When to Go to the ER for a Fever


May 9, 2022


How do you know when to go to the ER for a fever? Because fevers are often treated at home, people don’t tend to think that a fever warrants medical attention. While this is true for low-grade fevers, it is necessary to go to the ER for higher-grade fevers. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, your fever persists longer than three days, or your body temperature is 103 degrees or higher, seek emergency care immediately.

A fever occurs when your body temperature rises over the normal temperature of about 98 degrees. A doctor typically won’t diagnose you with a fever unless your body temperature is at 100.4 degrees or higher. This raise in temperature is usually a sign that your body is trying to fight something off like an infection.

Here are ways to tell the difference between a common fever that can be treated at home versus a fever that warrants emergency care.

Common fever symptoms

Depending on what may be causing your fever, common fever symptoms may include:

  • Body temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • Shivers
  • Sweats
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Achy muscles

These symptoms are deemed normal and non-threatening and can be treated at home with lots of fluids, rest, over-the-counter medications, and whatever you can do to keep cool to reduce your body temperature.

Your fever should subside within 1–3 days, but if that is not the case, there could be a more serious underlying issue that needs to be addressed. The best way to tell if you need to seek emergency care for a fever is to monitor your temperature, your symptoms, and the duration of your fever.

What temperature is a fever high enough to go to the hospital?

As we have mentioned earlier, a body temperature of 100 degrees or higher is standard for an adult fever. However, if your body temperature rises to 103 degrees or higher, you should seek emergency care.

When is a fever too high for a child?

Fevers in children are very common due to regular contact with other children in environments like classrooms. However, a high-grade fever is 102 degrees or higher for children older than three months and is usually accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Feeling lethargic
  • Vomiting
  • Consistent crying
  • Confusion

If your child is younger than three months, take them to a doctor as soon as you detect the fever.

Severe fever symptoms

While common fever symptoms are mainly uncomfortable, severe fever symptoms can be debilitating if you don’t seek medical attention. Here are some warning signs that your fever may be more serious than you think:

It’s also important to note that if you have a history of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or HIV, it’s best to play it safe and call your doctor when you come down with a fever.

How long should you wait to go to ER for fever?

If your fever persists for more than three days, it may be time to seek emergency care. For some people, basic home remedies like rest and over-the-counter fever medications including anti-inflammatories do not get the job done to break the fever.

So, what can the ER do for a fever?

The physicians at the emergency room will likely do a thorough examination to unveil the root of the sickness and begin the necessary treatment. A common treatment done in emergency rooms is IV fluids for dehydration to ensure that your body gets enough fluids at a quicker rate and that your organs get enough blood. An emergency room will also have lower wait times than a standard hospital so you can get in and begin to feel better in less time.

Complete Care offers full fever treatment 24/7

Knowing when to go to the ER for fever can put your mind at ease when either yourself or your child comes down with a fever. Although fevers are common illnesses that can be treated at home, there are cases of fever that indicate a more serious problem and they deserve medical attention.

The medical experts at Complete Care are here to provide outstanding fever treatment for you and the whole family. With ER locations across Texas and in Colorado Springs, quality care is never far away. No appointments are necessary.

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