Fever: Emergency first aid

In General, a person has a fever when their body temperature is over 38°C. Fever itself is not a disease or illness, but something the body uses to fight infections caused by bacteria, for example. What can I do myself if I have a fever and when should I see a doctor?

What is it?

What is a fever?

A fever is generally a response of the body’s immune system. In other words, fever is not itself an illness, but rather the body’s response to a variety of factors. These may include stress, colds, heat accumulation, as well as infections, tumours or metabolic disorders. 

Note: Fevers should not be underestimated in babies, small children, older people, tumour patients or people with weakened immune systems. 

What are the symptoms?

What are the symptoms of a fever?

In addition to elevated body temperature, fevers are usually accompanied by other symptoms as well:

  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Head and body aches
  • General discomfort
  • Loss of appetite    
What should you do?

What should you do?

The following can help if you have a fever:

  • Bedrest (with cooler room temperature and little light)
  • Drinking plenty of tea and water
  • Taking a lukewarm bath
  • Leg or chest compresses
  • Fever-reducing medications

See a doctor if:

  • Accompanying symptoms such as vomiting, severe diarrhoea, dizziness, confusion
  • Temperature above 40°C
  • Fever after travelling in tropical countries
  • Lack of urine production
  • Unusual skin rash, joint swelling
  • Severe headache, neck stiffness
  • Persistent low-grade fever for several weeks
  • Febrile convulsions (loss of consciousness, particularly in small children)