the spreading of infection.

Additionally, it is crucial to seek urgent care in some instances of the fever, especially if a severe fever develops in a toddler or young child. A fever is most commonly caused by an infection and can be treated at home, there are numerous reasons why a high temperature might be present and sometimes receiving a professional diagnosis is necessary to ensure proper treatment is administered.

The best way to deal with a fever is to prevent it from occurring, which is possible to an extent. However, there are times when precautionary measures do not work, and a fever can form seemingly out of nowhere. In these instances, it is helpful to know what it can indicate and how to treat the high temperature.

If you or your child suffer from a fever that is concerning for any reason whatsoever, consider coming in for a visit to our urgent care facility to ensure effective and efficient treatment is administered.

Facts from The Summit Medical Group
  • Fevers turn on the body’s immune system and are one of the body’s protective mechanisms.
  • Only body temperatures over 108°F (42°C) can cause brain damage. The body temperature goes this high only with extreme environmental temperatures.
  • Fevers need to be treated only if they cause discomfort. Usually, that means temperatures over 102°F or 103°F.
  • Fevers from infection usually top out at 103°F to 104°F.
  • With treatment, fevers usually come down 2° or 3°F
  • Temperatures between 98.7°F and 100°F (37.1°C to 37.8°C) are considered low-grade fevers.
  • If the fever is high, the cause may or may not be serious. If your child looks very sick, the reason is more likely to be dangerous.
  • Fevers that don’t respond to medicine intended to decrease the fever can be caused by viruses or bacteria.
Questions to Ask Your Urgent Care Provider
  • What should I do if my fever does not improve within the next couple of days?
  • What is the leading cause of my fever? Is there something I could have done to prevent it?
  • What all can I do to ensure I do not get another fever?
  • How long does it take for a fever to come down with treatment?
  • Can I still go to work or school? Or should I stay home and rest?
  • What over-the-counter medication can I take to help reduce my fever?
  • My fever keeps me from sleeping at night. What can I do to sleep better while I have a high temperature?
  • Is there anything I can do other than rest and stay hydrated to help the fever go away?
  • What all things can I do to help speed up the recovery process?
  • When should I call you about my child’s fever if the treatment does not appear to be working?
  • Is my fever contagious? What should I do to ensure those around me do not get sick?
  • Are me or my child’s symptoms normal? How many cases of fever have you treated in the past?
  • What are all treatment options available to me?

Causes and Symptoms of a Fever

It is essential to understand why a fever occurs and what the early symptoms that accompany a fever are to properly seek treatment, either at home or with medical assistance. There are numerous causes, so pinpointing the exact cause is not always easy. However, having a general understanding should give you an idea as to the severity of the fever.

Here are the most common causes of a fever:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis
  • Cancer
  • A reaction to a medication
  • Vaccinations/Immunizations
  • Heat exhaustion

In some instances, the cause of the fever is quite evident, such as if you are suffering from a heat stroke or have recently received a vaccination. However, fevers can often occur seemingly out of nowhere and with little to no warning signs. In these instances, it is likely that the cause is either a bacterial or viral infection. Additionally, individuals with cancer may run an increased risk of suffering from a fever. Also, certain medications may cause a fever, although it is rare that this is the case.

Along with the fever – which is typically a symptom in and of itself – there are several other symptoms to be mindful of that often show up alongside a fever. Here are the most common symptoms of a fever:

  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Dehydration

It is essential to be able to notice the signs as it helps to seek treatment and prevent the fever from lasting longer than what is normal, especially in toddlers and adolescent children, who may not be able to express their symptoms verbally quite as well. The most common symptoms to watch for are chills, a headache and excessive sweating. While feeling your child’s forehead may give you an idea as to whether or not your child has a fever, it is not always reliable, and other symptoms should be considered.

Fever Treatment Options

To diagnose a fever at our urgent care facility, we may ask questions about your symptoms and medical history, perform a physical examination – including taking your temperature – and order tests to try and determine the cause of the infection. After considering all the information, your physician will make a medical diagnosis and begin to put together a plan of attack to keep the fever from worsening and to treat the underlying cause of the high temperature.

The most common method for treating a fever is through medication, both over-the-counter and prescription. For most fevers that cause discomfort, the likely treatment medication will be acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Depending on the illness causing the high temperature, you may be prescribed an antibiotic for treatment to deal with the fever and various other symptoms in the event the cause is a bacterial infection. However, these medications do not treat viral infections, in which case it is sometimes best to take a prescribed antiviral medicines instead.

Additionally, there are specific home remedies that are a must for overcoming a case of the fever. First and foremost, it is essential to get a proper amount of rest when suffering from a fever. In most cases, a fever exists during an infection. Due to this, the body needs adequate rest to fight off the infection. Additionally, staying hydrated is a good way to regulate your body temperature, which helps keep a fever from spiking. Also, it can be helpful to wear light clothing, keep the house cool and sleep with a light blanket.

Lastly, a child that suffers a fever should be carefully monitored and taken to an urgent care facility if the fever suddenly spikes as it could be a sign of a serious infection. For infants, a fever may require hospitalization as a serious illness may be causing the fever. With proper treatment, it usually is not that serious, but it should be treated with a sense of urgency if a toddler suffers from a fever.

How to Prevent a Fever

In some cases, an illness that causes a fever is unpredictable and can happen for no particular reason other than bad timing and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, there are certain precautions you can take to help minimize the risk of developing an infection. Although it is far from a hundred percent success rate, here are a few ways to prevent a fever:

  • Practice proper hygiene and teach children adequate hygiene
  • Stay away from others who may have an infection
  • Rest and stay hydrated when sick

First and foremost, it is essential to understand how an infection occurs. Infection is passed through germs, either in the form of bacteria or viruses and once in the body, they begin to multiply and invade the body. To reduce the chance of infection, you must reduce the amount of exposure you have to germs. The best way to do this is to wash your hands several times each day. Additionally, avoid sneezing into your hands or rubbing your hands on your face even if you keep your hands clean. Also, be sure to teach your children proper hygiene, especially while they are at school in order to prevent the onset of a sickness that can cause a fever.

Moreover, be sure to stay away from others who are sick as you run the risk of developing the illness yourself, which could lead to a fever. While it may seem rude, most who are sick are considerate and understand when you tell them you want to keep your distance until their symptoms pass.

Lastly, if you do get sick, make sure to give your body plenty of rest and stay hydrated. While you may be sick, you may be able to avoid developing a fever due to the illness.

When to Seek Urgent Care for a Fever

While most minor fevers do not require visiting an urgent care facility unless the fever occurs in a young child or toddler, there are times to seek immediate care for a high temperature, and it is important to be able to recognize the warning signs and receive prompt treatment when it is needed.

First and foremost, you should seek urgent care for a fever if the fever, or other symptoms that occur with the fever begin to worsen suddenly. In general, any fever over 99 degrees should be taken seriously, and any fever above 102 should be treated by going to an urgent care. Additionally, any time a child develops a fever that is high, it is important to seek medical assistance right away if they are under the age of three years old, especially if the cause is not known. With that said, however, a mild fever in a child is normal and is not a cause for significant concern.

To prepare for your trip to an urgent care, it can be helpful to write down a list of all symptoms, including when the high temperature started and at what point it started to worsen. Additionally, you may want to write down anything that could have lead to the fever, such as is you or your child have been near anyone who was sick or has left the country recently. Also, note any medication that has been taken since the fever developed.

For a fever, you or your child is likely to be asked a series of questions and the symptoms are likely to be documented to make an accurate diagnosis. Blood work and another type of testing may be needed as well. Be sure to document any questions you or your child want to ask the doctor, so you do not forget to ask once you arrive.

Consult With Us

To ensure you or your child’s fever is kept at a manageable level and does not last for longer than what is necessary, consult with us or visit us here at our urgent care facility if the fever ever becomes a cause for concern for any reasons whatsoever.

At our urgent care facility, we have a dedicated staff of medical professionals and all of the resources necessary to provide effective and efficient care for a fever. We can also help diagnose the underlying cause for the high temperate, which is most commonly due to an infection, but can be the result of many other factors as well.

Without proper treatment, a fever can last for much longer than necessary and lead to more severe complications, such as dehydration or the spreading of infection. With appropriate, prompt treatment, however, you can ensure the fever is kept at a tolerable level, and the risk of serious complications is almost nonexistent.

If you or your child’s fever begins to spike or become intolerable for any reason, be sure to consult with us or come in for a visit to our urgent care facility, and we can ensure proper treatment is administered for the fever and underlying causes.

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