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Fever Facts

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Causes of Fever continued...

In response to an infection, illness, or some other cause, the hypothalamus may reset the body to a higher temperature.

Although the most common causes of fever are common infections such as colds and gastroenteritis, other causes include:

  • Infections of the ear, lung, skin, throat, bladder, or kidney
  • Conditions that cause inflammation
  • Side effects of drugs
  • Cancer
  • Vaccines

Other causes of fever include:

Diagnosis of Fever

Although a fever is easy to measure, determining its cause can be hard. Besides a physical exam, your doctor will ask about symptoms and conditions, medications, and if you've recently traveled to areas with infections or have other infection risks. A malaria infection, for example, may be have a fever that typically recurs. Some areas of the U.S. are hotspots for infections such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Sometimes, you may have a "fever of unknown origin." In such cases, the cause could be an unusual or not obvious condition such as a chronic infection, a connective tissue disorder, cancer, or another problem.

Treatments for Fever

Treatments vary depending on the cause of the fever. For example, antibiotics would be used for a bacterial infection such as strep throat.

The most common treatments for fever include over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Children and teens should not take aspirin because it's linked to condition called Reye’s syndrome.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 23, 2013
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