Symptoms and Signs of Fever in Adults

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 11/19/2021

Doctor's Notes on Fever in Adults

Fever is an elevation of the body’s temperature and is a characteristic response to infection or inflammation anywhere in the body. Fever is very common and is often accompanied by chills. It is actually a beneficial response that helps the body fight off infections. The other symptoms associated with fever depend on the cause but can include:

Very high fevers (104 F (40 C)) or higher may be dangerous and require immediate home treatment and medical attention. Very high fevers can lead to confusion, hallucinations, or seizures

Some of the typical infections that can cause a fever include ear and throat infections, pneumonia, bladder infections, and kidney infections. In children, immunizations or teething can cause a mild, short-term fever. Autoimmune disorders, medication side effects, blood clots, hormonal disorders, some cancers, and illicit drug use are other potential causes of fever.

What Is the Treatment for Fever in Adults?

Over-the-counter medications including acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to control fever and pain. Further treatment for fever in adults depends on the cause of the fever.

Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, and antifungal or antiviral medications are also sometimes used to control infections. Antibiotics may be given orally or intravenously. Fever related to chronic underlying conditions such as cancer is treated by treating the responsible condition.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.