How Does the ER Treat High Fever?

When it comes to fevers, it can be a scary experience for anyone, especially parents with young children. If the fever goes up too high, it can quickly become dangerous, leading to seizures or even brain damage. That’s why it’s important to know how to properly treat a high fever and when it may be necessary to seek medical attention.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how the emergency room (ER) treats high fever, what to expect during a visit, and other important information you should know.

What is considered a high fever?

Before we dive into how the ER treats high fever, it’s essential to understand what is considered a high fever. A normal body temperature is typically around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Anything above that, up to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), is considered a low-grade fever. A high fever, on the other hand, is anything above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).

It’s important to note that a fever isn’t always an indicator of a severe illness. In fact, fever is a natural response by the body to fight off infection. However, if the fever continues to spike, and it’s not responding to home remedies, like rest or over-the-counter medication, it may be time to see a doctor.

How does the ER treat high fever?

When you arrive at the ER with a high fever, the first step is to check your vital signs. This includes taking your temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. Based on your vitals and other symptoms, the nurse or doctor may order additional tests, such as blood work or imaging.

The goal of treating a high fever is to reduce the temperature and identify the underlying cause. Depending on the severity of the fever, the treatment may vary.

For mild to moderate fever, the most common treatment is acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These medications can help bring down the fever and reduce pain or discomfort in the body. However, it’s important to follow the recommended dosage carefully to avoid any negative side effects.

In more severe cases, the doctor may need to administer medication intravenously (IV). This may include antibiotics if the fever is caused by a bacterial infection, or antivirals if the fever is due to a viral infection like the flu.

If the fever is causing dehydration, the doctor may also recommend receiving fluids through an IV. This can help prevent complications and improve overall hydration levels.

When is a high fever considered an emergency?

While a high fever can be a cause for concern, not all instances require a visit to the ER. However, there are some cases when high fever is considered an emergency and requires immediate medical attention. These include:

– A fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or higher, especially if it lasts for more than a few hours.
– Seizures or convulsions, especially in young children.
– Signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, no urination for over 8 hours, or extreme thirst.
– Difficulty breathing or chest pain.
– Severe headache or neck stiffness.
– Confusion or altered mental state.

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms along with a high fever, seek emergency medical attention immediately.


High fever can be a scary experience, but it’s important to remember that it’s often a natural response by the body to fight off infection. However, if the fever spikes too high or persists for more than a few days, it may be time to see a doctor. In the ER, the goal is to identify the underlying cause and reduce the temperature through medication or other interventions. If you ever experience a high fever with any of the symptoms listed above, seek immediate medical attention. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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