• Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideSore Throat or Strep Throat? How to Tell the Difference

Sore Throat or Strep Throat? How to Tell the Difference

What is the prognosis for a fever?

The prognosis for a fever and how long it lasts depends on the cause. Most cases of fever are self-limited and resolve with symptomatic treatment. For example, a fever associated with a common cold usually only lasts two to three days. If fever is caused by influenza, most flu symptoms including fever go away in about a week. Depending on the cause, antibiotics or other appropriate medications may be used.

Fevers associated with severe infections, or in patients whose immune system is compromised (such as those with cancer, elderly people, newborn infants, patients with HIV/AIDS, or people with autoimmune disorders), can be life-threatening.

Is it possible to prevent a fever?

Prevention of fever is possible only to the extent that the specific cause of the fever can be prevented. Most fevers are caused by infection. Avoiding sources of infection and maintaining good hygiene practices are the best way to prevent a fever.

Some ways to prevent the spread of infection include the following:

  • Proper hygiene: Wash hands frequently.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Make sure immunizations are up to date.

Where can people find more information about fevers?

American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098
Phone: 847-434-4000
Phone: 800-433-9016
Fax: 847-434-8000


American Academy of Pediatrics. "Treating a Fever Without Medicine." Aug. 20, 2015. <https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/fever/Pages/Treating-a-Fever-Without-Medicine.aspx>.

Pappas, Diane E. "Patient Information: The Common Cold in Children (Beyond the Basics)." UpToDate.com. Aug. 4, 2015. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/the-common-cold-in-children-beyond-the-basics>.

Roth, Alan R., and Gina M. Basello. "Approach to the Adult Patient with Fever of Unknown Origin." American Family Physician 68.11 Dec. 1, 2003: 2223-2229. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/1201/p2223.html>.

Sadovsky, Richard. "Recurrent Fevers in Children: Differential Diagnosis." American Family Physician 67.4 Feb. 15, 2003. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0215/p863.html>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Question and Answers: Zika virus infection (Zika) and pregnancy." Aug. 9, 2016. <http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/question-answers.html>.

Ward, Mark A. "Patient Information: Fever in Children (Beyond the Basics)." UpToDate.com. Aug. 31, 2015. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/fever-in-children-beyond-the-basics>.

Webster's New World Medical Dictionary, Third Edition

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2016

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