Close-up of an adult reading a digital thermometer while resting a hand on a child's forehead.

Do I Need Antibiotics for a Fever?

Fever is a raised body temperature, often due to illness. Skin that is red, hot, and dry, even under the armpits, is a sign of fever. Your temperature or your child’s temperature depends on where it is measured.

Management of Fever

  • Fever helps the body fight infection. Fever can happen with both viral and bacterial infections, so antibiotics may or may not be needed.
  • Consider using acetaminophen (like Tylenol) or ibuprofen (like Advil) if the person with the fever is uncomfortable. Ibuprofen should not be given to children under 6 months of age without first speaking to your health care provider. Please follow dosing instructions on the box or speak to a doctor or pharmacist for more information.
  • Dress yourself or your child in lightweight clothing so that you are cool but not shivering, as shivering generates more heat. Keep room temperature about 20° C or comfortably cool.
  • Drink plenty of cool fluids. Offer cool fluids or popsicles to your child every hour when awake.

If a person of any age has a fever and rash and has been in an area where measles is circulating, contact HealthLink BC (dial 8-1-1 in BC) to receive advice on the best course of action.

When to See a Health-Care Provider for a Fever

See a health-care provider if:

  1. A child under 3 months has a fever.
  2. A child of any age has a fever and seems unwell.
  3. A child of any age has a fever for more than 3 days.

In British Columbia, you can call HealthLink BC (at 8-1-1) or visit healthlinkbc.ca if you need advice or are unsure of the best course of action.

Speak to your primary health-care provider if you are worried by the way your child is behaving. For more information on when to seek additional medical advice please see HealthLinkBC:

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