Fever is usually accompanied with a variety of other symptoms, and depending on the underlying cause, the combination can be useful in diagnosing a particular condition, allergy or infection.
Some associated signs and symptoms include:
- Shivering or feeling cold (unexplained)
- Joint and muscle aches
- Body weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Confusion and concentration problems
- Hallucinations or delirium
- Hyperalgesia (pain sensitivity)
When should you worry about a fever?
When to worry depends on a person’s age and level of risk. Infants and young children, for instance, are at particularly high-risk of serious fever-related complications. You should consult a medical professional as soon as possible in the following scenarios:
- Infants and babies: If an infant has a rectal temperature of at least 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit), you should consult with your healthcare professional immediatly so that a thorough examination can be conducted and treatment administered. It is important to seek medical assistance immediately so that the fever can be lowered before it causes any complications.
- Children and teenagers: If a child has a fever, but is responsive (i.e. making eye contact and responding with facial expressions and speech or conversation), there is generally no major cause for alarm. If a child is not drinking fluids, is irritable or listless, has a severe headache or abdominal pain, poor eye contact and is repeatedly vomiting along with fever, seek medical attention. Other warning signs whereby medical attention should be sought include if a child develops fever after being inside a hot car for a period of time or has a fever that lasts for at least 2 days or longer.
- Adults: If an adult experiences a fever that is at least 37.5 to 38 degrees Celsius (99.5 to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher, for 2 days or longer, a consultation with a healthcare provider should be booked. Immediate medical attention is necessary if a person experiences other symptoms along with fever, including severe swelling in the throat, difficulties with swallowing, severe headache, a sensitivity to bright light, unusual skin rash (or skin that appears red, swollen and feels warm or hot), a stiff neck, persistent vomiting, chest pain, breathing difficulties, mental confusion, abdominal pain, pain while urinating, blood in stool (faeces), swelling in the legs, sensory changes, muscle weakness, extreme irritability or seizure.