©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Symptoms and Signs of Fever in Adults

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 fatigue, joint pains, joint or muscle aches, sinus congestion, cough, nausea, sweating, rapid heart rate, and sore throat, among others. 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.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


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