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How can I treat fever in adults?

Fever can be an unpleasant experience, leaving you feeling weak and under the weather.

Most often, it is not a cause for concern and can be treated at home, although sometimes you may need to seek help from a healthcare professional.

We look at what you can do to help relieve fever in adults, along with some facts about the causes of fever and when to seek medical help.

We’ll also give you some tips on how to keep healthy and reduce your chances of getting a fever.

What is a fever in adults?

Fever in adults is a temperature of 38°C or higher. It’s the body’s way of fighting infection and is a natural process.

Fever symptoms can include:

  • Shivering
  • Sweating
  • Warm, red skin
  • Headaches
  • Aching muscles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling generally unwell

You can use the Fever Symptom Checker on the healthdirect website for further guidance.

What causes fever in adults?

There are a number of different causes of fever. These include:

  • Viral infections, such as COVID-19
  • Bacterial infections
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Some medications — for example, certain antibiotics or drugs used to treat high blood pressure
  • A tumour

Sometimes fever appears in adults after vaccine. Fever in adults after surgery is unusual but also possible.

Know that in some cases, it just isn’t possible to find out the cause of fever, but this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

How to treat fever in adults at home

Fever in adults can be treated at home by:

  • Drinking lots of fluids to keep cool
  • Eating plain food that is easy to digest
  • Using cooling patches. Originally designed for children, they work well for adults too!
  • Resting as much as possible
  • Taking medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol according to the packet instructions to relieve symptoms
  • Taking a tepid bath
  • Wearing light, cool clothes

It’s also important to keep track of your temperature so you know if it continues to rise. An infrared forehead thermometer is a great choice for this. It gives a reading in one second, is simple to use and will help you keep a record of the affected person’s temperature.

Fever in adults: When to worry

While most cases of fever in adults are over within a few days, sometimes they may be a sign of a serious condition.

You should get advice from a doctor straight away if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • A temperature of 40°C or over
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Confusion or 'brain fog'
  • Stiff neck
  • Intolerance to light
  • Headache with vomiting or nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe pain
  • Inflammation or swelling anywhere in the body
  • Pain when urinating

A continuous fever with one or more of these symptoms may be part of a serious illness such as typhoid, bacterial meningitis or a severe urinary tract infection.

You should let your doctor know if you are having treatment for a serious illness such as cancer or are living with a chronic condition such as:

  • Chronic lung disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy

How to avoid getting a fever

Everyone will suffer from a fever at some point. However, there are some simple steps you can take to lead a healthy lifestyle and reduce the chances of getting an infection that may cause fever.

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water at regular intervals throughout the day. This is especially important after using the bathroom, before preparing food or eating, and when you have come in from outside the home.
  • Use sanitiser between washing your hands to reduce the chance of infection.
  • Wear a face mask in public places.
  • Don’t share personal items such as cups and toothbrushes.
  • Try to avoid touching your face.
  • Eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables to get the vitamins and minerals you need to boost your immune system.
  • Exercise regularly to keep you healthy.

Making treating fever a breeze

While a fever is the body’s natural defence against infections, it can leave you feeling unwell and weak. But there are lots of simple things you can try at home to feel better.

FeverMates offers a range of products to help you do this, so why not stock up your medicine cabinet and be prepared in case fever strikes?

We aim to make treating fever in both children and adults a breeze with our innovative items such as thermometers and cooling patches. It’s all about helping you to live a healthy life every day!

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