A fever is an increase in the normal body temperature. It is not an illness itself, but rather is an indicator of infection or foreign substance in the body like viruses, bacteria, drugs, or toxins. A fever is usually a beneficial response as it helps to fight the foreign bodies.

Children may also get a fever after receiving vaccinations or while teething.

How to tell if it’s a fever

Usually, we can touch the forehead of a person who has a fever, and feel that they are warmer than normal. However, this isn’t an accurate way to determine if someone has a fever or not. Be sure to get a reliable thermometer, and check the temperature orally, rectally, or under the arm (axillary). A fever is confirmed if the temperature reaches: 

99.5°F (37.5°C) orally

100.4°F (38°C) rectally

99°F (37.2°C) in an axillary position 

When to see the doctor

  • A baby younger than 3 months has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher, even if your baby doesn't have other signs or symptoms
  • A baby older than 3 months has a temperature of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher
  • A child younger than age 2 has a fever longer than one day, or a child age 2 or older has a fever longer than three days
  • An adult has a temperature of more than 103 F (39.4 C) or has had a fever for more than three days
  • A person who is taking immunosuppressant drugs, or has a serious illness such as cancer, HIV, heart disease, or diabetes and has developed a fever.

Our Neighborhood Walk-In Clinic is:

  • Walk-in friendly
  • Open 7 days a week 8am-8pm
  • In-network for most Washington insurers
  • Open extended hours
  • Equipped with X-Ray and Lab on-site
  • Staffed by Doctors, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners.