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Fever and Lupus

Fever is often a part of lupus. For some people with lupus, an intermittent (coming and going) or continuous low-grade fever may be normal. Other people, especially those on large doses of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or corticosteroids, may not have fever at all because these drugs may mask a fever.

If you have lupus, you may be more vulnerable to certain infections than are other people without lupus. In addition, you may be more prone to infection if you are taking any immunosuppressive drugs for your lupus. Be alert to a temperature that is new or higher than normal for you, because it could be a sign of a developing infection or a lupus flare.

Recommended Related to Lupus

WebMD 5: Our Expert's A's to Your Top Lupus Q's

About 1.5 million Americans have lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE), the most common form), according to the Lupus Foundation of America. The majority, 90%, are women, who usually develop the disease between ages 15 and 44. African-American, Hispanic, and Asian women have a higher risk. Eliza Chakravarty, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of immunology and rheumatology at Stanford University School of Medicine, sheds light on a disease you might not know much about.

Read the WebMD 5: Our Expert's A's to Your Top Lupus Q's article > >

Caring For Yourself

  • Take your temperature at least once a day (or more often if needed) to determine what a "normal" temperature is for you.
  • Take your temperature and watch for a fever any time you feel chills or do not feel well.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you have a new or higher-than-normal temperature.
  • Even if you don't have a fever, don't hesitate to call your doctor if you do not feel well in any way, particularly if you are taking aspirin, NSAIDs, or a corticosteroid. Signs of infection other than a fever include unusual pain, cramping or swelling, a headache with neck stiffness, cold or flu symptoms, trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in urine or stool.
  • Talk to your doctor about immunization against pneumococcal pneumonia and the flu.
  • Practice good personal hygiene.
  • Avoid large crowds and people who are sick.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

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