When to Go to Urgent Care for a Fever

Feb 07, 2024

When to Go to Urgent Care for a Fever

You feel like you can’t get out of bed. Your body is hot. Then you get the chills. Fevers are a common occurrence in adults and children. While most can be treated at home, you should go to urgent care if you experience these symptoms.

Your body is a miraculous machine. It has an innate ability to fight what could harm it. One of the ways your body does this is by developing a fever. 

Most adults’ body temperatures lie somewhere between 97-99 degrees Fahrenheit, but a fever occurs when your temperature rises above 100 degrees. But it doesn’t mean you need to head to the doctor’s whenever you have a temperature.

Copperfield Family Clinic, in Houston, Texas, is here to explain when to monitor your fever at home and when you should head to urgent care. Our team of medical professionals offers quick and extensive help to assist you when your fever gets too high.

When to seek medical help

You’re feeling hot. Then get the chills. And you feel like you can’t get out of bed. Fevers are a common occurrence in adults and children. 

While fevers are uncomfortable, they’re usually not a cause for concern — unless your fever rises to over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. You must go to the emergency room immediately if your fever gets this high. Similarly, you must go to the emergency room if a fever is under 103 degrees and persists for over five days.

You should go to the emergency room if these other symptoms accompany your fever:

  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Painful urination
  • Confusion or hallucinations
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark urine
  • Rashes

These signs may indicate there’s a more serious problem, like meningitis, that requires prompt medical help to prevent further complications. 

How to monitor a fever at home

Most fevers that reside below 103 degrees Fahrenheit can be treated at home. The best way to take a temperature is through an oral, rectal, or ear thermometer. It’s normal for a fever to change throughout the day, and fevers are often the highest at night.

Normal signs and symptoms of a fever include:

  • Sweating
  • Chills and shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Irritability
  • Weakness

You can treat a fever and feel relief faster by following these steps:

  1. Take ibuprofen (approximately 200 milligrams) every 4-6 hours
  2. Drink lots of water — 8-11 glasses or more a day
  3. Avoid alcohol, tea, and coffee
  4. Don’t take cold showers or baths, as this can trap body heat
  5. Get lots of rest

Many people believe that sweating out a fever by wrapping themselves in blankets and sweaters can help cure a fever. There is no evidence to support this, and it actually can worsen your fever by causing dehydration. 

Fevers in children

If you’re a parent, it can be worrisome when your child gets a fever. Fevers are quite common in children — in fact, children can get up to 10 infections a year. 

Babies and toddlers generally have a higher normal body temperature than adults — approximately 97-99 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, you can’t base their illness solely on body temperature, and you must go on behavioral traits too.

Signs of a fever are similar in children including warm forehead, flushed cheeks, loss of appetite, and irritability. If you have a baby or toddler, you should go to the hospital if your child is:

  • Fewer than three months and has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • 3-12 months old and has a fever of 102.2 degrees or higher
  • Under age two and has a fever that lasts for over 48 hours 

You or your child don’t have to fight a fever alone. We’re here to help answer any questions you have. Call 281-789-6477 to schedule an appointment or book online.