When to Go to ER for Fever According to Age and Symptoms


A fever is a common illness some prefer to treat at home without consulting a physician or going to a medical facility.

With over-the-counter medicines and some rest, a low-grade fever can go away overnight or in a couple of days.

However, it is different if we are talking about high-grade fever. You should not resort to self-medication as it warrants immediate medical attention.

But how will you know if you need to go to the emergency room because of an elevated fever? What symptoms will tell you when to go to the hospital for fever?

This article specifies the conditions where you have to seek urgent care.

What Is Normal Body Temperature?

A thermometer helps you how to know if you have a fever. You can use this device to determine your body temperature.

The average body temperature is 37 centigrade or 98.6 Fahrenheit. Anything higher than this value is considered a fever.

However, note that the body’s temperature changes throughout the day. This results in fluctuations depending on several factors, including age, stress, time of the day, physical exertion, meals, sex, and medications.

It can be a little higher such as 37.2 C, or a little lower such as 36.1 C, than the average body temperature may still be considered normal.

In a nutshell, an average body temperature varies from one person to another.

When it comes to fever, you can treat a slightly elevated body temperature with over-the-counter medications.

Symptoms of fever, such as headache, chills, and shivering, can be addressed with drugs such as aspirin, paracetamol, and ibuprofen.

When to Go to ER for Fever According to Age and Symptoms
When to Go to ER for Fever According to Age and Symptoms

How high is too high for a fever?

While most fevers can be treated at home, there are cases when you have to seek emergency care.

A body temperature skyrocketing to 103 degrees or higher is considered a high-grade fever. This state is a signal of when to go to ER for fever.

Such fever can lead to delirium, seizures, and cellular stress and may leave you with life-threatening conditions, especially if you have underlying diseases.

If you have this body temperature, don’t think twice about rushing to RapidCare Emergency Room for immediate treatment.

Our emergency doctors can give you initial treatment to reduce your high body temperature and reduce it to an average level. Call us today to know more about our emergency services to treat high fever.

When should you go to the ER with a fever?

Body temperature from person to person, and one of the common determining factors is age. At what temperature should you go to the hospital when a baby or an adult has a fever?

Newborns and children need urgent care even with the slightest rise in their temperature. Meanwhile, adults also need to go to the ER if their condition presents specific factors that can be alarming to their health.

For an Infant Younger than 90 Days Old

Newborns still have weak immune systems and are more prone to diseases. Doctors recommend parents and guardians seek immediate treatment once a slight fever occurs.

Watch out for the following symptoms among newborns with high fever:

  • Rectal temperature of 100.4℉ or below 97℉
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Discoloration on lips
  • Rashes
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

For a Baby Between the Ages of 90 Days and 36 Months Old

The same attention goes for babies aged 90 days to 36 months old.

Once a fever reaches 105°F and up, you must go to the nearest emergency room for treatment.

  • Rectal temperature of 100.4℉ or below 97℉
  • Fever with common symptoms such as coughing and sneezing
  • Poor feeding
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Changes in activity
  • Not yet immunized

For a Child Older than 36 Months Old

Toddlers and young children are more prone to getting infections caught in daycare centers, playgrounds, and schools.

While their immune system is more robust, it still pays to look for warning signs when they develop a fever.

  • The temperature of over 102℉ and up
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Discoloration of lips and skin
  • Trouble breathing
  • Drop in frequent urination
  • Stiff neck
  • Rashes

For an Adult

When to Go to ER for Fever According to Age and Symptoms
When to Go to ER for Fever According to Age and Symptoms

Upon adulthood, the immune system is stronger and can ward off bacteria that cause fever. Adults are more likely to have immunizations already as well.

However, there may be cases when an adult can develop a high-grade fever mainly associated with other conditions.

Get medical care if you develop the following symptoms:

  • A temperature of 103 F (39.4 C) or higher
  • Severe headache
  • Flushed skin
  • Stiff neck
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Mental confusion
  • Convulsions

How long does a fever last?

A common fever can last for several hours. However, there are cases when the fever goes on and off and can last up to four days.

The duration also depends on the severity of your condition.

Go to RapidCare Emergency Room if you have a prolonged fever. Call us to learn about our services in fever treatment in our La Porte, Missouri City, and Katy locations.

How is a fever treated in the ER?

When you arrive at RapidCare Emergency Room, our medical team of emergency doctors and staff will immediately attend to your needs.

You will undergo a series of examinations, including taking your vital signs and laboratory procedures.

Your doctor will also have to ask about your medical history and the medications you are taking, which you should be able to relay for a more accurate diagnosis.

After this process, and once your test results come out, your doctor will provide you with the proper treatment.

Medications such as antibiotics are often prescribed. On top of the medicines, your physician will also recommend taking plenty of fluids and rest until you recover.

Don’t wait till it’s too late

For some, flu-like symptoms can go away in a few days without the need to see a doctor. They would rather self-medicate than go to the clinic for a consultation. But this perception poses a danger to one’s health.

It is always better to seek medical treatment the moment you feel fever symptoms so that your doctor can prescribe the proper medication.

Go to RapidCare Emergency Room if you develop a high-grade fever with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, mental confusion, and seizures.

Our doctors are board-certified and highly skilled in emergency treatment for cases like this. Call us today to learn more about our emergency services in our La Porte and Katy locations.