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What Is a Fever?

A fever is a temporary increase in your body temperature, often due to an illness, like the flu. Before a fever hits, however, you may actually experience chills—a possible indicator of a fever to come.1 Chills are a way for your body to generate heat, and are a result of the rapid contraction and relaxation of your muscles.1 It’s part of your body’s defense system, as a slight fever activates your body’s immune system, making it harder for the bacteria and viruses that cause the infections to survive. The persistent muscle contraction and relaxation. If you have a fever, it’s a pretty good bet that something out of the ordinary is going on with your body.Learn what a fever feels like so you can treat your symptoms and find relief with the right products.

What does a fever feel like?

A fever is a sign that occurs when you have a higher-than-normal body temperature and usually indicates that your body is fighting off some type of infection.For most adults, a fever gives you a body temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.For kids, a fever can run anywhere from 99°F or higher, depending on where you measure their temperature. Individuals with a fever may feel additional symptoms, including:2

  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Shivering
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • General weakness

One important thing to note is that a person’s body temperature can fluctuate throughout the day, varying with normal activities or even from things like stress, heavy clothing, certain medications, a menstrual cycle, and exercise.5 This can make it harder to know if you have a fever. If you do experience higher than normal body temperatures without any other symptoms of illness, then you may not be experiencing a fever.5

What causes a fever?

There are many reasons why you can experience a fever, and usually the main cause is because of inflammation resulting from bacterial or viral infections like the flu. However, there are other reasons why you may be experiencing a fever or elevated body temperature, as the following medical problems are also associated with a fever:3

  • Extreme sunburn
  • Certain inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis—inflammation of the lining of your joints (synovium)
  • A cancerous (malignant) tumor
  • Some medications, such as antibiotics and drugs used to treat high blood pressure or seizures
  • Some immunizations, such as the diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP), pneumococcal vaccine, or COVID vaccine
  • Heat exhaustion

Is a fever serious?

Fevers generally go away on their own after a few days. However, if you’ve had a fever for more than 3 days, or if your temperature rises above 103° F (39.4° C), contact your doctor. If a high fever is left unchecked, it may cause hallucinations, confusion, and/or convulsions.3

How do you treat a fever?

Once you confirm you have a fever, you can start treating your symptoms. As always, when you're sick, you should drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, and in the case of a fever, try to stay as cool as possible.Avoid drinking alcohol and other drinks that may cause dehydration, since the infection and fever may already be causing dehydration in your body.5

For a low-grade fever, it’s often best to do nothing and let it run its course. In the case of a high-grade fever, you can take acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. ExpressMax® Severe Cold & Flu Syrup contains fever-reducing acetaminophen. It also includes ingredients that treat nasal congestion, cough, body aches, sore throat pain, headache, and chest congestion.

Call your child’s doctor if your child:3

  • Lacks energy, is confused or has poor eye contact with you
  • Is irritable, vomits repeatedly, has a severe headache or stomachache, sore throat or has any other symptoms causing significant discomfort
  • Has a fever that lasts longer than three days

Ask your child’s doctor for guidance in special circumstances, such as a child with immune system problems or with pre-existing illness.

For adults, call your doctor if your temperature is 103 F (39.4 C) or higher. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these signs or symptoms accompany your fever:3

  • Severe headache
  • Unusual skin rash, especially if the rash rapidly worsens
  • Unusual sensitivity to bright light
  • Stiff neck and pain when you bend your head forward
  • Mental confusion
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Abdominal pain or pain when urinating
  • Convulsions or seizures

Now that you know what a fever feels like, you’ll be ready the next time a high temperature strikes. Instead of suffering through your fever, find relief from your symptoms with Theraflu products. Theraflu products lower your fever while relieving your symptoms using acetaminophen—an antipyretic that cools your body temperature. Each Theraflu product includes this powerful ingredient for lasting relief.

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