When To Go To The ER For Fever: Signs To Look Out For Depending On Age

How To Alleviate Fever Symptoms On Infants, Children And Adults

Different people seem to be prone to catching different kinds of common illnesses—one person may be more susceptible to stomach bugs, while another upper respiratory illness. Regardless of what you may contract, one nearly universal symptom for illnesses of all stripes is a fever.

Fever is normal, it is a natural part of the body’s immune response. A fever is typically your body’s response when fighting an infection of some kind. It may last a few hours or a few days and is often accompanied by a headache, upset stomach, sore throat, chills, achy muscles, cough or fatigue.

While fevers alone are often self limiting and can usually be managed at home, certain fevers are a reason to go to The Emergency Center.

Effective at Home Fever Remedies

Although thermometers to measure body temperature have come a long way since the silver-tipped glass tubes that went under the tongue (or elsewhere), the at-home treatment for fever hasn’t changed much over the past several decades.

It may be best to let minor fevers, 99˚-101˚, run their course, as they can be useful in battling microbes causing the illness. For high temperature:

  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed (or alternate between the two)
  • Drink plenty of water or hydrating sports drinks
  • Soak in a lukewarm bath or use a cool compress on the forehead
  • Eat a popsicle
  • Wear light clothing
  • Rest
  • Turn the air conditioning down

One of the risks associated with fever is dehydration, making getting plenty of fluids all the more important. Also, it may be ok for adults, but children with fever should avoid aspirin. It’s also important to note that these remedies, including over-the-counter medications, can help lower fever but may not normalize it.  Remember, lowering your fever with these remedies is only temporarily fixing it, but it is not addressing the main illness which is causing the fever.

When To Call a Doctor For A Fever

Call your doctor’s office for fevers that do not decrease in response to medication or at-home remedies. Or, if it’s after-hours, seek care at a facility like The Emergency Center. Be prepared to provide information on when the fever began, other symptoms, other health conditions, any close contacts who have been ill and how you have tried to address the fever.

When To Go To The ER For a Fever In Infants, Children & Adults

Whether or not a fever qualifies for an immediate trip to The Emergency Center is not solely a function of how high it is. There are different criteria for adults, children and infants on when to seek emergency care.

Infants (age 0-3 months)

Infants with a temperature of 100.4˚F should seek medical care immediately.  If a fever is below that but the infant also has:

  • Rash
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Not eating
  • Non-stop crying


A fever greater than 102˚F for two days or longer. Also, any fever that is accompanied by:

  • Problems waking the child up or loss of consciousness
  • Any issues with breathing or swallowing
  • Inability to urinate or keep fluids down (uncontrolled vomiting)
  • Rash
  • Pain in the stomach


Healthy adults should go to The Emergency Center immediately with a fever of 105˚F or higher. Also, any fever linked with these symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing, swallowing or keeping fluids down
  • Severe headache, stomach pain, or chest pain
  • Problems/pain urinating

Visit The Emergency Center When a Fever Becomes an Emergency

Anyone who has a compromised immune system should emergency care for a fever, as thresholds may be lower. Also, particularly relevant for summer in the South, if someone develops a high fever after spending time in the heat, they should visit The Emergency Center for potential heat exhaustion or stroke.

Regardless of the reason, The Emergency Center is equipped to bring down any fever that’s bringing you or a family member down.

Enjoy life. We’ll be here for the bumps along the way.


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The Emergency Center

San Antonio
11320 Alamo Ranch Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78253

Phone: 210-485-3644