What is a fever?
Your body normally maintains a core temperature of around 36-37 degrees Celsius. This temperature is optimal for different processes around your body. A high temperature or a fever is anything above 38 degrees Celsius.
What causes a fever?
Fevers are a sign that your body is fighting off an infection. Because of this, you might notice alongside other symptoms, such as feeling tired, sweaty or clammy, or symptoms associated with the cause of the fever, such as a cough, or symptoms of flu.
Examples of different types of infection that can cause a fever include:
Other causes include common illnesses seen in childhood, such as chickenpox. Children may also develop a fever after they’ve had some of their immunisations or when they’re teething.
How long does a fever last?
A fever usually resolves and gets better on its own. If it doesn’t improve after a few days, is very high or does not come down then it's important to seek further help.
How to treat a fever
Luckily, at-home treatment methods usually help to treat a fever. If you have a temperature or a high fever, you can try to:
Drink lots of fluids so that you stay hydrated. Check that your urine is a pale yellow in colour
Take time to rest
You can try to take paracetamol or ibuprofen if the associated symptoms are affecting you
How to manage a fever in children
A high temperature is quite common in children, though understandably, it can be worrying.
Treating a fever in children follows same rules as managing a fever in adults:
Make sure the child has plenty of fluids and keeps hydrated. If you notice that they are not feeding or drinking well, you should see your GP.
Give them paracetamol or ibuprofen, but avoid giving both together unless advised by a medical professional.
Avoid ibuprofen in chickenpox
Avoid aspirin in all children under 16 years old
Do not give paracetamol if your child is under the age of 3 months
Do not give ibuprofen if your child weighs less than 5 kg
Make sure your child is eating well.
Avoid contact with others, and let your child rest.
Avoid pressing a wet flannel or a wet sponge to your child’s skin.
When should I speak to a doctor?
You should seek medical help if:
The fever doesn’t get better after taking paracetamol or ibuprofen
The fever lasts for more than a few days
You are dehydrated with dark, small amounts of urine
You should phone 999 if you or your child:
Has signs of meningitis- such as a stiff neck, a rash that does not disappear under pressure, dislikes the light
Is floppy, drowsy, blue in colour or cold hands and feet
Can't breathe easily
Has a fit
How can Livi help?
A Livi doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. They’ll make an individual assessment, recommend a treatment or refer you to a specialist if needed.
- Reviewed by:
- Dr Bryony Henderson, Lead GP at Livi