In most cases a high fever (over
102o) is more suggestive of the
flu rather than a
cold. Fever due to a cold is usually less than 102o but not always.
It is important to contact your healthcare provider if you experience fever and any of the following symptoms: constant vomiting/diarrhea, stiff neck, severe headache, and shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or any unusual symptoms.
Normal body temperature varies throughout the day, usually lower in the morning and higher in the late afternoon. An elevated temperature is considered to be over 100.3oF (37.8oC). Although an elevated body temperature or fever may be uncomfortable, fever plays a protective role in the body's response to infection, enhancing the body's defense mechanisms.
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are available to help reduce fever and may be taken as per package directions. Do not exceed the recommended dose. If you are under the age of 19, do not take aspirin (also known as salicylate) and products that contain aspirin/salicylates to prevent a rare disorder called Reye's Syndrome, which can cause liver and brain damage. An example of a medicine that contains salicylate is Pepto Bismol, therefore it should be avoided by those under age 19.
If you have a fever and multiple symptoms, it's much more likely that you have the flu. Most cold and flu symptoms do not require a healthcare visit. See our flu page for more advice on self care and when to seek medical care.