Fever Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Fever Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Fever is a condition of increasing body temperature above the average daily temperature. Find out the causes, symptoms, and how to treat fever here.


Medical specialist Internal medicine specialist, pediatrician
Symptoms Sweating, chills, joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, loss of appetite, weakness, dehydration, fussiness or restlessness in children
risk factor Allergic rhinitis ( hay fever ), bronchitis, sinusitis, arthritis
diagnosis Measurement of body temperature using a thermometer through the mouth (oral), anus (rectal), ear, armpit, and forehead
Treatment Maintain adequate body fluids, limit activities, get enough rest, try to keep the room temperature cool, compress or take a warm shower, febrifuge
Drug Paracetamol; ibuprofen
Complications Severe dehydration, hallucinations, brain damage, and febrile seizures (in children 6 months to 5 years).
When to See a Doctor? Fever reaching >39.4 degrees Celsius, fever for more than 3 days or intermittent for >7 days, red rash on the skin, difficulty breathing/chest pain, very weak/restless.


Fever is a condition of increasing body temperature above the average daily temperature.

Adults are considered to have a fever if their oral temperature measurement (by mouth) is above 38 degrees Celsius, or the rectal temperature (measured through the anus) or ear is above 38.3 degrees Celsius.

However, fever is often only a concern if the temperature has reached > 39.4 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, children and toddlers are considered to have a fever if their rectal temperature is >38 degrees Celsius. An elevated body temperature—even slightly—can be a sign of a serious infection.

Fever is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying disease.

Many experts say that fever is the body’s defense mechanism against infection.

Therefore, people of all ages can experience it. Related Article: Rheumatic Fever Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Fever is easy to measure, but determining the cause is quite difficult. Generally, this condition is a response to:

  • Infection is the most common cause of fever. The most common infections that cause fever are upper respiratory, gastrointestinal, lung, and urinary tract infections.
  • Drug side effects, such as antibiotics, narcotics, and antihistamines.
  • Trauma or serious injuries, such as heart attacks, strokes, and burns.
  • Non-infectious diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, and arthritis.
  • Immunization side effects in children. Related Article:- Get to know the Habitat and Habits of Dengue Fever Mosquitoes to Easily Overcome it


Depending on the cause, some of the symptoms and signs that can accompany a fever are:

  • sweating
  • shivering
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • muscle ache
  • loss of appetite
  • suffocation
  • dehydration
  • High fever ranging from 39.4 – 41.1 degrees Celsius can cause hallucinations, disorientation, seizures, anxiety, and shock due to dehydration.
  • fussy or restless in children

Risk Factors

Those with chronic conditions are generally most at risk for fever, especially low-grade fever.  Related Article: 5 Easy Ways to Lower High Fever

These conditions may include:

  • rhinitis Alergi (hay fever)
  • bronchitis
  • sinusitis
  • arthritis


To diagnose fever or not, it is necessary to measure body temperature using a thermometer.

Body temperature during fever is generally measured at the mouth (oral), anus (rectal), ears, armpits, and forehead.

The results obtained vary, depending on the location of the temperature measurement.

Here is a general comparison:

  • The average normal oral temperature is 37 degrees Celsius.
  • Rectal and ear temperatures are 0.3–0.6 degrees Celsius higher than oral temperatures.
  • Armpit and forehead temperatures are usually 0.3–0.6 degrees Celsius lower than oral temperatures.
  • Measurements from the armpits, ears and forehead are easier to take than from the anus and mouth, but the results are less accurate.
  • In infants and toddlers, it is recommended to take rectal or oral temperatures.

When you are healthy, take your temperature in the morning and at night.

This will help one know what the average basal temperature (the lowest normal temperature) is.

If there is a slight increase, it can be a sign of something in the body.

Normal body temperature can vary. More or less can be different 0.6 degrees Celsius in a day.

To get accurate body temperature results, before measuring you should wait at least 20-30 minutes after smoking, eating, or consuming hot or cold drinks.

At least wait 1 hour if after exercising or taking a hot shower.


How to treat a specific fever depends on the cause and age of the sufferer.

In adulthood, you can contact a specialist in internal medicine or a pediatrician for infants and children.

Not all fevers need to be treated because it is a sign that something is not normal in the body.

Fever is also really needed. The reason is that an increase in body temperature will increase the amount of the body’s defenses, making it difficult for bacteria and viruses to multiply.

Handling and how to get rid of fever at home can be done by:

  • Maintain adequate body fluids. Fever can cause significant loss of body fluids, putting you at risk of dehydration.

Therefore, people with fever are advised to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and consume ORS, juice or broth.

These fluids can replace water, salt, and ions lost by fever.

  • Limit activities and get enough rest.
  • Try to keep the room temperature cool. Wear loose and comfortable clothes. Avoid using blankets that are too thick while sleeping because it will increase body temperature.
  • Compress or take a warm bath.
  • Fever reducer. As a note, the use of febrifuge is generally not recommended for mild fever (<38.3oC) because it can disguise the symptoms of an illness. In effect, it can make it difficult to determine the cause of the fever.

Related Drugs

Fever-reducing drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used. However, keep in mind, this drug only treats the symptoms of fever, not to treat the underlying disease.


Fever can be prevented by minimizing exposure to microorganisms that cause infection. These actions can be performed.

  • Washing hands with soap and water before and after eating, after traveling, after using the toilet, after visiting sick people, and after contact with pets.
  • Wash your hands properly using soap and running water.
  • Always carry wet wipes or hand sanitizer when traveling.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes, especially when you have a cold. These three areas are the main route for viruses and bacteria to enter and cause infection.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough, and your nose when you sneeze.
  • Use a mask when you have coughs and colds so you don’t infect other people.
  • Avoid sharing cutlery with other people.


Complications that can arise from fever are severe dehydration, hallucinations, damage to the brain, and febrile seizures (in children aged 6 months to 5 years).

When to see a doctor?

Fever in children and toddlers may not be caused by a serious illness if the general condition of your little one is still good.

Signs the child’s condition is still good, including:

  • Good eye contact
  • Responds well to parents’ voices and expressions
  • Able to eat, drink, and play

In adults, see a doctor immediately, especially if you have a fever and are accompanied by the following conditions:

  • Have just returned from traveling from an area endemic for infectious diseases, such as dengue, malaria, yellow fever
  • Have just been discharged from the hospital, had surgery, or another medical procedure
  • Frequent infections
  • Currently on chemotherapy (especially if the oral temperature is > 37.8oC for more than one hour or > 38.3oC at any one time)
  • Have a history of medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus, or sickle cell anemia
  • Hamil

The following conditions also require an immediate doctor’s examination:

  • High fever reached > 39.4 degrees Celsius
  • Fever lasts more than 3 days or comes and goes for >7 days
  • Fever accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Red rash on the skin
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Severe headache or neck pain
  • Seizures or disturbance of consciousness
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea
  • Severe pain in the stomach/waist / back
  • Very weak or restless
  • Pain when urinating
  • Experiencing muscle weakness or decreased sensation of touch
  • Other symptoms are unusual, or alarming

Leave a Comment