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Fever: Care Instructions

Overview

A fever is a high body temperature. It's one way your body fights illness. A temperature of up to 38.9°C can be helpful, because it helps the body respond to infection. Most healthy people can have a fever as high as 39.4°C to 40°C for short periods of time without problems. In most cases, a fever means that you have a minor illness.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Choose water and other caffeine-free clear liquids. If you have to limit fluids because of a health problem, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Take an over-the-counter medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), to relieve your symptoms. Read and follow all instructions on the label. No one younger than 18 should take aspirin. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • Rest, and limit activity.
  • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • Eat mild foods, such as soup.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a fever of 40°C or higher.
  • You have a fever that stays high.
  • You have a fever and feel confused or often feel dizzy.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have a fever with a stiff neck or a severe headache.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have any problems with your medicine, or you get a fever after starting a new medicine.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.