Fever

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If you have a fever, your body temperature is higher than the normal temperature of about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. A fever isn't an illness, but a signal that your body is fighting something, usually an infection.

When you have a fever, you may feel warm, tired, or cold. Other symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • body aches
  • skin rashes
  • sweating
  • shaking chills
  • cough or shortness of breath
  • abdominal pain
  • burning or pain when urinating
  • sore throat
  • dehydration
  • lack of appetite
  • weakness

A fever is uncomfortable, but it's usually not dangerous unless your temperature is 103 degrees or higher. This may be the sign of severe infection.

Some breast cancer treatments can cause fever:

Several pain medications, such as ibuprofen and morphine can also cause fever.

If you're getting chemotherapy, you're more susceptible to infections because your white blood cell counts are lower than normal. (White blood cells are the cells that help fight infection.) Herceptin has been shown to lower white blood cell counts even further in some women receiving both Herceptin and chemotherapy.

Managing fever

If you have a fever, talk to your doctor. It's important to find out what's causing the fever and treat any infection. Medicines also are available to lower your temperature.

If your temperature is 103 degrees or higher, or you've had a fever for more than 3 days, call your doctor right away. You may have a serious infection that could be very dangerous.

Other tips to manage fever:

  • Take your temperature every 2-3 hours and keep a record of the readings.
  • Drink and eat lot of liquids: water, juice, popsicles, gelatin, soup, and herbal tea are good things to try.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Cover yourself according to how your body feels. If you're cold or have the chills, use a blanket. If you're too hot, use only a sheet.
  • Use a cold compress on your forehead if you feel very hot. You can also sponge yourself with cool water.

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