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Find Emergency Care for High Fever


Any body temperature above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) is considered a fever. Normally, fever is a healthy immune response to a medical condition such as an infection. A high fever is anything over 100.4°F rectally for infants three months of age or younger, 104°F for children, and 103°F for adults. In a young infant, high fever can be a sign of serious infection. Seek emergency care immediately. 

Dignity Health doctors and nurses are trained to triage all types of emergencies and provide a full range of care. For high fever in the Bay Area, visit a Dignity Health hospital for first-rate emergency care.

Wait at home, not the ER. Use our Online Waiting Room to select your estimated arrival time.

What Causes Fever?

Bacterial or viral infection is usually the cause of a high fever.

Examples include encephalitis, meningitis, pneumonia, kidney infection, influenza (flu), and appendicitis. Fever can also be caused by noninfectious conditions, including drug reactions, cancer, and autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Common Fever Symptoms

A high fever may cause body aches, fatigue, weakness, sweats, chills, and loss of appetite. Call your doctor if a high fever lasts longer than 48 hours. 

Seek medical attention if the following symptoms occur with fever:

  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Hallucinations
  • Purplish-red, dotted rash
  • Rapid pulse or heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Severe abdominal pain, headache, or stiff neck 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual lethargy or drowsiness 

People who have recently traveled out of the county or who have chronic medical conditions should seek medical care as soon as possible for a high fever.

Get Treatment for High Fever at Dignity Health

People with high fevers usually feel much better after taking medicine to reduce the fever. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), are options. Your doctor will treat any underlying infection if necessary.

If you have a high fever, avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of liquids. Dress in layers and use layers of covers to adjust your comfort with sweats and chills. Get rest and eat so your body can fight the infection. Reach out to a doctor at Dignity Health if you need care today.

Dignity Health offers emergency treatment for high fever in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.