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Lung diseases

6 y/o with asthma/ allergies and 102 fever

03/17/2009

Question:

My 6 y/o son has allergy induced asthma and has been coughing and wheezing for the last couple of days. We live where it has been very dry all winter and now the trees are starting to bloom. I believe the asthma is the result of allergies, but this evening he has had a fever of 102 degrees. I am wondering if the allergies and/ or asthma could have anything to do with the fever. Please help- we have no health insurance and I sure don`t want to run to the ER unless it is absolutely necessary. Thanks

Answer:

Allergies and asthma do not cause fevers - if your child has a fever, he has some type of infection (which may be the real reason his asthma has flared up.)  Many times such fevers are from viral illness - which antibiotics don't help with.  The more persistent the fever, and generally sick he appears (pale, inactive, etc.), the more necessary an medical evaluation is.

Actually, I'm more worried about his asthma.  Asthma can become very dangerous - especially when the episode is set off by infection. (Most children admitted to the hospital for severe asthma have an infection as their trigger.)  If your child's wheezing and cough are not coming under control with rescue medicine (like albuterol) given every 4 hours, he needs to be seen at a physician's office, urgent care or ER.  If he appears to be working hard to breath (increased movement of his ribs and stomach, fast breathing) he may need the ER.  In these circumstances, he likely needs to start an oral steroid - sooner rather than later may mean the difference between an outpatient bill and a much bigger hospital bill (and more importantly, his safety.)

There are many programs available currently to help un-insured children with their health costs.  Please contact your healthcare provider or local hospital and ask to speak to a social worker, who can hopefully direct you to agencies that can help.

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Response by:

Elizabeth D Allen, MD Elizabeth D Allen, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University