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Aches, Pain, Fever (cont.)

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What are complications of a fever?

While having a fever is generally very uncomfortable, a fever itself does not usually cause severe complications.

High fever (>103 F/40 C) or prolonged bouts of fever can lead to

It is important to seek treatment for the underlying cause of the fever. Many of the infections that can cause fever can lead to severe complications if untreated.

What is the prognosis for a fever?

The prognosis for a fever depends on the cause. Most cases of fever are self-limited and resolve with symptomatic treatment. Depending on the cause, antibiotics or other appropriate medications may be used.

Fevers associated with severe infections, or in patients whose immune system is compromised (such as those with cancer, elderly people, newborn infants, patients with HIV/AIDS, or people with autoimmune disorders) can be life threatening.

Can fevers be prevented?

Fever is preventable only to the extent that the specific cause of the fever can be prevented. Most fevers are caused by infection. Avoiding sources the infection and maintaining good hygiene practices are your best way to prevent a fever.

Some ways to prevent the spread of infection include the following:

  • Proper hygiene: Wash hands frequently.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Make sure you and your child's immunizations are up to date.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery


Baumann, R. "Technical Report: Treatment of the Child With Simple Febrile Seizures." Pediatrics 103.6 June 1999: e86. <;103/6/e86>.

Davis, Bets. "Body Temperature." WebMD. Feb. 20, 2009. <>.

Davis, Charles P. "Fever in Adults." eMedicineHealth. Apr. 20, 2012. <>.

"How to Take a Child's Temperature." Healthy Children. June 15, 2010. <>.

Webster's New World Medical Dictionary, Third Edition

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/27/2014


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