You can try a number of things to make yourself more comfortable during fever:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fever can cause fluid loss and dehydration, so drink water, juices or broth.
- Rest. You need rest to recover and activity can raise your body temperature.
- Stay cool. Dress in light clothing, keep the room temperature cool and sleep with only a sheet or light blanket.
Taking a temperature
To check your temperature, you can choose from several types of thermometers, including oral, rectal, ear (tympanic) and forehead (temporal artery) thermometers.
Although it’s not the most accurate way to take a temperature, you can use an oral thermometer for an armpit (axillary) reading:
- Place the thermometer in the armpit and cross your arms over the chest.
- Wait four to five minutes. The axillary temperature is slightly lower than an oral temperature.
- If you call your doctor, report the actual number on the thermometer and where on the body you took the temperature.
You may be able to prevent fevers by reducing exposure to infectious diseases. Here are some tips that can help:
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating, after using the toilet, after spending time in a crowd or around someone who’s sick, after petting animals, and during travel on public transportation.
- Wash hands thoroughly, covering both the front and back of each hand with soap and rinsing completely under running water.
- Carry moist towelettes or hand sanitizer with you for times when you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Try to avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes, as these are the main ways that viruses and bacteria can enter your body and cause infection.
- Cover your mouth when you cough and your nose when you sneeze, and teach your children to do likewise. Whenever possible, turn away from others when coughing or sneezing to avoid passing germs along to them.
- Avoid sharing cups, water bottles and utensils with your child or children.
When to see a doctor
Fevers by themselves may not be a cause for alarm — or a reason to call a doctor. Yet there are some circumstances when you should seek medical advice for yourself.