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Where infections commonly start

Fever can be one of the first symptoms of an infection somewhere in your body. It's a sign that your immune system is trying to fight off the infection.

Where infections commonly start

A fever in itself is not usually dangerous, but the infection that causes it can be. It's very important to tell your medical team if you develop a fever so they can treat the infection that is causing it.

An infection can occur anywhere in your body. The most common places are:

  • the mouth and throat
  • the skin
  • the lungs
  • the kidneys and bladder, especially if you have a catheter to drain urine from your bladder
  • where a drip or central line goes in (cannula sites and PICC line sites)
  • wounds and where wound drains go in
  • ulcerating tumours
  • the bloostream

Other less common places are the:

  • liver and abdomen
  • gullet (oesophagus)
  • vagina and anus
  • brain and spinal cord

Treating an infection

Treatment depends on the type of infection you have. We have a section on treating fever and infection. 

Last reviewed: 
02 Aug 2019
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  • Management of Febrile Neutropaenia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines
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  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser 
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (11th Edition)
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  • The information on this page is based on literature searches and specialist checking. We used many references and there are too many to list here. If you need additional references for this information please contact patientinformation@cancer.org.uk with details of the particular risk or cause you are interested in. 

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