Everything You Need To Know About Fevers and Allergies in Kids


Can a Kid Have a Fever with Allergies?

While a child can experience a fever alongside allergy symptoms, allergies do not typically cause elevated temperature. Experts agree that allergies don't cause fevers. Instead, the fever is likely due to a coinciding sinus infection or other types of bacterial or viral infections.

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Your child is sniffling with a slight increase in temperature. You wonder, could it just be seasonal allergies, a common cold, or something more? While allergies normally present with sneezing, itching, and watery eyes, low-grade fevers in children have become a concern for many parents.

If your child has seasonal allergies, you’re probably wondering, "Can a kid have a fever with allergies?" While fevers typically conjure images of infections and illnesses, the complex interplay of the body's responses sometimes blurs the lines. Dive in with us as we uncover the relationship between allergies and that unexplained rise in your child's temperature.

Understanding Allergies in Children

Allergies in children occur due to their immune system's exaggerated response to substances that are generally harmless. These allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander, are present in the environment, in foods, or through insect stings, and they trigger the body to release histamine and other chemicals. These chemicals bring about typical seasonal allergy symptoms like a runny nose, very itchy eyes, rashes, or more severe reactions like anaphylaxis.

For many children, allergies develop early in life and sometimes evolve or fade with age. The reasons some children develop allergies while others do not are not entirely understood but are believed to be a mix of genetic and environmental factors. Children with a family history of allergies or asthma are more likely to develop allergies themselves.

What Are the Symptoms?

Allergic reactions in children can manifest in many ways. Seasonal allergies, or hay fever, often lead to symptoms reminiscent of a cold, including a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing. Also itchy, watery eyes, a sore throat, or asthma symptoms like wheezing or shortness of breath.

On the other hand, food allergies might induce different allergic responses. These can range from mild common symptoms such as hives, itchy skin, an upset stomach, or a tingling sensation in the mouth to more severe reactions like difficulty swallowing chest tightness, or a drop in blood pressure. In extreme cases, allergies cause anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

Understanding Fevers in Kids

Fevers in kids often signal that their immune system is actively fighting off an infection. A fever is a rise in body temperature above the normal range, typically triggered by the immune system as it battles viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens. Commonly, a viral infection, such as the respiratory syncytial virus, or a bacterial infection, like a sinus infection, can trigger a rise in body temperature.

Besides fever, viral and bacterial infections in kids may cause other symptoms such as nasal congestion, coughing, and body aches, indicating the body's response to invading pathogens. However, it's essential to recognize that while fevers are a natural response, they're merely a symptom and not the underlying cause of an ailment. Determining the source of the fever, be it a bacterial or viral illness, is crucial for effective treatment.

What Is Considered a Low-Grade Fever?

In general, the average body temperature for a healthy person taken orally ranges from 97°F (36.1°C) to 98.6°F (37°C). Temperatures that hover between 99°F (37.2°C) and 100.4°F (38°C) and last for over 24 hours are typically classified as low-grade fevers.

A low-grade fever is a term commonly used to describe a body temperature that is slightly elevated above normal but not alarmingly high.

It's important to understand that a low-grade fever isn’t a cause for significant concern in many instances. It can be the body's natural response to various conditions, from minor viral infections to post-vaccination reactions. However, if it persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's advisable to seek medical guidance to rule out underlying conditions or complications.

Differentiating Allergy-Related Fever from Other Causes

Usually, the symptoms of RSV, COVID-19, and other infections will be very similar to allergy symptoms, with one major exception—a fever. When children display feverish symptoms alongside typical allergy signs like sneezing, runny nose, or itchy nose, it's easy to mistakenly associate the fever with allergies. However allergies do not cause a fever, so it's more probable that the fever is caused by a parallel issue, such as a viral or bacterial infection, and not the allergy itself.

Recognizing this distinction aids in seeking appropriate medical intervention and ensures timely and accurate treatment. So, if a child presents with a fever without the usual allergic symptoms, it's crucial to consider other potential sources of the fever. Monitor the duration and accompanying symptoms closely, and if there's uncertainty or concern, seek medical advice from your child’s pediatrician to ensure the child's well-being.

Tips for Managing Allergy-Induced Fevers in Children

While it's been established that allergies do not cause a fever directly, children can sometimes develop a fever due to complications arising from allergies, like a sinus infection. If you suspect your child's fever may be related to an underlying allergic reaction, it's crucial to address the allergen source first. This means identifying and minimizing exposure to potential triggers, be it pollen during hay fever season, certain foods, or household allergens like pet dander.

In addition to mitigating allergen exposure, ensure your child stays hydrated and rested to support their body's natural healing processes. Allergy treatment options such as over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and nasal sprays can help alleviate some common symptoms, but they won't address the fever itself. You can also use a humidifier in the child's room to soothe irritated nasal passages and throats, making breathing more comfortable.

When to Seek Medical Help

When dealing with a child's health, it's often best to be cautious. For any persistent or high fever (above 100.4°F or 38°C), or if the child appears unusually lethargic, has difficulty breathing, or cannot keep fluids down, consult your child's doctor. Also, if your child's fever lasts for more than a few days, even if it's a low-grade fever, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional.

If your newborn or infant under three months has any type of fever, including a low-grade fever, you should seek medical attention immediately, as it might indicate a severe condition. In the context of allergies, if your child's cold-like symptoms don't improve with OTC medications or if they are causing significant discomfort or interference with daily activities, it's time to consult a doctor. Severe reactions, like difficulty breathing or swallowing, indicate a potentially life-threatening situation known as anaphylaxis and require immediate medical attention.

Important Things Parents Should Know

For parents navigating the intricacies of child health, understanding the distinction between a low-grade fever and allergies is crucial. First, it's essential to recognize that while a child might display both allergy symptoms and a low-grade fever, allergies themselves don't directly cause the fever. Instead, the fever might arise from complications associated with allergies, like sinus infections or other unrelated ailments.

Managing a low-grade fever in the context of allergies like hay fever requires a two-pronged approach. Begin by addressing the allergenic triggers; this could involve minimizing exposure to known allergens or administering appropriate antihistamines. Concurrently, ensure your child stays hydrated and well-rested to combat the fever.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the realm of child health, especially in the context of allergies and fevers, often leaves parents brimming with questions.

How Long Does a Fever Last?

The duration of a fever can vary based on its underlying cause. Typically, viral infections result in fevers lasting 2-3 days. A fever that persists beyond three days or is accompanied by other severe cold-like symptoms can indicate serious health issues, so you should consult a healthcare professional.

What Temperature Is Considered a Fever?

Generally, most healthcare professionals consider a body temperature above 100.4°F (38°C) when measured orally to be a fever. However, slight variations might occur based on the method of measurement. For example, rectal temperatures may be slightly higher, while underarm readings may be lower at 99 F (37.2 C).

When Is a Fever Too High for a Child?

A fever is considered too high if it reaches 100.4°F (38°C) in infants under three months or above 102.2°F (39°C) in older babies and toddlers. In such cases, or if the child exhibits severe cold symptoms alongside the fever, seek immediate medical attention.

How Do I Reduce a Fever?

To reduce fever in your child, ensure they stay hydrated, get ample rest, stay in a cool environment, or dress in light clothing. Over-the-counter fever-reducing medications, like acetaminophen, can also be helpful. Always follow the recommended dosages and consult a healthcare professional if unsure.

Take Our Allergy Assessment and Get Treatment Today

If you have had enough of allergy symptoms affecting your child’s quality of life and want long-term relief, contact Wyndly. Provided your child is five or older, our allergy doctors will take time to understand their allergy profile and develop a personalized treatment plan to train their body to be allergy-free. Take our online assessment now to start your child’s journey to an allergy-free life.

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