Persistent Fever & Fever Symptoms; a Body Warning Sign about Disease
Persistent fever or ongoing high fever is not necessarily a major cause of concern. Persistent fever plays an important role in the body fighting infection. If you have had a persistent-fever for more than 3-day you should see your doctor at a minimum as a precaution. Persistent fever can signal an infection you may not be aware of, which may be most anything ranging from a kidney infection to a urinary tract infection, to very serious problems, including spinal meningitis and tuberculosis. In certain cases, malignant (cancer) medical health issues like lymphomas may cause persistent fever. Even taking some medications can cause persistent fever, especially persistent high fever in children (since kids often have trouble regulating body temperature). If you have persistent high fever of 103 degrees or higher, you need to see a doctor as fast as you can.
Persistent or High Fever
A fever isn't necessarily a cause for alarm. Fever seems to play a key role in fighting infection. If you've had a fever for more than three days, however, get checked by your doctor. Persistent fever can signal a hidden infection, which could be anything from a urinary tract infection to tuberculosis. In some cases, cancerous (malignant) conditions — such as lymphomas — cause prolonged or persistent fevers, as can some medications.
If you have a high fever — 103°F (39.4°C) or higher — consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Fever is the temporary increase in the body's temperature in response to some disease or illness.
A child has a fever when the temperature is at or above one of these levels:
- 100.4°F (38°C) measured in the bottom (rectally)
- 99.5°F (37.5°C) measured in the mouth (orally)
- 99°F (37.2°C) measured under the arm (axillary)
An adult probably has a fever when the temperature is above 99-99.5°F (37.2-37.5°C), depending on the time of day.
Fever is an important part of the body's defense against infection. Most bacteria and viruses that cause infections in people thrive best at 98.6°F. Many infants and children develop high fevers with minor viral illnesses. Although a fever signals that a battle might be going on in the body, the fever is fighting for the person, not against.
Brain damage from a fever generally will not occur unless the fever is over 107.6°F (42°C). Untreated fevers caused by infection will seldom go over 105°F unless the child is overdressed or trapped in a hot place.
Febrile seizures do occur in some children. However, most febrile seizures are over quickly, do not mean your child has epilepsy, and do not cause any permanent harm.
Unexplained fevers that continue for days or weeks are called fevers of undetermined origin (FUO).
Bringing down a fever will make the person feel better and help patients rest.
Treating a Fever without Medicine
- Put a cool, damp washcloth on their forehead.
- Wash their arms and body with a cool cloth.
- Give the person a slightly warm bath.
Treating a High Fever with Medicine
- Look for the ingredients “acetaminophen” or “ibuprofen” on labels.
- These medicines may take 30 to 45 minutes to start working. They may not bring fevers down to normal temperature.
When a High Fever Causes a Seizure
A seizure makes you have jerky spasms and can also make you pass out. In rare cases, a fever can bring on a seizure, called a “febrile seizure.” Seizures brought on by fever are more common in young children. Call the doctor or get medical help for seizures.
Any child younger than 3 months who has a fever should see a doctor.