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Tips For Withdrawal Fever Management

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Updated April 09, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Tips For Withdrawal Fever Management

Withdrawal fever should be carefully monitored and controlled.

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Withdrawal fever can be a withdrawal symptom among people who have been addicted to various substances, or even after a period of intense substance use. Fever symptoms may range from mild to severe.

Body temperature varies from one individual to the next, and according to factors like time of day and menstrual cycle, but generally, a temperature of 99 to 99.5 F (37.2 - 37.5 C) is considered to be a fever in adults.

Doctors take withdrawal fever very seriously, and in detox, all fevers are thoroughly investigated to make sure that they are not the result of an underlying infection, which should be treated immediately.

Drug users may be more vulnerable to infections for a variety of reasons, and both drug effects and withdrawal symptoms may mask the need for urgent treatment for another condition. Seek medical assistance immediately if:

  • Your temperature goes above 103 F (40 C), and doesn't come down within an hour of home treatment.
  • Your fever persists more than 24 hours.
  • You have a serious medical illness, such as a heart problem, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, HIV or cystic fibrosis.
  • You have a seizure.

To monitor and treat your withdrawal fever at home:

  • Take and record your temperature. Abstain from smoking or hot fluids for 15-30 minutes before taking your temperature.
  • If your temperature goes above 38.5 C take the correct dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • DO NOT USE PAINKILLERS CONTAINING CODIENE OR ANY OTHER OPIATE OR OPIOID DURING WITHDRAWAL.
  • A tepid bath or sponge bath can help lower body temperature, but do not use cold or iced water, as shivering will increase internal body temperature.
  • Remove layers of clothing -- do not bundle up even if you feel chilly or shivery.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, popsicles and clear soup.
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