COLD AND FLU BASICS
What is a Fever?
A fever is a temporary increase in your body temperature, often due to an illness, like the flu. It’s part of your body’s defense system, as a slight fever activates your body’s immune system, making it harder for the bacteria and viruses that cause the infections to survive. If you have a fever, it’s a pretty good bet that something out of the ordinary is going on with your body.
What are the symptoms of a fever?
You have a fever when your internal body temperature rises above the normal 98.6°F (37°C). Additional fever symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- General weakness
What causes a fever?
Fever or elevated body temperature might be caused by:
- A virus, like the flu
- A bacterial infection
- Heat exhaustion
- Extreme sunburn
- Certain inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis — inflammation of the lining of your joints (synovium)
- A malignant tumor
- Some medications, such as antibiotics and drugs used to treat high blood pressure or seizures
- Some immunizations, such as the diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP), or pneumococcal vaccine
Is a fever serious?
Fevers generally go away on their own after a few days. However, if you’ve had a fever for more than 3 days, or if your temperature rises above 103° F (39.4° C), contact your doctor. If a high fever is left unchecked, it may cause hallucinations, confusion, and/or convulsions.
How do you treat a fever?
As always, when you're sick, you should drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, and in the case of a fever, try to stay as cool as possible.
For a low grade fever, it’s often best to do nothing and let it run its course. In the case of a high-grade fever, you can take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. contains 1000 mg of acetaminophen to reduce fever.
If you need to see a doctor, you might be prescribed an antibiotic.