Fighting a Fever: When to Seek Medical Attention

You should only battle a fever on your own under certain conditions

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- We've all experienced that spike in body temperature, the wave of chills and the exhaustion a fever causes. But do you know when you should battle it on your own and when it's time to see the doctor?
 
There's a whole host of causes for a fever. It occurs when your body's immune system responds to fever-producing substances called pyrogens. Eyewitness News reporter Mark Hiller followed a patient Tuesday who decided it was time to get medical help for his prolonged fever.
 
It's the last place 50-year-old Walter Smith wanted to be this winter: at an urgent care center because he is sick. What started as a headache and congestion for the Forty Fort man escalated into a fever. "So, I was upstairs into the bed and just progressively worse. The chills."
 
On his 5th day of feeling ill, he headed to Geisinger Careworks in Plains Township for treatment. In Walter's case, the real giveaway that it was time to see a specialist was he was dealing with his symptoms for nearly a week. Despite taking fever-fighting, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, his body temperature kept returning to that 100.4 or greater range. Geisinger Physician Assistant Katlyn Rushing said, "If you're having a fever for a week in an adult I would definitely come and get checked."
 
Another reason it's time to seek medical attention, she said, is when it's not just a fever you're fighting. "So, if it's fever and a sore throat, fever and body aches and chills. Those are all things that would concern us."
 
Since Walter had more than a fever and whatever's ailing him still hadn't run its course, he realized he needed help to fight what's making him feel so miserable.  "You just drag. You feel like you have weights on your body and you're just, you're out of energy and you're really low. You just want to find someplace to lay down and cover up and not be bothered." Getting under the covers even though you have a fever is an attempt to reach the new temperature that is higher than your baseline. Walter was diagnosed with the flu.
 
The rules concerning fevers are slightly different for kids. Any infant under 3 months with a fever of 100.4 or higher should see a doctor even with no other symptoms. For 3 to 6 months, it's 101 or higher and over 6 months it's 103 or higher. Seek immediate medical help if your child, no matter the age, has a fever of 104 or greater.

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