When to See a Doctor About Your Fever

When to See a Doctor About Your Fever

Fevers are a common symptom that can be caused by a variety of conditions ranging from viral illnesses like the flu to bacterial infections, such as ear infections and strep throat. A fever is your body’s way of trying to kill the bacteria or virus that’s making you sick.

Here at Physicians Medical Urgent Care, in San Jose, California, our team understands that fevers can be stressful, especially if you’re caring for a sick child. We want you to know that while a fever is generally not something to worry about, in some cases, it can be a sign of a more serious condition such as strep throat that requires treatmen – but how do you know when to see a doctor about your fever? 

Here are some guidelines to help you decide when to seek medical care for your fever.

High fever

If your fever is 103°F (39.4°C) or higher, it’s important to seek medical attention. High fevers can be a sign of a serious infection or other medical condition, and it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

If your baby has a fever, the threshold for what constitutes “high fever” is a little lower. Let us know if any of the following apply to your baby:

You may need to visit our urgent care (regardless of temperature) if your baby is showing signs of illness or pain, such as pulling their ears, crying, refusing to eat, coughing, etc. 

Prolonged fever

If your fever has lasted for more than a few days, or if it goes away and then comes back, it’s important to visit us. Prolonged fevers can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an underlying infection or inflammation.

Fever accompanied by chest pain or headaches

If you have other symptoms along with your fever, such as a severe headache, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or a stiff neck, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. These symptoms can be signs of a serious condition, such as meningitis or pneumonia.

Age

If you're an older adult or you’re caring for an infant, it’s important to seek medical attention for any fever, even if it’s a low-grade fever. Infants are particularly vulnerable to infections and may require medical treatment, while older adults may have weakened immune systems that can make them more susceptible to serious infections.

Underlying conditions

If you have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, or a weakened immune system, it’s important to seek medical attention for any fever, even if it’s a low-grade fever. These conditions can increase your risk of developing serious infections or complications.

What can we do for fevers

Fevers are only a symptom of another condition, so to really treat a fever, Dr. Ines Munoz De Laborde and Dr. Svetlana Burkhead focus on pinpointing the source of your fever. To do that, we perform a physical exam, review your symptoms, and recommend a few point-of-care tests, such as a urinalysis or a flu, COVID-19, or strep throat swab. Depending on the results of your tests, we may recommend: 

If you have a fever and are unsure whether you should seek medical attention, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek medical advice. Our walk-in urgent care is conveniently located in San Jose, California, and provides quick and convenient care for fevers and other minor illnesses. Remember, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent serious complications and ensure a speedy recovery.

Give us a call at 408-207-4637, use our online form, or simply walk-in to our Capitol Avenue clinic.

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