When Does a Fever Warrant a Trip to Urgent Care?

misc image

When Does a Fever Warrant a Trip to Urgent Care?

Most minor illnesses can be handled at home with rest, proper hydration, and over-the-counter medications when necessary. But fever tends to be a deal breaker for most people, and they instinctively rush to the doctor.

With more than three decades of experience as a primary care physician, Dr. Joseph Goin at Calvary Urgent Care in Humble, Texas, has cared for countless folks worried about the implications of a fever. And most of these visits occur because the patients don’t understand the purpose of a fever and when it requires medical attention.

So, Dr. Goin has developed these brief guidelines to familiarize you with fevers and help you make an informed decision the next time you or a loved one spikes a fever.


The average body temperature for most humans is 98.6℉, but anything within the range of 97℉-99℉ is considered normal.

When a pathogen enters your body, say a virus or bacterium, part of your immune response is a rise in body temperature to kill the intruder causing the infection. Fever is your body’s defense mechanism, and it can be a good thing, so it’s important to let it do its job.

Knowing when to treat a fever and when to seek medical assistance for a fever can be tricky, because there are several variables. Here, Dr. Goin explains these various scenarios and offers guidance for what to do if you face them.


Having a sick baby can be worrisome and confusing, especially when they’re too young to communicate. Here are some general guidelines to follow when your baby has a fever.

  • 0-3 months old: call us for any fever at this age
  • 3-6 months old: contact us if the temperature is 102℉
  • 6-24 months: call us if the temp is 102℉ for more than a day
  • Any age: call us about any fever that last more than three days

Keep in mind that your child may have a high fever even if they don’t act or seem sick. If the fever is making them restless or uncomfortable, make sure they drink plenty of fluids, as fevers can dehydrate them quickly.

If they get the chills, cover them with a blanket until it stops. Don’t give pain relievers to any baby before the age of six months unless Dr. Goin approves it, and for older babies, children, and teens, give only acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®).

Never give aspirin to children, as it may cause Reye’s syndrome, which leads to brain damage and liver problems.


If your child has a fever plus other symptoms, you should contact us right away regardless of their temperature. Here are some examples of symptoms that require medical attention:


  • No wet diapers for 10 hours
  • Tearless crying
  • Tummy pain
  • Headache
  • Swollen or painful joints


  • Rash
  • Trouble breathing
  • Neck stiffness
  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea

If you’re unsure about whether your child’s fever warrants at-home care, urgent care, or emergency care, don’t hesitate to call us.


Any fever can make you feel under the weather, but if it reaches 103℉, you’ll probably show clear signs of being sick. Headache, chills, and body aches are common fever companions, but acetaminophen or ibuprofen typically bring relief.

Just like with children, you should dress in breathable, lightweight clothing to stay comfortable, and wrap up in a warm blanket if you get chilled. And always drink lots of fluids when you have a fever. If any of your symptoms become extreme and/or disabling, it’s time to seek medical care.


  • Signs of dehydration (dry mouth, dark urine, etc.)
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rash
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe headache
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Back pain


  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Debilitating headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Severe diarrhea

If you or your child has a fever and needs medical attention, don’t hesitate to call us for advice or an appointment. Dr. Goin examines you thoroughly and determines the cause of your fever and the right course of treatment for it. He may order lab work such as a blood or urine test to find out if you have a bacterial infection or virus.

If your symptoms align with classic COVID-19 symptoms, Dr. Goin may suggest you take advantage of our drive-thru testing, which is open Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm. In most cases, the results are ready within an hour, and all are ready the same day.

Don’t be mystified by fever. Now that you know why it occurs and when it signals an emergency, you’re better prepared to handle the next one that comes your way. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, call our friendly Calvary Urgent Care staff at 832-680-2273 or contact us online today.