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How Do You Bring Down a Fever?

Reviewed on 12/23/2020

Adult Fever
During a fever, the body temperature rises to 100.4° Fahrenheit. Flu may be the most common cause of fever.

Fever is one of the most effective mechanisms that our body uses for fighting infections. The average body temperature is 98.6° Fahrenheit, but it may vary from person to person. During a fever, the body temperature rises to 100.4° Fahrenheit. Flu may be the most common cause of fever; however, there may be other causes, which include:

The best way to bring down a fever include:

  • Get some extra fluids: Getting some extra fluids while having a fever helps the sick person a lot. Body fluids are lost through sweat during fever. It is essential to replenish these lost body fluids. Besides, fluids also help to cool the body temperature.
  • Taking sufficient rest
  • Removing extra clothing to allow heat loss through the skin
  • Getting a sponge bath in lukewarm water (85° to 90° Fahrenheit)
  • Eating bland and light foods that are easy to digest

The below tables have summaries of treating different types of fevers in different age groups.

Table 1. Treatment summary of adults and types of fevers
AgeTemperaturTreatment
18 years and upUp to 102° F (38.9° C) taken orallyRest and drink plenty of fluids. Medication isn't needed. Call the doctor if the fever is accompanied by a severe headache, stiff neck, shortness of breath, or other unusual signs or symptoms.
18 years and upAbove 102° F (38.9° C) taken orallyIf you're uncomfortable, take Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil/Motrin IB (ibuprofen), or Aspirin. Read the label carefully for proper dosage, and be careful not to take more than one medication containing acetaminophens, such as cough and cold medicines. Call the doctor if the fever doesn't respond to the medication, is consistently 103° F (39.4° C) or higher, or lasts longer than 3 days.
Table 2. Treatment summary of children and types of fevers
AgeTemperaturTreatment
2-17 yearUp to 102° F (38.9° C) taken rectally for children ages 2-3 years or taken orally for children older than 3 yearsEncourage your child to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Medication isn't needed. Call the doctor if your child seems unusually irritable, lethargic, or complains of significant discomfort.
2-17 yearUp to 102° F (38.9° C) taken rectally for children ages 2-3 years or taken orally for children older than 3 yearsIf your child seems uncomfortable, give your child take Tylenol (acetaminophen), or Advil/Motrin IB (ibuprofen). Read the label carefully for proper dosage, and be careful not to give your child more than one medication containing acetaminophens, such as cough and cold medicines. Avoid giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Call the doctor if the fever doesn't respond to the medication or lasts longer than 3 days.
Table 3. Treatment summary of infants/toddlers and types of fevers
AgeTemperaturTreatment
0-3 months100.4° F (38° C) or higher taken rectallyCall the doctor, even if your child doesn't have any other signs or symptoms
3-6 monthsUp to 102° F (38.9° C) taken rectallyEncourage your child to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Medication isn't needed. Call the doctor if your child seems unusually irritable, lethargic, or uncomfortable.
3-6 monthsAbove 102° F (38.9° C) taken rectallyCall the doctor. The doctor may recommend that you bring your child in for an examination.
6-24 monthAbove 102° F (38.9° C) taken rectallyGive your child Tylenol (acetaminophen). If your child is of age 6 months or older, Advil/Motrin (ibuprofen) is OK too. Read the label carefully for proper dosage. Don't give Aspirin to an infant or toddler. Call the doctor if the fever doesn't respond to the medication or lasts longer than 1 day.

When to see a doctor?

Consult your doctor immediately if you have other symptoms along with a fever that includes:

SLIDESHOW

A Cold or The Flu? How to Tell the Difference See Slideshow

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References
Mayo Clinic. Fever Treatment: Quick Guide to Treating a Fever. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fever/in-depth/fever/art-20050997

Harvard Health Publishing. Treating Fever in Adults. April 2015. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/treating-fever-in-adults

Treating and Reducing a Fever. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/OEPR_Treating-and-Reducing-a-Fever.pdf

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