If you or a loved one has a fever, follow these steps to break it:
- Assess your symptoms and take your temperature. You have a fever if your temperature is higher than 100.4°F (38°C).
- Rest and go to bed.
- Drink water to replenish fluids lost through sweating. Ice tea or very dilute juice are good options. But if you have trouble keeping liquids down, try sucking on ice chips. Fluids can help to break a fever in a good way.
- Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be taken to break a fever. Follow the dosage instructions and do not take combined with other allergy medications. Aspirin shouldn’t be given to your baby or child without consulting a doctor. Ibuprofen shouldn’t be given to infants younger than six months.
- Cool down. No extra layers of clothing or blankets, unless you have chills.
- You can make yourself more comfortable by taking tepid baths or using cold compresses to break a fever. Avoid dangerous treatments such as cold baths, ice cube baths, alcohol baths, or massages with alcohol.
- Anytime you are concerned, regardless of the reading on the thermometer, contact your doctor.
Fevers can result from infections caused by bacteria or viruses. They can also occur as a result of sunburn or immunizations. Anyone can develop a fever, irrespective of their age. People with compromised immune systems may tend to have more frequent fevers.
Discover, how to break a fever, specific treatments based on age, and understand your symptoms by continuing to read.
What to look for in the situation
It is possible to feel like a Mack truck when you have a mild fever, while you might feel pretty comfortable when you have a high fever. The opposite of both can also occur.
The degree to which you feel comfortable and how you feel can help you determine the best treatment for a fever.
Fever can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Lightheaded or weak
- Appetite loss
- Muscle pain
A rash that occurs along with your fever should be investigated by a doctor. It is important to understand what the rash is due to, and other symptoms like nausea or vomiting may go away with medical advice.
Especially if you are experiencing confusion, hallucinations, or convulsions, you need to seek immediate medical attention if your fever is over 103°F (39.4°C).
Temperature taking 101
Temperature fluctuations are also normal, but people tend to have a baseline temperature of 98.6°F (37°C), though some people have temperatures that are higher or lower.
Temperatures above 1000.4°F (38°C) are considered high. People who have a fever when their oral, rectal, ear or temporal artery thermometers register this high can be considered to be suffering from a fever.
You can find an accurate temperature reading in the armpit area if you use an axillary thermometer; anything over 99.4°F (37°C) would qualify as a fever.
Rectal thermometers are often recommended for babies and infants, and you should speak with your doctor about which type of thermometer to use while still recording your child’s temperature.
The right time to visit the doctor
In general, fever treatment is determined by an individual’s age. Fever can reach serious proportions in young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems if left untreated.
How to Break a Fever in Toddlers and infants
If the temperature is higher than 100.4°F (38°C), infants younger than 3 months of age should see a doctor. Even if three other symptoms appear, they should still be checked.
If your baby has a fever of less than 102°F (38.9°C) or other symptoms, you may not need medical attention. However, if the fever is above 102°F or other symptoms are observed, you must visit your doctor. (1)
If a fever persists for more than a day, worsens, or doesn’t disappear with medication, you should consult your doctor. Children ages 6 months to 2 years old should take OTC medications under the supervision of their doctor.
Adolescents and young children
Fevers under 102°F don’t usually require medication in children ages 2 to 17, but if they have other symptoms like irritability or muscle aches, medication may be prescribed.
A child can develop a fever higher than 102°F (38.9°C) to be treated with medicine. If symptoms last longer than three days or your child is very uncomfortable, consult your doctor.
How to Break a Fever in Adults
The fever level below 102°F (38.9°C) doesn’t typically require medicine for adults 18 and older, but if it goes above that number or does not respond to treatment, a visit to the doctor is necessary. Adults exhibiting fever and other symptoms, such as stiff necks, severe body pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath, should seek medical attention immediately.
In adults over age 65, fever does not require special treatment, though you should be on the lookout for changes in your breathing pattern or confusion. If these symptoms seem to be present, you need a doctor’s advice.
If your fever rises above 102°F (38.9°C) or does not drop within two days, you should contact your doctor. And, if the OTC medication you’re taking conflicts with anything else you’re taking, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Additional guidelines to break a fever
People with a compromised immune system should be treated by their doctors. People with HIV, cancer or autoimmune disorders frequently have compromised immune systems.
It is important to get immediate medical attention if you have a weakened immune system. Fever can be a warning sign of infection, including fast-moving and hard-to-treat infections.
Here are some actions you can take now to break a fever
In most cases, running a fever does not pose any hazards. However, it is critical for people of all ages to understand how to properly treat fever, especially for young children, aging adults, and people with compromised immune systems.
Whether you or a loved one has a fever, you should:
- You need to know whether fevers can be treated at home safely or if a doctor is necessary.
- Keep hydrated with electrolytes or water. Everyone can benefit from this.
- Inspect your fever for the duration. Fever that persists for more than two days should be treated medically.
Anytime you’re unsure of how to treat a fever, call your doctor. He or she can help you figure out what to do.