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- Fever facts
- What is a fever?
- What causes a fever?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a fever?
- How is a fever diagnosed?
- How should someone take a temperature for fever?
- What is the treatment for a fever?
- When should someone seek medical care for a fever?
- What kind of doctors treat a fever?
- What are complications of a fever?
- What is the prognosis for a fever?
- Is it possible to prevent a fever?
- Where can people find more information about fevers?
Quick GuideCommon Sore Throat vs. Strep Throat
What is the treatment for a fever?
Generally, if the fever does not cause discomfort, the fever itself need not be treated. It is not necessary to awaken an adult or child to treat a fever unless instructed to do so by a doctor.
The following fever-reducing medications may be used at home:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) can be used to lower a fever. The recommended pediatric dose can be suggested by the child's pediatrician. Adults without liver disease or other health problems can take 1,000 mg (two "extra-strength" tablets) every six hours or as directed by a physician. The makers of Tylenol state the maximum recommended dose of acetaminophen per day is 3,000 mg, or six extra-strength tablets per 24 hours, unless directed by a doctor. Regular-strength Tylenol tablets are 325 mg; the recommended dosage for these is two tablets every four to six hours, not to exceed 10 tablets per 24 hours. If your fever is accompanied by vomiting and you are unable to keep oral medications down, ask a pharmacist for acetaminophen suppositories, which are available without a prescription.
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) can also be used to break a fever in patients over 6 months of age. Discuss the best dose with a doctor. For adults, generally 400 mg to 600 mg (two to three 200 mg tablets) can be used every six hours as fever reducers.
- Aspirin should not be used for fever in children or adolescents. Aspirin use in children and adolescents during a viral illness (especially chickenpox and influenza, or flu) has been associated with Reye's syndrome. Reye's syndrome is a dangerous illness that causes prolonged vomiting, confusion, and even coma and liver failure.
An individual with a fever should be kept comfortable and not overdressed. Overdressing can cause the temperature to rise further. Tepid water (85 F [30 C]) baths are a home remedy that may help bring down a fever. Never immerse a person with a fever in ice water. This is a common misconception. Never sponge a child or an adult with alcohol; the alcohol fumes may be inhaled, causing many problems.