A fever is a normal reaction of your body to an illness. The temperature itself often isn’t harmful. It actually helps your body fight infections. You don’t need to treat a fever unless you feel very uncomfortable.
Follow these tips to take care of yourself at home:
If you feel warm, check your temperature.
Dress in light clothing. This will help you lose extra body heat through your skin. The fever will go up if you wear extra layers or wrap in blankets.
Fever causes your body to lose water through evaporation. Drink lots of fluids. These include water, juice, clear sodas, ginger ale, or lemonade.
You can take acetaminophen every 4 to 6 hours if:
If you can’t take or keep down oral medicine, ask your pharmacist for acetaminophen suppositories. You don’t need a prescription for these.
If the fever doesn’t get better within 1 hour after you take acetaminophen, take ibuprofen. If this works, keep taking the ibuprofen every 6 to 8 hours.
If you have chronic liver or kidney disease, talk with your healthcare provider before taking these medicines. Also talk with your provider if you ever had a stomach ulcer or GI (gastrointestinal) bleeding.
If either medicine alone doesn’t keep the fever down, you may switch off between the 2 medicines every 3 to 4 hours. But do this only if your healthcare provider has told you to. For example, take ibuprofen. Wait 3 hours. Then take acetaminophen. Wait 3 hours. Take ibuprofen, and so on. Follow your provider’s instructions exactly.
Don't give aspirin to anyone younger than age 19 who is ill with a fever. Aspirin can cause serious side effects such as liver damage and Reye syndrome. Although rare, Reye syndrome is a very serious illness. It most often occurs in children younger than age 15. The syndrome is closely linked to the use of aspirin or aspirin-containing medicine during a viral infection.
Call your healthcare provider if you get a fever after visiting a place where infectious diseases are common. Many people pick up a cold or other virus while traveling. This often goes away without a problem. But some places have more serious diseases. Fever with certain other symptoms may mean you have a serious illness. Symptoms to watch for include diarrhea, skin rashes, insect bites, and skin boils, or infections. Your provider may ask you:
What you did on your trip
How long you were there
Where you traveled and where you stayed (hotel, native house, tent)
What you ate and drank
If you were bitten by insects or other bugs
If you swam in freshwater
If you had sex or got a tattoo or piercing while you were there
Check the CDC to get more information about specific infectious diseases in the places you have traveled.