What is fever?

Fever is a body temperature that is higher than normal but in medical terms, fever is a temperature above 100.4 °F (38 °C). A normal temperature can vary from person to person, but it is usually around 98.6 °F (37 °C). It is not a disease. It is usually a sign that your body is trying to fight an illness or infection.

Cancer patients will often have fever as a symptom.

How bad is my fever?

Mild: 38.0 – 39.0 °C (100.4 -102.2 °F)

Moderate: 39.0 – 40.0 °C (102.3 -104.0 °F)

Severe: >40.0 °C (>104.0 °F) for <=24 hrs

How to manage mild fever?

A new fever is concerning for infection. Before talking to a doctor, you should seek medical attention and avoid medications like Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. These medications can mask the true extent of the fever.

Here are some things you can do after your Doctor/medical team has identified and started treatment for the underlying illness:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water
  • Avoid alcohol, tea, and coffee as these drinks can cause slight dehydration
  • Sponge exposed skin with tepid water. To boost the cooling effect of evaporation, you could try standing in front of a fan
  • Avoid taking cold baths or showers. Skin reacts to the cold by constricting its blood vessels, which will trap body heat. The cold may also cause shivering, which can generate more heat
  • Make sure you have plenty of rest, including bed rest
How to manage moderate and severe fever?

Call your doctor if your temperature is 103 F (39.4 C) or higher. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these signs or symptoms accompanies a fever:

  • Severe headache
  • Unusual skin rash, especially if the rash rapidly worsens
  • Unusual sensitivity to bright light
  • Stiff neck and pain when you bend your head forward
  • Mental confusion
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Abdominal pain or pain when urinating
  • Convulsions or seizures
What are the causes?
  • A viral infection
  • A bacterial infection
  • Certain cancers (non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, ovarian cancer)
  • Cancer treatments (radiation therapy, chemotherapy)
  • Heat Exhaustion
  • Certain inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis — inflammation of the lining of your joints (synovium)
  • A malignant tumor
  • Some medications, such as antibiotics and drugs used to treat high blood pressure or seizures
  • Some immunizations, such as the pneumococcal vaccine

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