Fever and nausea result from any number of infections including influenza, rotovirus, norovirus and astrovirus. In most cases, symptoms can be managed at home without prescription medications. However, certain groups, such as people over 65, pregnant women, and children younger than 5 are at higher risk for illness-related complications such as dehydration. If fever and nausea persist or get worse despite home treatment, ask your doctor for advice.
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Supportive Care for Fever
Fever reflects the immune system’s efforts to fight infection and is actually a beneficial response. However, if your fever interferes with your ability to rest, there is no harm in treating it. You can dress in light, comfortable clothing and maintain your home at a comfortable temperature. If you sweat, try bathing your face, neck and arms with a cool cloth or taking a tepid bath.
Supportive Care for Nausea
Nausea can occur independently or as a companion to other gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. At least for the first 24 hours, patients should steer clear of solid foods and particularly spicy or strongly flavored foods, which can make nausea worse. Stay hydrated with cool, clear fluids such as water or diluted juice. Slow sipping is best—drinking quickly can trigger vomiting.
If comfort measures aren't enough, you can try over-the-counter medications with your doctor's okay. Medications that list acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen or naproxen as their active ingredient can treat fever. For children, acetaminophen or ibuprofen are preferred. Bismuth subsalicylate—for example, Kaopectate and Pepto-Bismol—when used as directed may help relieve nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in adults.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- CDC: Viral Gastroenteritis
- CDC: Caring for Someone Sick at Home: Treat Fever
- CDC: Caring for Someone Sick at Home: Treating Stomach Problems
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Colds and the Flu
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Antiemetic Medicines: OTC Relief for Nausea and Vomiting
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Nausea and Vomiting in Children
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Treating Vomiting