Most fevers are not medical emergencies and can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. However, there are certain situations where a fever may require emergency medical attention.
Causes of Fever During Summer
During the summer months, it may look like fevers are uncommon. Most fevers occur during the cold seasons, caused by the flu or the common cold. However, you can get a fever in the summer months due to the following factors:
- Dehydration – occurs when the body loses too much water and electrolytes. It is common during summer due to excessive sweating, inadequate fluid intake, or a combination of both. Dehydration often leads to an elevated body temperature, among other symptoms of heat exhaustion.
- Sunstroke – is also known as heatstroke. It occurs when the body’s internal temperature rises to dangerously high levels due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures and humidity. Since summer is characteristic of high temperatures, many people can suffer heatstroke in that period.
- Infections – although many infectious diseases are common during winter, some can occur year-round. Some examples include Influenza, enteroviruses, Lyme disease, and Legionnaires’ disease.
- Allergic reactions – many plants and trees bloom during the summer months. It can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Allergic reactions can cause fever, alongside other symptoms such as hives, itching, and difficulty breathing.
- Insect bites and stings – insects like mosquitoes, ticks, and bees are more active during summer. The bites and stings, especially when camping, can cause fever, swelling, and other symptoms.
- Other medical conditions – do not forget that fever can be a symptom of many underlying medical conditions. For instance, patients with autoimmune diseases, cancers, and hormonal imbalances often have a fever. These conditions can occur at any time of year but are even more noticeable during summer due to heat and other environmental factors.
When Do You Need Emergency Care for A Fever?
Not all cases of fever merit emergency medical care in Houston. In fact, the body is great at managing temperatures, especially if you do not have underlying health problems that compromise your immune system. However, visit an ER for fever if you experience any of the following issues:
- High fever – of 103°F (39.4°C) or higher in adults, and 100.4°F (38°C) or higher in infants and young children
- Severe symptoms – such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, seizures, severe headache, stiff neck, or confusion
- Immune-compromised individuals – some conditions make your fever severe, such as undergoing chemotherapy or having HIV/AIDS.
- Travel-related fever – if your fever develops after a recent travel to an area with high rates of infectious diseases or is accompanied by other travel-related symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting, it may require emergency care.
How Do ERs Handle Fevers?
When a patient with a fever goes to the Emergency room in Houston, the healthcare team will perform a thorough physical examination and obtain a medical history. This process is necessary to help determine the underlying cause of the fever. The following are some of the steps that a doctor can take to manage fever in the ER:
- Diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, or imaging studies – doctors in emergency rooms in Houston conduct these tests to determine the cause of the fever. The doctor can even run imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, to identify structural issues like abscesses or tumors.
- Medications – your doctor may prescribe antipyretic medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Such medicine helps to reduce the fever and alleviate other symptoms you may have. The doctor will also prescribe antibiotics if the fever is caused by a bacterial infection.
- Fluids – at Memorial Heights Emergency Center, we administer fluids to the patient if they are dehydrated. The process is possible intravenously (IV) through the veins.
- Hospitalization – did you know you can be admitted to an emergency room near you because of a fever? For severe cases, the patient may need to be admitted for further and continued evaluation and treatment.
- Treating the underlying conditions – your doctor may result in intense treatment protocols like surgery or chemotherapy to address the underlying problems causing the fever.
Generally, it is always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention. You can also call your healthcare provider or local emergency services for advice on how to proceed.