This Is When You Should Be Worried About Your Fever

In the last year, you've probably had your temperature taken more times than you can count. Gone are the days when you could go about your business when feeling under the weather. If you've found yourself being much more vigilant about your body, you know a fever can be concerning.

In adults, a fever is typically nothing to worry about. However, with the increased awareness of your health and the health of others, it's a good idea to know more about what can cause fevers and how serious it may be in order to protect yourself and your loved ones.

A fever usually signals that your body is fighting some kind of illness or infection and that your immune system is working harder than it normally does when you're healthy (via Healthline). We'll tell you some more about what you need to know about your fever and when you should be concerned.

How do you know when you have a fever?

If you're not in the habit of regularly taking your temperature, a slight fever can sometimes sneak by you. The easiest way to tell if you have a fever is to check with a thermometer. You may also experience symptoms that will let you know if you have a fever.

According to the Mayo Clinic, fever can sometimes be accompanied by symptoms like sweating, muscle aches, or chills. If you notice that you have any of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to check your temperature. Your normal body temperature should be around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit; however, normal ranges for some people can be between 97 degrees and 99 degrees.

A fever is usually categorized as a body temperature that rises above the normal range to 100.4 degrees (via Insider). This is considered to be a low-grade fever. When your temperature reaches 103 degrees or higher, it's then categorized as high grade, per Healthline.

What is causing your fever?

Low-grade fevers are usually more common and can signal that your body is fighting one of many illnesses. If you've ever had a bad cold or the flu, you know that a fever sometimes accompanies these unpleasant illnesses. Other things your body might be fighting are strep throat, a sinus infection, bronchitis, or a urinary tract infection (via HealthGrades).

A fever can be a symptom of COVID-19 in some people. However, not everyone that contracts it will have a fever. A fever can also be a side effect of vaccination. This is not only true for the COVID-19 vaccine but many other vaccines as well. For this reason, if you have a low-grade fever, it's not a bad idea to seek medical advice before self-treating.

Additionally, viral, bacterial, or fungal infections can cause fevers, as can heat exhaustion, tumors, and blood clots (via Healthline). Again, if you do have a high-grade fever, you should contact your medical provider to get some guidance on how to best treat your fever and its symptoms.

How serious is your fever?

Some fevers can be treated by rest and hydration, but if you feel that your condition is more serious, you won't regret going to see a medical provider. Additionally, if your small child or baby has a fever, it's best to see the doctor right away, per the Mayo Clinic.

The presence of fever alone doesn't necessarily mean that there is something seriously wrong with you or that you won't be able to recover without medical attention. Your body is naturally disposed to take care of itself by activating your immune system to fight disease. Nevertheless, Healthline advises calling your doctor immediately if your fever is 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or if you have a fever — even a low-grade one — that lingers for over three days. Additionally, it's recommended that you seek medical attention if you experience a fever along with dizziness, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, muscle cramps, or confusion (via Healthline).