Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic

When to Seek Medical Care for a Fever

Nov 02, 2023
When to Seek Medical Care for a Fever
A fever is usually symptomatic of a cold, the flu, or other common illnesses. Generally, fevers aren’t cause for concern. However, that’s not always so. Read on to learn when home care is enough and when a fever requires that you seek treatment.

A fever often signals an underlying illness, such as the flu. It’s a sign that your immune system is fighting off intruders. 

A fever and its underlying cause usually resolve with home care. But sometimes, medical intervention is essential. 

With the start of our annual cold, flu, and COVID-19 season, the team at Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic, PLLC, in Waxahachie, Texas, offers guidelines to help you determine when a fever warrants a visit to our office.

Understanding fevers

A fever is an elevation in your usual body temperature. The standard body temperature is 98.6° F but fluctuates slightly from person to person. There is no shortage of reasons you can get a fever. 

Common triggers include:

  • Viruses
  • Bacterial infections
  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
  • Certain medications
  • Post-immunization responses

When a fever needs medical attention 

Your age, temperature reading, and additional symptoms determine how to handle a fever. Here are some readings to keep in mind.


A healthcare professional should evaluate an infant's temperature of 100.4° F or higher. 


For babies, toddlers, and children three months or older, a temperature higher than 102.2° F warrants a trip to our office. Children with even a low-grade fever who have significant conditions like cancer or sickle cell disease should always get evaluated by a medical professional.

Unattended, high fevers that persist for extended periods can lead to seizures, particularly in children.

Accompanying symptoms of concern

For all ages, seek medical attention immediately if a fever coincides with:

  • A stiff neck
  • Severe headache
  • Skin rash
  • Increased sensitivity to bright light
  • Mental confusion
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting  

If you’re unsure whether your or your child’s fever requires medical care, always err on the side of caution and give us a call.

Treating fevers

Most adults and children can manage low-grade fevers with increased fluid intake, over-the-counter fever-reducing medications, and rest.

Never give a child aspirin, which is associated with an increased risk for Reye's syndrome, a rare but severe condition that causes confusion, swelling in the brain, and liver damage.

Instead, relieve your child’s fever with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

Come see us if a fever is high or lasts longer than three to five days. The cause may be a bacterial infection that requires a course of antibiotics. 

An ounce of prevention

Staying current with immunizations is one of the best ways to prevent illnesses and health complications caused by contagious diseases. Keep yourself, your family, and your friends safe this fall and winter with appropriate vaccines. 

Call or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment with Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic today for your family’s primary healthcare needs.