Infectious Diseases Community
1.81k Members
1296191 tn?1280699873

Fever Limits?

I have a bunch of questions about fevers:

1) What is the highest fever someone can have before suffering severe brain damage?

2) Is a fever of 105 degrees life-threatening?

3) When should somebody seek medical help for a fever?

4) Has anybody survived a fever of 109 degrees?
13 Responses
Avatar universal
1. From what I've read, 107 is when brain damage begins.

2. No, but it should be checked out because it could be a serious infection (such as pneumonia).  Make sure if you have a fever of 105 you are doing things to try and bring it down such as a cool cloth and alternating Tylenol and Advil.  If the fever does not reduce you need to see the doctor.

3. Typically 104 and higher or for any fever that lasts more than 3 days, especially if it is higher.

4. It's not likely.  Starting at 105.8 your proteins and enzymes begin to denature, making them useless.  The body needs these proteins and enzymes to survive.  If a person were to survive, I'd imagine the fever would have to be very short-lived.   It is unlikely that the body would elevate a temperature over 105 or so, except in the case of heat stroke and fire, things of that nature.
In hospital I had a temp of over 111 ( was in intensive care) so YES you can survive it...as far as I know my brain is fine! (my friends might disagree) p.s it was freezing as they kept fans on me all night and I was begging for a blanket LOL
Sounds like you were suffering from heat stroke, an l correct?
1296191 tn?1280699873
Thanks! This was very helpful. :D
Avatar universal
I can only answer 1 and 4 for u...

1. a fever of 108 is when brain damage can commence.

4. I can say yes... I know of one person that has survived a fever of 109..... ME. This is from personal experience. I was sick for a couple of weeks. Day 1 I had a fever the lasted almost all day. Not sure how high it was because I had know thermometer. Day 2 and 3 I had no fever and just remained sick in bed. Day 4 the fever came back really strong and along with it came an excruciating pain in my middle back on the left side. There was only one position I could lay in. I would prop all the pillows and would have to have my left side elevated about 6 inches off the bed so I was slightly twisted. It was the only position I felt no pain if I moved my left side higher or lower just it would hurt really bad. And there was absolutely not other position I could lay, not on my stomach face down or on my right side which is how I normally like ti sleep, because everything I tried the pain was extreme. I thought and hoped the pain would soon go away but both the fever and the pain continued for the following three days. I didn't get very much sleep because I would doze off and as I would fall asleep my body would move and the pain was there as intense as always and it would wake me up. I couldn't take it anymore and so by the end if The third day with the fever and pain I took off to the emergency room. Luckily for me it was not so busy and were able to see me promptly. They asked mebwhat was wrong and took my vitals. When they took my temperature id was 109.3 and they ran some tests too some x-rays and after a couple of hours of being in the ER and getting the x-rays results, it turned out that I had a bacterial pneumonia. They gave me some antibiotics and pain medication along with a prescription for more antibiotics and tylenol #3 and sent me home. I had never taken tylenol with codeine before and after taking it I went to lay down, I had been in bed not even two minutes when, I don't know with what energy or speed I took off running to the bathroom and the end of the hall from my bedroom and was throwing up. After that my body was able to tolerate the medication. They never gave me or did anything at the hospital to help lower the fever but eventually it did start to go down after the I had been home a day. It took about a week almost to fully recover. Now as far as brain damage, I do not know if it did any to mine since damage beings with a fever of 108. There were no tests done aside from bloodwork and the x-rays. They just kept me in one of the patient rooms for about a couple hours and sent me home after taking the meds  they gave me there and the prescription.  So... I guess you can say that yes.... There is at least one person that has survived a fever of 109. It was actually 109.3 to be exact.
Avatar universal
I Had a fever of 109.8 and because of the fever that high my right kidney stoped growing and I was 6 years old.
Avatar universal
i survived 109 degrees and im fine
Avatar universal
i survived 109 degrees and im fine
Avatar universal
I am currently at home recovering from emergency surgery last Wednesday night to remove my gall bladder. Apparently, I had "several" gall stones and my gall bladder was infected by the time they figured out why I had severe chest and back pain since last Monday.  

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I had 4 bouts of "rigors" which are severe, uncontrollable chills brought on by high fever. The rigors lasted for about 45 minutes to an hour each time. I had temperatures of between 101 and 106 during the first three times I got the rigors. My entire body shook uncontrollably and the tendons in by hips seized to the point where my kids had to hold my legs down to keep them from being contracted up to my chest.

The last bout of the rigors took place as they were taking me from my hospital hospital room to the surgery department to take out my gall bladder on Wednesday night. My temperature peaked at 109.2 and it hovered between 106 and 109 until it finally started to go down further.  In addition to giving me a gram of Tylenol and some other other anti-fever medication whose name I can't recall, the ER nurses (God bless them!) packed me with cold towels and ice packs to try to break the fever so they could begin the surgery. (I have no idea what it was connected to, but they even put a large air tube that was blowing cold air under my hospital gown on my chest in order to bring it down.) The last thing I recall before the anesthesia kicked in was that they were FINALLY able to get it down to 101.5.

Can you survive a peaky fever of 109? Definitely. The fever really made me feel like I was cooking from within, but from what I can recall, the rigors that the high fevers caused were much more unpleasant than the actual fever.

see my comment of having temp of 111, yes I have had sepsis twice (hence the 111 temp post op-the sepsis was caused by a gastric operation going badly....very badly wrong and the internal wound tore open completely from stomach and bowel. The "rigors" are horrible as you cannot get comfortable !.
1415174 tn?1453243103
All I can say is amazing. But the question is was there any brain damage. You might want to ask the doctor about that. Would you need a CT or MRI. I think survival isn't the question rather than does it cause damage.
Glad you are okay now. I hate the rigors as well. It is awful.

See this article and link:

A fever is any temperature between 99.6° - 105°F. Fever that results in brain damage is a fear that many parents have, but this concern is not warranted. The body won't let a fever get too high from an infection unless there has been damage to the temperature regulator or "thermostat" of the brain, the hypothalamus. Damage to the hypothalamus can occur from a brain infection (meningitis or encephalitis), or a poisoning. When the weather turns warmer, there is a danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. During heat stroke, the body loses the ability to cool itself and control body temperature, and brain damage can result. It is very important to remain well hydrated and cool during extreme temperatures. Another major concern for parents are febrile seizures (convulsions). Seizures occur in 2-6% of children with high fevers. It is thought that these seizures are the body's protective mechanism against rising fevers, like a circuit breaker. Although they can be quite traumatic to parents, they are not the result of, nor do they cause damage to the nervous system. It is very rare for a fever to go above 105°F unless there has been damage to the brain.


So it is interesting that you had such a high fever. It does make one wonder if you didn't have a problem with the brain such as an infection that allowed you to have such a high fever.  It is also important that it is not a sustained fever. So if you don't have it long. It may not cause brain damage. Since they got it down then it may be okay. I wonder if you had the infection get into the meninges for a short time and/or blood and that is what caused the spike.

Fevers can be scary, especially for parents who just want their children to feel better. However, not every case of fever warrants worry. The only time the body will sustain damage due to a high temperature is when the body temperature goes over 107.6 degrees. Unless the fever is caused by an outside source (hyperthermia) or there is already a neurological problem, there is almost no chance that the temperature will go this high.


There may be some better articles.

Avatar universal
I've had a fever of 122 degrees fahrenheit before just stayed home
Your thermometer was not working.
1415174 tn?1453243103
1. It is rare for a fever to go above 105 unless there has been some damage to the brain. But the fever itself usually isn't the cause. It is usually caused by heat stroke, meningitis, seizures or something like that.
2. See #1. Yes it can be it usually is high for a reason. Some children get higher fevers than adults. But when an adult gets a fever this high it is worse.  Still it is the underlying cause that is why it is dangerous. Usually there is a virus or bacteria causing the problem. So any time you have symptoms with the fever such as bad sore throat with pus, or seizures, or a problem with speech or flu that won't go away, meningitis where you can't touch your head to your chin because the neck is swollen due to swollen lymph nodes and all kinds of things. A wound that has red streaks etc.
3. See #2.
4. Yes the world record for high fever is 115 F. That person survived.
Do you have a specific problem?
Avatar universal
World record highest temperature was 115.7 in 1980. You should seek a new thermometer.
1415174 tn?1453243103
Hi,so I will try and answer your questions.
1.you don't get brain damage from a fever. The reason why a high fever is bad is because it can be a sign of a serious problem like meningitis. That can cause brain damage or other problems can for example.
2. Same answer as #1.
3. If your fever is >101 and you are an adult. But if you have the flu it is typical to have a fever that high so you don't necessarily have to see a doctor unless you go on day one to get an antiviral injection or treatment. Also, you can later get complications from the flu like pneumonia or a secondary infection like bronchitis etc.  Other reasons to have a fever can be an infection from a wound or blood poisoning. So it depends on why you have a fever.
4. Yes the highest fever ever was 115. the person had heatstroke. It is in the Guinness book of world records.

Do you have a high fever?

I had a high fever of 115 and my mom sent me to school and said it was because my glasses were off weird right
Maybe the thermometer was off. LOL. I think you would have been delirious and not able to go to school.
Yes my baby had a high fever 104.6 recoded today. He already admired to hospital for allergy colitis & infection is it lifethreatning?
Picklu9, it would be good if you could start a new question. It is harder to find you in a mixed conversation. But, children tend to get higher fevers since their immunity is lower. Colitis is usually inflammation of the colon and one can have various symptoms depending on the severity. If they put the baby on antibiotics right away and the baby is getting better then it should be a good outcome. Have you notice improvement yet? How long has it been since he got hospitalized? Did they say anything about how severe it was?
Avatar universal
I had a 109 fever for 2 months solid in 1999 and i lost my left temporal lobe
Foreverfaith8570, that must have been terrible, and I feel very bad for you.
Have an Answer?
Top Infectious Diseases Answerers
1415174 tn?1453243103
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.
Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia provides insight to the most commonly asked question about the transfer of HIV between partners.
Before your drop a dime at the pharmacy, find out if these popular cold and flu home remedies are a wonder or a waste
Fend off colds and the flu with these disease-fighting foods