Fever treatment: Quick guide to treating a fever
A fever is a common sign of illness, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, fevers seem to play a key role in fighting infections. So should you treat a fever or let the fever run its course? Here's help making the call.
These recommendations are for otherwise healthy people — for instance, those who are not immunocompromised or taking chemotherapy drugs and haven't recently had surgery.
Up to 102 F (38.9 C) taken rectally for children age 3 and younger, or taken orally for children older than 3
Encourage your child to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Medication isn't needed. Call the doctor if your child seems unusually irritable or lethargic or complains of significant discomfort.
Above 102 F (38.9 C) taken rectally for children age 3 and younger, or taken orally for children older than 3
If your child seems uncomfortable, give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others). Read the label carefully for proper dosage, and be careful not to give your child more than one medication containing acetaminophen, such as some cough and cold medicines. Avoid giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Call the doctor if the fever doesn't respond to the medication or lasts longer than three days.
18 years and up
Up to 102 F (38.9 C) taken orally
Rest and drink plenty of fluids. Medication isn't needed. Call the doctor if the fever is accompanied by a severe headache, stiff neck, shortness of breath, or other unusual signs or symptoms.