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fever

When to Go to the ER with a Fever

What Is a Fever?

The term “fever” gets tossed around a lot, but the details of what a fever does for your body are not often discussed. A fever is usually a symptom of an underlying condition or infection. The part of your brain called the hypothalamus is responsible for controlling body temperature, and the normal body temperature lies at around 98.6°F or 37°C.

A fever occurs when your body is trying to kill a virus or bacteria that causes an infection. This is because a higher temperature makes the body a less welcoming host for replicating viruses and bacteria. A mild fever is a good indication that your immune system is doing its job, but fevers are not always brought on by infections. Other potential causes of fever include amphetamine abuse, alcohol withdrawal and environmental fevers like heat stroke.

When Should You Go to the ER for a Fever?

While it’s true that a fever typically means your immune system is hard at work, the fever can sometimes raise to unhealthy levels. When the body temperature exceeds 105°F, it exposes the proteins and body fats to temperature stressors that can interfere with their functioning. Prolonged exposure can lead to cellular stress, infarctions, necrosis, seizures and delirium.

To prevent these conditions from occurring, here are some signs that a fever warrants a trip to the ER.

For an Infant Younger than 90 Days Old

  • If changes in appetite are occurring along with the fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If changes in behavior or sleeping patterns accompany the fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If diarrhea or vomiting are occurring along with the fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your infant is constipated and has a fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your infant has a cold and a fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your infant has a rash or skin discoloration and a fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your infant has eye discharge, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your infant is having difficulty waking up to feed alongside a fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your infant is having difficulty breathing, you should seek emergency care.

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

  • If your baby is experiencing any of the symptoms above alongside a fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your baby is not immunized and has a fever, you should seek emergency care.

For a Child Older than 36 Months Old

  • If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms above alongside a fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your child is experiencing abdominal pain and has a fever, you should seek emergency care.
  • If your child is communicating feelings of persistent discomfort alongside a fever, you should seek emergency care.

For an Adult

  • If an adult is experiencing a painful headache and has a fever, they should seek emergency care.
  • If an adult is experiencing abdominal pain and has a fever, they should seek emergency care.
  • If an adult is having difficulty breathing or chest pain accompanied by a fever, they should seek emergency care.
  • If an adult has a compromised immune system and comes down with a fever, they should seek emergency care.
  • If an adult has had chemotherapy recently and has a fever, they should seek emergency care.
  • If the adult’s fever lasts for more than three days, they should seek emergency care.
  • If the adult’s fever rises above 103°F, they should seek emergency care.
  • If the adult’s fever is accompanied by nausea, confusion or a rash, they should seek emergency care as these symptoms may be caused by meningitis.
  • If the adult’s fever is accompanied by confusion, a rapid heartbeat or dizziness, they should seek emergency care as these may be signs of a heat stroke.

Please note that these lists are not all-inclusive. If you are doubtful that the fever will resolve on its own, it is best to have the condition examined by a medical professional.

What Will Advance ER in Dallas Do for a Fever?

At Advance ER, we offer top quality medical care 24/7, with emergency professionals who are experienced in treating all age groups. We are dedicated to giving every patient the best care available, and will work diligently to identify the cause of the fever and treat the underlying condition. Whether you are concerned about your child, a loved one or yourself, you can trust our integrative, advanced approach to health and wellness.

If you would like to learn more about Advance ER, please give us a call at (214) 494-8222, or find us online.