What are the potential causes and remedies for a low-grade fever?

Symptom Database

A low-grade fever is a common symptom experienced by both adults and children. It is characterized by a slight increase in body temperature, usually ranging from 100.4°F (38°C) to 102.2°F (39°C). While a low-grade fever may not be a cause for immediate concern, it is essential to understand its potential causes and remedies to ensure proper treatment and relief. In this article, we will explore the various factors that can lead to a low-grade fever and discuss effective ways to manage and alleviate this symptom.

Fever Symptoms

Before delving into the causes and remedies for a low-grade fever, it is crucial to understand the common symptoms associated with this condition. Some of the typical signs of a low-grade fever include:

  • Mild increase in body temperature
  • Feeling warm or flushed
  • General discomfort or uneasiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild headache
  • Increased thirst

It is important to note that these symptoms may vary from person to person, and additional symptoms may be present depending on the underlying cause of the low-grade fever.

Causes of Low-Grade Fever

Low-grade fevers can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from mild infections to more serious underlying conditions. Some common causes of low-grade fever include:


Infections, such as respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and viral illnesses, are often associated with low-grade fevers. These fevers are the body’s natural response to fighting off the infection and are usually accompanied by other symptoms specific to the type of infection.

Inflammatory Conditions:

Conditions characterized by inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease, can also lead to persistent low-grade fevers. In these cases, the fever is a result of the body’s immune response to the ongoing inflammation.


Some medications, such as certain antibiotics or anticonvulsants, can cause low-grade fevers as a side effect. If you suspect that a medication is causing your fever, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider for further evaluation and potential alternatives.

Autoimmune Disorders:

Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, can cause chronic low-grade fevers. These fevers are often accompanied by other symptoms related to the specific autoimmune condition.

Treatment for Low-Grade Fever

While a low-grade fever may not require immediate medical intervention, there are several remedies and self-care measures that can help alleviate discomfort and promote recovery. Here are some effective treatment options:

Rest and Hydration:

Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated is essential when dealing with a low-grade fever. Rest allows your body to focus on fighting off the underlying cause, while staying hydrated helps maintain optimal bodily functions.

Over-the-Counter Medications:

Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help reduce fever and alleviate associated symptoms. However, it is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional if the fever persists or worsens.

Addressing Underlying Causes:

If the low-grade fever is a result of an underlying condition, it is crucial to address and treat the root cause. This may involve seeking medical attention and following the prescribed treatment plan.

Remedies for Low-Grade Fever

In addition to the treatment options mentioned above, there are several home remedies that can provide relief from a low-grade fever. These remedies aim to support the body’s natural healing process and include:

Cool Compresses:

Applying cool compresses to the forehead or taking a lukewarm bath can help reduce body temperature and provide temporary relief from fever symptoms.


Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal teas, or clear broths, can help prevent dehydration and support the body’s immune response.

Herbal Remedies:

Certain herbs, such as ginger or chamomile, have natural antipyretic properties and can help reduce fever. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using herbal remedies, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While a low-grade fever is often harmless and resolves on its own, there are instances where medical attention should be sought. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional if:

  • The fever persists for more than three days
  • Additional severe symptoms develop
  • The fever is accompanied by a rash
  • There is difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • The fever is present in infants younger than three months

These situations may indicate an underlying condition that requires further evaluation and treatment.

In Conclusion

A low-grade fever can be a common symptom experienced by individuals of all ages. While it is often a sign that the body is fighting off an infection or dealing with inflammation, it is important to understand the potential causes and remedies for this condition. By following appropriate treatment options, addressing underlying causes, and seeking medical attention when necessary, individuals can effectively manage and alleviate the discomfort associated with a low-grade fever.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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