Mercury Rising: What to Know About Fevers in Adults

I’ve only really had one fever in the past ten years or so. And most other adults I know also rarely get fevers. My husband, on the other hand, gets two to three 103-105 Fahrenheit fevers every year. They leave him totally incapacitated, shivering and sweating simultaneously under the blankets.

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A fever can leave you down for the count. Be sure to treat its underlying cause.

While his bouts of fever are very disconcerting just at face value, what makes them even more worrisome is the fact that it’s uncommon for adults to get such high fevers at such a high frequency. This is because children get sick more often and run higher fevers than adults due to their less mature immune systems and because they naturally have a slightly higher body temperature.

Since the underlying cause of fevers can be serious, as can the fevers themselves when they reach a certain temperature, we know it’s important to take the appropriate steps in treating them. Here’s what you should know about fever in adults:

In adults, a fever is when the body temperature is:

  • 100 F-101 F (low-grade)
  • 103 F-104 F (high-grade)
  • 104 F-107 F (dangerous)

Fevers are usually caused by:

  • Viruses, like influenza (most common)
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Drugs
  • Toxins

Treatment for fevers:

  • Ibuprofen or aspirin (as directed by your doctor) to lower the fever
  • Cool baths or cool towels applied to the skin to lower the fever
  • Fluids for rehydration
  • Antibiotics, if the doctor deems the cause to be bacterial
  • Antifungal medication, if the doctor deems the cause to be a fungal infection

When to call the doctor:

  • If fever is higher than 103 F
  • If fever lasts more than three days

Seek immediate care if high-grade fever is accompanied by:

  • Severe headache
  • Severe throat swelling
  • Unusual skin rash, especially if the rash rapidly worsens
  • Unusual sensitivity to bright light
  • Stiff neck and pain when you bend your head forward
  • Mental confusion
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Extreme listlessness or irritability
  • Abdominal pain or pain when urinating
  • Any other unexplained signs or symptoms

Remember, fevers are an indication that something is wrong inside your body. Be sure to monitor them closely, along with any accompanying symptoms, and seek medical care when necessary.

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