Fever in Adults Treatments

Medically Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on November 20, 2022
2 min read
  • Unresponsive
  • Wheezing or has difficulty breathing
  • Appearing blue in the lips
  • Having convulsions or seizures
  • Speaking in a confused or altered way 

Also seek emergency medical help for any of the following:

  • A fever combined with a stiff neck or headache
  • Temperature above 105 F
  • Fever with sudden onset of rash


  • Temperature can be taken orally, rectally, or under the armpit.
  • A person is typically considered feverish if oral temperature is above 100 F (37.8 C) or rectal temperature is above 99.5 F (37.5 C). Temperatures measured under the armpit are not considered as accurate and can be as much as 1 degree F lower than an oral measurement.
  • A temperature above normal but below 100.4 F (38 C) is sometimes considered a low-grade or mild fever. It may mean that the body is responding to an infection.



No treatment is necessary for a mild fever unless the person is uncomfortable. If the fever is 102 or higher:

  • Give an over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as directed on the label. Check with your doctor first if you have any medical conditions or take other medicines. 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.
  • Have the person drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

Seek medical help immediately if the person has:

Contact a doctor if the high body temperature lasts for more than 3 days or gets worse.