Fevers are common with a long list of illnesses that can often be treated at home with bed rest or a visit to your primary care physician, but some cases, a fever can be a sign of an illness that needs emergency care . Children, in particular, can be vulnerable to the dangers of fevers, so consider going to the ER if you or your children experience these signs.
Sometimes the severity of the fever is enough of a reason to go to the ER. For adults, that means getting emergency care when a fever is over 103 degrees F, and for kids, when it is over 104 degrees F. Having a fever this high doesn’t necessarily mean that you or your child has a serious medical condition, but it should be evaluated by a doctor.
A fever that is accompanied by a stiff neck could a sign of meningitis, a serious infection that affects the brain and spine. Meningitis also frequently causes a severe headache, drowsiness, and sensitivity to light and sound. Some people also experience vomiting and are extremely sluggish and unaware of their surroundings. Although meningitis goes away on its own for some people, in other cases, it can be life-threatening without emergency care, so don’t delay seeking treatment at the ER.
Fever can lead to dehydration in both kids and adults, which can turn dangerous without treatment. Look for signs like infrequent urination, difficulty urinating, and extreme thirst. The risk of dehydration is especially significant when fever occurs with vomiting and diarrhea. Because dehydration can cause electrolyte imbalances that endanger the heart and cause damage to the kidneys, seek emergency care.
At Good Samaritan Hospital, we have a full-service ER and pediatric ER to provide quality emergency care in San Jose to the whole community. To learn more about all of the services at our hospital or request a referral to a physician, please call (888) 724-2362.