Am I Running a Fever? Telltale Signs to Be Aware Of

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to take note of our body temperature. Many people are unsure how to tell if they have a fever or not. A fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature that is usually a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as an infection. In this article, we will discuss the telltale signs of a fever and what you can do if you are experiencing one.

What is a Fever?

A fever is often defined as a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. It occurs when the body’s internal thermostat, called the hypothalamus, raises the body temperature to fight off an infection.

How Do I Know if I Have a Fever?

The most common way to check for a fever is by taking your temperature with a thermometer. There are various types of thermometers available that can be used to check body temperature, such as digital, ear, and forehead thermometers.

Telltale Signs of a Fever:

  1. High Body Temperature:

    As mentioned earlier, a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is usually considered a fever.

  2. Feeling Hot or Cold:

    You may experience chills, shivering, or sweating if you have a fever.

  3. Headache:

    Fever can cause throbbing headaches.

  4. Body Aches:

    You may experience body aches and muscle pain if you have a fever.

  5. Fatigue:

    Feeling tired or fatigued is a common sign of a fever.

  6. Loss of Appetite:

    You may lose your appetite and feel nauseous if you have a fever.

  7. Dehydration:

    Fever can cause sweating, which can lead to dehydration if not treated properly.

  8. Cough:

    Fever can also cause coughing and congestion.

What Causes a Fever?

There are many factors that can cause a fever, such as:

  • Infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic)
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Reaction to medication
  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
  • Cancer (rare)

When Should I See a Doctor?

Most cases of a fever can be treated at home with rest and over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. However, you should contact your doctor if you have:

  • A persistent fever that does not go away with treatment
  • A fever that lasts longer than three days
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Stiff neck
  • Headache that does not go away
  • Confusion or hallucinations
  • Chest pain

How to Treat a Fever at Home

If you have a fever, there are a few things you can do at home to help reduce your symptoms:

  1. Get plenty of rest
  2. Drink plenty of fluids to replace those lost through sweating
  3. Take over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to help reduce the fever and alleviate any pain or discomfort
  4. Take a lukewarm bath to help cool down the body
  5. Wear lightweight and comfortable clothing
  6. Avoid strenuous physical activity until your temperature returns to normal


Q: Can a Fever Be Dangerous?

A: While most fevers are not dangerous, high fever (over 104°F) can cause seizures.

Q: Should I Go to Work if I Have a Fever?

A: No. If you have a fever, you should stay at home until your fever is gone.

Q: When is a Fever Considered a Medical Emergency?

A: A fever is considered a medical emergency if it is accompanied by severe headache, stiff neck, difficulty breathing, seizures, or chest pain.

Q: Can a Fever Cause Dehydration?

A: Yes. Fevers can cause dehydration due to the excessive sweating.

Q: Should I Give Medication to My Child If He/She Has a Fever?

A: Yes, you can give over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen to help reduce the fever and alleviate any pain or discomfort. However, it is always best to consult your child’s pediatrician before giving any medication.

Q: Can a Fever Help Fight Off an Infection?

A: Yes. Fever is the body’s natural response to fighting off an infection. It helps to increase the production of white blood cells and antibodies to fight off the pathogens.

Q: Can a Fever be a Symptom of the Flu?

A: Yes. A fever is a common symptom of the flu, along with other symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, and body aches.

Q: How Long Does a Fever Last?

A: The duration of a fever depends on its underlying cause. Most fevers resolve within a few days with treatment.

Q: Should I Take Antibiotics for a Fever?

A: It depends on the underlying cause of your fever. If it is due to a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. However, if the fever is due to a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective.

Q: Can I Get COVID-19 If I Have a Fever?

A: A fever can be a symptom of COVID-19, along with other symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing. If you have a fever, it is important to get tested for COVID-19 and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Q: What Happens if I Ignore my Fever?

A: Ignoring a fever can lead to complications such as dehydration, febrile seizures, and in severe cases, organ damage or death.


A fever is a sign that your body is fighting off an infection or an underlying medical condition. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a fever can help you take appropriate actions to manage your symptoms and prevent complications. Remember to take your temperature regularly with a thermometer, especially during the ongoing pandemic, and to contact your doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment.

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