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Know About Common Fevers!

Photo: light brown haired girl blowing her noseUnlike the flu or a cold, a fever is generally a symptom of something, not its own illness. How can you determine what’s causing your fever? When should you go see a doctor? And how should you treat it?

What causes a fever?

The average healthy body temperature for a human is 98.6°, but you may run a little hotter or cooler than that. Take your temperature when you’re feeling healthy to determine what’s normal for you.

The hypothalamus regulates your body temperature. When white blood cells come into contact with the bacteria or viruses that may make you ill, chemicals called pyrogens alert the hypothalamus to raise your temperature, giving you a fever.

There are many reasons you might have a fever, and they range in severity. Arthritis, heat exhaustion, and malignant tumors can cause fevers, but so can a bad sunburn or certain medications. Don’t panic if you have a fever and can’t identify the cause; in many cases, it will go away on its own and you may never know what caused it.

When should I see a doctor?

In adults, a fever isn’t usually concerning unless it goes above 103°. Of course, even mild fevers shouldn’t last more than three days.
Come to Urgent Care if your fever lasts longer than that, or if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Severe throat swelling
  • Skin rashes
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Other severe, unexplained symptoms.

Because infants have difficulty regulating body temperature, you should not wait to seek care until your baby or child has a fever of 103°. Here are the recommendations on when to see the doctor based on your child’s age.

Newborn to 3 months – A rectal thermometer is the most accurate way to take an infant’s temperature, and because fevers can be particularly harmful to infants, this is how you should measure your child’s body temperature. If the baby’s rectal temperature is 100.4° or higher, you should see a medical professional.

3 months to 6 months – In older babies, you may prefer to use axillary (armpit) or oral thermometers. If your baby has a temperature higher than 102°, or has a lower temperature but seems excessively irritable or lethargic, call your doctor and explain the symptoms, as well as the method you used for taking the baby’s temperature.

6 months to 2 years – If your infant has a temperature above 102° and it lasts more than a day, the child should be seen by a medical professional. If other symptoms are present, like diarrhea, a cold, or a cough, you may not want to wait that long – head to HillCrestFamily Medical Urgent Care.

2 years to adulthood – As long as your child is responsive and seems fine, a fever shouldn’t be an issue. If the child appears listless or irritable, or has symptoms causing him or her significant discomfort (like a severe headache or vomiting), you should call the doctor or go to HillCrest Family Medical Urgent CARE

If, despite these precautions if you have fever come to Hillcrest Medical, the best place for urgent care in Dallas. Our goal is to help you be as healthy as possible.


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