Fever In Adults When To Worry – Types, Causes And Treatment
Fever in adults is a common side effect of flu-like illnesses and it is accompanied by a temporary rise in body temperature. A fever is often a sign that your immune system is busy fighting an infection or other illness.
In infants and young children, even a mild fever can be a sign of a serious illness and in adults, fever is usually not serious or life-threatening.
However, sometimes a fever in adults can be a warning sign that something is wrong. Because a high or persistent fever can be a sign of a serious medical condition.
What is fever?
A fever is usually a short-term rise in temperature that helps the body recover from an illness. A fever starts when the immune system produces more white blood cells to fight infection. But An increase in the number of white blood cells causes the brain to warm the body.
In response, your body tries to cool itself by increasing blood flow to your skin and contracting your muscles. As a result, it makes you shiver and can cause muscle pain.
Their body temperature ranges between 36.1°C and 37.2°C (97°F and 99°F). If your temperature rises above this value, you may develop a fever.
Types of fever
Adults usually have a fever if their body temperature rises above 38°C (100.4°F). This is called low grade temperature or fever. And a high fever occurs when your body temperature is 103°F (39.4°C) or higher.
Most fevers usually go away on their own within 1 to 3 days. Persistent or recurrent fever may last up to 14 days or may recur.
A fever that lasts longer than usual can be serious, even if it’s just a mild fever. This is because recurring fevers can be a sign of an infection or a more serious medical condition.
Common symptoms of fever in adults include:
- Chills (shivering)
- Muscle pain
- Loss of appetite
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When is the fever severe?
If you have a high fever, call your doctor right away when your temperature is 103°F (39.4°C) or higher. Get medical attention if you have a fever for more than three days. Tell your doctor if your symptoms get worse or if you develop new symptoms.
A fever may be a sign of a serious illness if you have:
- A severe headache
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Stiff neck or neck pain
- Skin rash
- Difficulty breathing
- Frequent vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Muscle cramps
Other symptoms that could indicate a fever are:
- Pain during urinating
- Not urinating enough
- Passing dark urine
- Passing urine that smells bad
Causes Of Fever In Adults
If you have severe fever symptoms, tell your doctor if you have recently traveled to another country or attended an event with a large number of people. This can help your doctor find the cause.
Common causes of fever in adults include:
- Viral infection (like as the flu or a cold)
- Bacterial infection
- Fungal infection
- Food poisoning
- Heat exhaustion
- Serious sunburn
- Inflammation (from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis)
- A tumor
- Blood clots
Some adults may be more prone to fever. If you have a chronic illness or have been treated for a serious illness, you may have a high fever.
Tell your doctor about any symptoms of fever if you have:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Heart disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Chronic lung disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- HIV or AIDS
Certain medications and treatments can also cause high fever, including:
- Blood pressure drugs
- Seizure medications
- DTaP vaccine
- Pneumococcal vaccine
- Radiation treatment
- Post-transplant medications
Treatments Of Fever In Adults
A fever is usually not dangerous in itself. Most fevers go away within a few hours to a few days as your body fights the infection.
Help yourself in order to feel better with these home remedies for the flu:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, like:
- Eat light foods that are easy on the stomach
- Use a cool compress, like a damp towel
- Take a warm sponge bath
- Dress in light, comfortable clothing
- Turn down the temperature in your room
Over-the-counter medications can help relieve fever and symptoms such as headache and muscle aches:
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
For more serious causes of fever, you may need treatment from your doctor. Because the treatment depends on the cause. Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat serious infections:
When to go to the emergency room
A fever can be a sign of a serious illness. A high fever can also cause serious side effects.
Get emergency medical help by going to the emergency room or calling an ambulance if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Seizure or convulsions
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Severe headache pain
- Stiff or painful neck
- Difficulty breathing
- Hives or a rash
- Swelling in any part of the body
The Bottom Line
Fever in adults is usually not dangerous in itself. This is a sign that your body is dealing with an infection or other illness. In some cases, a high or prolonged fever can be a sign of a serious illness. You may need immediate medical attention.
Do not ignore the fever. Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids to help your body recover. Call your doctor if you have a fever that lasts more than 3 days or if you have other severe symptoms.
If you have a chronic illness or have been treated for a serious illness, tell your doctor if you have a fever.