Fever

A fever is defined as a temperature 1° or more above the normal 98.6°. Minor infections may cause mild or short-term temperature elevations. Temperatures of 103° and above are considered high and can signal a potentially dangerous infection. Contact your doctor in case of a high fever or if a lower fever doesn't resolve with simple treatments.

Our trusted Symptom Checker is written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals. Find a possible diagnosis by choosing a symptom and answering a few simple questions.

Remember, be sure to consult with you doctor if you feel you have a serious medical problem.

Step 2

Answering Questions

  • Is the person an infant or child?

  • Does your fever come and go and does your temperature stay between 97° and 102°?

  • Have you had a fever for weeks along with tiredness and a sore throat?

  • Do you have a sore throat, a dry cough, tiredness, mild headaches or muscle aches?

  • Do you have aches, chills, nausea, vomiting, cramps or watery diarrhea?

  • Are you short of breath and do you have a cough that produces yellow, green or tan mucus?

  • Have you lost weight unintentionally and do you have a fever that comes and goes, night sweats or swollen lymph nodes?

  • Do you have a fever between 101° and 103°?

  • Do you have a sore throat and headache?

  • Do you have stomach pain, nausea and/or vomiting?

  • Do you have a rash that’s red, tender and warm or a red streak on your arm or leg?

  • Do you have an earache?

  • Have you been outside under high temperatures and are you feeling nauseous or faint?

  • Have you recently started taking a new medicine?

  • Is your temperature consistently above 103°?

  • Are you short of breath or are you coughing up mucus or blood?

  • Are you experiencing pain or burning when you urinate, or do you have back pain?

  • Do you have a severe headache, neck stiffness, drowsiness and vomiting, and are your eyes sensitive to light?

  • Have you been outside in extremely hot weather, and are you hot but not sweating, possibly feeling faint or having some confusion?

Step 3

Possible Causes

  • See Fever in Infants and Children
  • Diagnosis

    You may have MONONUCLEOSIS.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a COLD or FLU.


    Self Care

    Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Over-the-counter- medicines may help relieve your symptoms. See your doctor if your symptoms become severe. Prevent the flu by getting the flu vaccine in the fall.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have GASTROENTERITIS, an intestinal infection commonly called the STOMACH FLU.


    Self Care

    Get plenty of rest. Stop eating and drinking for a few hours to let your stomach settle. Ease back into eating gradually and start with bland foods. Take small, frequent sips of water or clear liquids to avoid dehydration. See your doctor if you have bloody diarrhea, if you’ve been vomiting for more than 2 days or if you’re vomiting blood.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have BRONCHITIS, or a more serious infection, such as PNEUMONIA.


    Self Care


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a serious infection, such as TUBERCULOSIS or AIDS.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a bacterial infection, such as STREP THROAT.


    Self Care

    Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and treat yourself with cold and fever-reducing medicines. If you don’t feel better in 48 hours, see your doctor. A quick test can determine whether you have strep throat. Antibiotics are effective in treating the bacteria that causes this infection.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a severe medical problem, such as APPENDICITIS, DIVERTICULITIS, PANCREATITIS, HEPATITIS or COLITIS.


    Self Care

    EMERGENCY
    See your doctor or go to the emergency room right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have an infection of the skin or lymph system, such as CELLULITIS or LYMPHANGITIS.


    Self Care

    Both conditions need to be treated with antibiotics. See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a middle ear infection (OTITIS MEDIA) or an outer ear infection (SWIMMER’S EAR or OTITIS EXTERNA).


    Self Care

    These infections could lead to complications if not treated. See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have HEAT EXHAUSTION.


    Self Care

    Drink cool liquids and rest in a cool location. Lay down and elevate your legs slightly. Recheck your temperature often until it has returned to normal. If your temperature goes higher, have someone take you to the emergency room.


  • Diagnosis

    Your fever may be a side effect of your MEDICINE.


    Self Care

    Call your doctor.


  • Diagnosis


    Self Care


  • Diagnosis

    You may have PNEUMONIA or PULMONARY EMBOLUS.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have PYELONEPHRITIS, a kidney infection.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have MENINGITIS, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.


    Self Care

    EMERGENCY
    See your doctor or go to the emergency room right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have HEATSTROKE.


    Self Care

    EMERGENCY
    Have someone take you to the emergency room right away. Get out of the sun and go somewhere shady or air-conditioned.


  • Diagnosis


    Self Care

    EMERGENCY
    Have someone take you to the emergency room right away. Get out of the sun and go somewhere shady or air-conditioned.