Fever Discharge Information

What is a fever?

Fever is defined as a body temperature that is 1 or more degrees higher than normal. Normal body temperature varies from person to person, by age, by the time of day, and by the part of the body where it is measured. Other factors such as strenuous exercise, medicines, or even excitement can also affect body temperature.

Different types of thermometers are available to measure your temperature in different parts of your body. For example, there are thermometers that measure temperature in the mouth, ear, armpit, or rectum or on the forehead. Temperatures measured in the different areas may be different by one-half to 1 degree.

Fever can be a sign that the body is fighting an infection or that you have a medical problem, such as dehydration, a hormone disorder, certain cancers, an immune system problem, or a reaction to certain medicines that you are taking. Most often, the fever is associated with other symptoms of illness. Sometimes, the cause of the fever may not be known.

How can I take care of myself when I go home?

How long it takes to get better depends on the cause of your fever, your treatment, how well you recover, your overall health, and any complications you may have.


  • Your provider will give you a list of your medicines when you leave the hospital.
    • Know your medicines. Know what they look like, how much you should take each time, how often you should take them, and why you take each one.
    • Take your medicines exactly as your provider tells you to.
    • Carry a list of your medicines in your wallet or purse. Include any nonprescription medicines and supplements on the list.
  • Your provider may prescribe medicine to:
    • Reduce your fever
    • Treat or prevent an infection


  • Follow your provider’s instructions for follow-up appointments.
  • Keep appointments for any routine testing you may need.
  • Talk with your provider about any questions or fears you have.

Diet, Exercise, and Other Lifestyle Changes

  • Follow the treatment plan your healthcare provider prescribes.
  • Get plenty of rest while you’re recovering. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine light yellow in color, unless you are told to limit fluids.
  • Dress in light, comfortable clothing.
  • Keep the room cool, but not uncomfortable.
  • Bathe or sponge yourself with lukewarm water.

Call emergency medical services or 911 if you have a fever with new or worsening:

  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Trouble staying awake or alert

If you have any of these symptoms, do not drive yourself.

Call your healthcare provider if you have new or worsening:

  • Fever of 103 degrees F (39.5 degrees C) or higher that does not get better with treatment
  • Fever of 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C) or higher that lasts longer than 2 days even with treatment
  • Fever and any of the following symptoms:
    • Severe headache or a headache that does not go away with treatment
    • Severe pain when you straighten your neck or back
    • Vomiting
    • Sensitivity to bright lights
    • Abdominal pain
    • Back pain
    • Pain or burning with urination
    • Redness, swelling, tenderness, or other signs of infection on the skin
Developed by RelayHealth.
Acute Care Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-04-30
Last reviewed: 2014-04-14
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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