Temperature can be taken orally, rectally, or under the armpit.
A person is considered feverish if oral temperature is above 100º F (37.8 C) or rectal temperature is above 100.7º F (38.2 C). Temperatures measured under the armpit are not considered as accurate and can be as much as 1º F lower than an oral measurement.
A temperature below 100.4º (38 C) is considered a low-grade or mild fever. It means that the body is responding to an infection.
2. Treat Fever, if Necessary
No treatment is necessary for a mild fever unless the person is uncomfortable. If the fever is 102º or higher:
Give an over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as directed on the label. Warning: Do NOT give aspirin to anyone age 18 or younger unless directed to do so by a doctor.
Bathing or sponging in lukewarm water may bring the temperature down. Do not use cold water or alcohol.
Have the person wear light clothing and use a light cover or sheet -- overdressing can make body temperature go up. If the person gets chills, use an extra blanket until they go away.
3. Give Liquids
Have the person drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
4. When to Contact a Doctor
Seek medical help immediately if the person has:
A history of serious illness such as AIDS, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, or if the person is taking immunosuppressant drugs
A high fever that doesn't respond to fever-reducing medicine
Been exposed to extremely hot weather and feels hot but is not sweating
A stiff neck, is confused, or has trouble staying awake
Severe pain in the lower abdomen
Severe stomach pain, vomits repeatedly, or has severe diarrhea
Skin rashes, blisters, or a red streak on an arm or leg
A severe sore throat, severe swelling of the throat, or a persistent earache
Pain with urination, back pain, or shaking chills.
A severe cough, coughs up blood, or has trouble breathing
5. Follow Up
Contact a doctor if the high body temperature lasts for more than three days or gets worse.