Signs and symptoms of fever

Woman and baby with a fever

A fever is temporary as the body temperature rises due to an infection or any other secondary cause. It is a sign that something is going on within the body that needs to be looked into.1

Usually adults with a fever may feel uncomfortable and it is not much of a concern unless the temperature reaches 39.4°C or higher.1 For children, a temperature of more than 38°C is indicative of a fever.2

Symptoms of fever

Man with a fever

Symptoms of fever in adults1,3

Symptoms of fever in adults include sweating, chills and shivering, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration and a sense of general weakness.

Other symptoms would depend on the cause of the fever. Some examples are:



Dysentery or gastroenteritis


Diarrhoea (with or without presence of blood)

Upper respiratory tract infection


Runny nose

Sore throat

Sinus or nasal congestion

Urinary tract infection

Painful urination

Back pain

Increased frequency in urination

Skin or soft tissue infection

Focus of infection like a rash or abscess

Child with fever

Symptoms of fever in children1,2

Other than a raised temperature of more than 38°C, children may exhibit symptoms of fever differently from adults.1,2

Febrile children may not be as active or talkative as usual or may seem fussier, less hungry but thirstier. On touching the child, they may feel hot or warm.2

As in adults, other symptoms associated with the cause of fever will also be apparent.

An adult and child with fever

Recognising “red flag” symptoms1,4

Adults with fever must be referred to a doctor if there is accompanying:

severe headache
unusual skin rash
unusual sensitivity to bright light
stiff neck or if there is pain when they bend the head forward
mental confusion
persistent vomiting
difficulty in breathing or chest pain
abdominal pain
convulsions or seizures

Children with fever must be referred if:

the colour of skin, lips or tongue turn blue
they do not respond to social signs, do not wake up if roused or has a weak, high-pitched or continuous cry
there is grunting or chest draws into the body
the skin looks dry
if the child is < 3 months with a fever of > 38°C, has a coloured rash, neck stiffness or seizures.

Understanding fever

Child with fever

Fever overview

Find out the basics about fever.


Child with fever

What causes fever?

Learn more about the causes of fever.



What can you recommend to your patients for fever?

Find out more about both non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments for fever in both adults and children.


Learn more

Panadol Rapid pack shot

For fast pain and fever relief*

Absorbed 2X faster than standard Panadol tablets, Panadol Rapid offers fast relief of acute pain and fever.†5,6

Find out more

Educational resource

Educational resources

Access detailed clinical information about pain.

Find out more

Panadol for children pack shot

Nothing is more effective for children’s fever and pain7-10#‡

Children’s Panadol contains paracetamol, which international guidelines recommend for the treatment of pain and fever in children.  It can start to reduce fever in 15 minutes 11-13‡and is gentle on children’s stomachs.14,15† Unlike ibuprofen, paracetamol can be used from 1 month of age.16-17

Learn more