When Do I Go to Urgent Care for a Fever?

A sick young woman lies in bed with one hand on her forehead. She looks concerned while checking the temperature reading on her thermometer.

A fever is a common side effect of certain illnesses, like the flu, and is a sign your body is trying to heal itself. Average body temperature ranges between 97 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit for adults and between 97.9 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit for babies and children. Adults over age 65 have a more difficult time retaining body heat due to decreased metabolism and blood circulation, so their average body temperature may be lower than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

While these ranges give you an idea of what’s generally considered normal for body temperature, it varies from person to person. It’s important to identify what’s normal for you by taking your temperature regularly so you know when your body is trying to tell you something. When your baseline (normal) body temperature goes up 2 degrees Fahrenheit or more, you have a fever and may need medical treatment.

When do I go to urgent care for a low-grade fever?

Adults with an internal body temperature between 100.4 and 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit have a low-grade fever. Children with an internal body temperature between 98.7 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit that lasts more than 24 hours have a low-grade fever. Low-grade fevers aren’t usually serious or life-threatening but are a warning sign that something isn’t quite right.

Low-grade fevers without other symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or pain during urination can often be treated safely at home with plenty of rest, hydration, and over-the-counter fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Do not give aspirin to babies or children under 2 without consulting your doctor first.

If someone has a low-grade fever that lasts 3 days or more or is accompanied by other symptoms, there’s likely an underlying infection that needs prompt medical treatment at an urgent care center.

When is a fever too high?

Seek urgent medical care within the first 24 hours in the following situations:

  • Babies 3 months and younger with a high-grade fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (when taken rectally)
  • Toddlers and young children (between 3 months and 24 months) with a fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit when taken orally or 99 degrees Fahrenheit when taken axillary (under the arm)

If a fever is accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, ear pain, diarrhea, vomiting (without the presence of blood) or a sore throat, go to your nearest urgent care center for help. If an adult or child has a fever with severe symptoms (e.g., vomiting with the presence of blood), visit your nearest emergency room.

Visit Amory Urgent Care to get the treatment you need for persistent or severe fever. Our skilled specialists have extensive experience in treating the symptoms of colds, flu, and fever and can help you feel better fast. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week.