If you or your child has a fever, it’s not an immediate cause to rush to the emergency room. Fevers are not always serious, and a fever is not actually an illness. A fever typically a symptom of an illness, which may or may not call for a doctor visit. There is no magic number on the thermometer that tells you when it’s time to call the doc versus treat with over-the-counter medication, but there are a number of circumstances to consider.
Call the doctor if your fever is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Fever persists beyond 48 hours
- An infant 3 months or younger has a temperature of 100.3F or above
- Diarrhea or vomiting for 12 hours or with evidence of blood
- Cough that produces green, yellow, brown or bloody mucus
- Night sweats or swollen lymph nodes with a fever that comes and goes
- Fevers (even low-grade) that come and go for longer than five days
- Sore throat and fatigue with mild fever
- Sore throat and headaches that lasts beyond 48 hours
- Recently started new medication and have no other symptoms of illness
- Temperature maintains at 103 degrees or above despite medicine or cooldown efforts like a cold compress or cool shower
A fever could be a sign of an emergency situation if it is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Severe headache
- Time spent in heat and the inability to lower your temperature after cooling efforts like a cold drink and cool compress
- Feeling disoriented or confused
- Strange rash that appears to worsen or spread
- Continuous vomiting
- Chest pain or breathing difficulties
- Vomiting, nausea and extreme stomach pain
- Burning sensation or pain during urination, may be partnered with back or stomach pain
- Uncommon sensitivity to light
What Is A Fever?
A fever is the body’s natural way of fighting off an infection and isn’t a sickness; it’s the sign of an illness. You just have to determine how serious the sickness is to decide if a doctor’s visit is necessary. Because a fever could be signs of a larger health issue, it’s recommended to go to a doctor near you if the fever persists for two days or more without breaking so a medical professional can evaluate your overall health.
Kids And Fevers
It’s natural to be concerned as a parent when your child develops a fever, but being mindful of their behavior more than the number on the thermometer will help know if you should call the doctor. Unless your child is 3-months-old or younger, try a fever-reducing medicine before rushing to the hospital (see note above about infants under three months with a temperature). Try a fever-reducing medicine and evaluate any changes. If the fever continues and your child is unable to hold down food, has a severe stomachache or a headache and is low in energy, it’s time to call the doctor.
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