Fevers can be scary because they signal an underlying illness and can make you or your child lethargic and miserable. Most of the time, you can wait out a fever, taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen and getting enough fluids to prevent dehydration. But it’s important to know when a fever needs medical attention.
David Leszkowitz, DO, and the caring team at White Lake Family Medicine provide comprehensive care for families, including urgent care for fevers. They offer these guidelines for when to seek urgent care.
The average body temperature is 98.6º Fahrenheit (F). However, it varies depending on age, the time of day, activity level, and where you take your temperature. That’s why your temperature can fall between 97°F to 99°F and still be within a normal range.
You have a fever when your temperature rises above the normal range, but having a fever doesn’t always mean you need urgent care.
Fevers are the body’s natural response when fighting an illness or infection. In most cases, fevers develop as a result of the following:
You or your child may have a fever after getting immunizations. Additionally, some medications cause a fever. For example, certain antibiotics and medicines that treat high blood pressure or seizures may cause a fever.
Heat stroke raises your body temperature — and needs emergency care — but it’s not the same as a fever. When you have a fever, your brain stays in control, shifts your temperature set point higher, and keeps your body systems working.
By comparison, heat stroke makes your temperature rise so rapidly that it overcomes your body’s ability to adjust. Without emergency attention, heat stroke can damage your heart, brain, kidneys, and other organs.
Before discussing urgent care, we want to remind parents that they should never give children aspirin for a fever. Aspirin increases your child’s risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, which may cause brain swelling and liver damage.
You should seek urgent care at White Lake Family Medicine when your child has a fever at or above:
Children also need urgent care if their fever lasts longer than several days or is accompanied by any of the following:
It’s also important to contact White Lake Family Medicine if your child is dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include crying without producing tears, fewer wet diapers, sunken eyes, lethargy, and extreme thirst.
Adults need urgent care when they have a fever of 103°F or higher. You should also seek urgent care if your fever lasts several days, keeps recurring, or you have any of the following:
Call the office anytime you’re unsure whether you or your child need urgent care. Our staff can ask a few questions, quickly assess the seriousness of the fever, and recommend the next step.
You can walk in for urgent care during office hours or schedule an appointment so we can be ready for your visit. Call White Lake Family Medicine or book online to arrange a same-day urgent care appointment at our White Lake, Michigan office.