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DrOAB, Board Certified Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 1032
Experience:  In practice since 2000.
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My 7 year old daughter ran a high fever (103.3) last night

Customer Question

My 7 year old daughter ran a high fever (103.3) last night but it went away on its own a few hours later. Just now she complained of a sore neck so I checked and her glands are swollen, her fever is at 100.4. Otherwise she seems fine, should I take her to the emergency room?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Pediatrics
Expert:  DrOAB replied 8 years ago.



Please clarify:


Her neck is only sore at the sites of the swollen glands or are the neck muscles also very stiff/sore?


Any oversensitivity to looking at light? Any bad headache?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No headache and she is able to turn her head well but she just says that it hurts especially on one oversensitivity to light
Expert:  DrOAB replied 8 years ago.



Could you please ask her to do a simple test? Have her try to touch her chin down to her chest. Please tell me if she is unable or unwilling to due to neck pain.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
She can touch her chin on her chest and can hold her head all the way back with only a tiny amount of pain when she held it forward
Expert:  DrOAB replied 8 years ago.



Very good--that means that meningitis is unlikely.


The fast-resolving fever spike was probably due to a viral infection that her immune system recognized and reacted against. The swollen neck glands are her lymph nodes doing their job filtering out the infection. Fever is usually defined as a temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, so right now she only has temperature elevation, not fever. At this point, there is no need for an ER visit.


I advise rest, adequate fluids (enough intake that she voids at least once every eight hours), and perhaps Tylenol or ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin or Advil) if she shows discomfort with fever. Remember that the fever is actually a protective mechanism--that is, the body is trying to make itself an unsuitable environment for the infection. If her temperature lingers above 102 degrees Fahrenheit (a moderate fever), you might consider a 5-10 minute lukewarm bath or shower with rapid towel drying afterward to gently lower temperature. Do not use alcohol baths or anything that would cause a chill as this might make her fever spike higher. If her fever reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit, call her physician or go to the ER--this temperature is not dangerous, but it merits medical evaluation, especially if it occurs in the face of fever medication(s).

Expert:  DrOAB replied 8 years ago.



With a healthy immune system, most common viral infections are cleared in 1-3 weeks. Antibiotics only work against bacteria, not viruses. If she complains of a bad sore throat (especially one that causes pain with swallowing) or develops a rash with redness and/or a sandpaper-like bumpy contour, consider physician evaluation for strep throat.