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High Fever

While a High Fever Helps You Recover From Illness, It Can Also be a Medical Emergency

A fever is your body’s natural recovery system. When you have a bacterial or viral infection, your body temperature increases to combat it. It’s hard for bacteria and viruses to survive when your temperature rises, helping you recover. While a rising temperature is part of your recovery, it can cause complications, such as brain damage and seizures. In addition, some fevers are deadly. Fortunately, you can analyze your symptoms to determine if your fever will run its course at home or if you need emergency treatment. If you do require treatment, an emergency room doctor can address the infection, provide fluids, and use medications to reduce your temperature.

Check Your Temperature - Do You Have a High Fever?

Your temperature can be above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit without running a fever. Some people’s normal body temperatures are slightly lower or higher than 98.6, so you don’t need to worry if yours is 97-99 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is the normal range, you don’t officially have a fever until your body temperature reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s considered a low-grade fever that generally doesn’t require medical attention.

What Fever is Too High? When to Go to the ER

You should visit the emergency room if your temperature is 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Regardless of the temperature, visit the ER if any of the following are true:

  • You have a severe headache.
  • You are sensitive to light.
  • You have a stiff neck, and your head hurts when bending forward.
  • You are vomiting and confused.
  • You have trouble breathing and chest pain.
  • You have abdominal pain.
  • You have had a seizure.

What Fever Is Too High for Kids?

If you have children, the rules are a bit different. First, go to the emergency room if your child’s temperature is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit or if your son or daughter is younger than three months old. Also, your child needs emergency care if he or she is hard to wake up, is dehydrated, or the fever has lasted for longer than five days. Finally, if your child develops a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit after a vaccination, visit the emergency room if it doesn’t break within two days. A pediatric specialist will diagnose and treat your child.

Seizures and High Fevers in Children

If your child has a high temperature, it could cause a febrile seizure. Seizures most often occur in children who have fevers above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Your child can lose consciousness and experience jerking or shaking of the limbs.

Put your child on his or her side during a seizure. Also, make sure your son or daughter doesn’t have anything in his or her mouth. Then, call 911.

While fevers are part of your body’s healing process, they can be dangerous. Knowing when a fever is too high and what symptoms to look out for can protect you and your loved ones during medical emergencies.