November 29, 2015
font size

Aches, Pain, Fever (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

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

  • seizures,
  • hallucinations,
  • dehydration.

It is important to seek treatment for the underlying cause of a fever in the situations described above. 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. For example, a fever associated with a common cold usually only lasts two to three days. If fever is caused by influenza, most flu symptoms including fever go away in about a week. 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.

Is it possible to prevent a fever?

Prevention of fever is possible only to the extent that the specific cause of the fever can be prevented. Most fevers are caused by infection. Avoiding sources of infection and maintaining good hygiene practices are the 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 immunizations are up to date.

Where can people find more information about fevers?

American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098
Phone: 847-434-4000
Phone: 800-433-9016
Fax: 847-434-8000


American Academy of Pediatrics. "Treating a Fever Without Medicine." Aug. 20, 2015. <>.

Pappas, Diane E. "Patient Information: The Common Cold in Children (Beyond the Basics)." Aug. 4, 2015. <>.

Ward, Mark A. "Patient Information: Fever in Children (Beyond the Basics)." Aug. 31, 2015. <>.

Webster's New World Medical Dictionary, Third Edition

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/21/2015


Living Better

Find the secrets to longer life.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations