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Relieving the symptoms of fever

A fever can make you feel hot, cold, shivery, washed out and sometimes have aches and pains. Find information on what can help.

As well as treating the underlying cause of any infection, you need treatment for your fever symptoms to make you more comfortable. Bringing your temperature down can make a big difference to how you feel.

Drugs to treat fever

You might take paracetamol or an anti inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen (Nurofen).

These drugs are anti pyretics. This means they bring down temperatures. You might need to take them regularly, every 4 to 6 hours, until you're no longer getting temperatures. Make sure you read the drug information leaflet so that you know what dose to take and when. 

You might take steriods, for example if your fever has been caused by a reaction to treatment.

Aspirin can reduce your temperature, but you shouldn't take aspirin without checking with your doctor. Aspirin can cause bleeding and you shouldn't have it if you have a low platelet count or any other risk of bleeding (for example a stomach ulcer). This is because aspirin can affect the time it takes your blood to clot. 

Feeling more comfortable

Other things that can make you feel more comfortable include:

  • removing excess clothing and bed linen
  • having a tepid bath or sponge down
  • drinking lots of cold fluids or sucking ice chips
  • opening the window or having a fan in the room
  • during periods of chills, change any wet bed linen and clothes to keep you warm and dry, and keep away from drafts
  • rest as much as you can

Even if you have a high temperature, you might actually feel cold and begin to shiver. This is part of the first phase of having a fever. Your immediate reaction may be to huddle up under lots of blankets to feel warm. But even though you feel cold, inside your body is very hot. You really won’t feel better until your temperature comes down.

Your nurse might try to help cool you down with a fan or removing blankets.

Last reviewed: 
28 Jun 2017
  • Electronic Medicines Compendium 

    Accessed 2017

  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser 
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

  • Ross and Wilson Anantomy and Physiology in Health and Illness (11th Edition)

    A Waugh and A Grant

    Churchill Livingstone, 2010

  • The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures (9th Edition)

    L Dougherty and S Lister

    Wiley Blackwell, 2015

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