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Discussion Starter #1
My 11 year old son had a headache all day yesterday. He happened to go to the doc for a physical. She blamed the headache on allergies, which seemed reasonable.

He now has a fever...had it since at least 4am. It responds to tylenol, doesn't go away, but lowers. I don't know what it is exactly...I'd say 102 or above without tylenol, below 101 with. I can't find the stupid thermometer and I don't think he'll go for the one I use on cows :)

He looks awful. Either flushed or pale...drawn out and well...like a miserable kid. He says he doesn't want to move because it makes his head hurt more.

I have five kids (he's the youngest) and I've been there done that with sick kids, but I hate illness like this. No symptoms other than headache and fever. No respiritory stuff (other than the allergies, which zyrtec fixed), no stomach complaints.

When should I freak out?

Jena
 

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When the Tylenol stops working or when his stomach gets involved. Any meningitis in your area?
 

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At the doc's yesterday was he given any immunizations?

Make sure he is taking in fluids.

According to the info I have a fever will not cause brain damage until it reaches 107.6, if that is your fear then he is ok.
 

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I'd call the doctor back. I don't believe that he should have fever with allergies! The doctor would check for stiffness in his neck with meningitis. Is he coherant, and is his neck not stiff?
 

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a fever means there is infection somewhere in his body. headache could be caused by fever as well. if he says it hurts to move his head, take him back in. that is NOT typical.
 

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Have him sit on the side of his bed, whatever, and lean his head forward to touch his chest. Can he do it without pain? If so, it's unlikely it's meningitis. If it causes the pain to worsen, or if he simply can't do it, it's possible that this is what it is. Get him to the doctor NOW, take him to the emergency clinic if you have to. Possible meningitis is nothing to be messed with.
 

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For sinus headaches, caused by allergies or illnesses, ibuprofin is more effective than tylenol.

Tylenol helps with the pain. Ibuprofin does too, and it ALSO reduces the swelling that CAUSES the pain.

You are an experienced Doctor Mom. You have the patient in front of you. Trust your instincts on this one.
 

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My son spent 5 days last winter (he was 12) with a headache and fever. No upset stomach, no sinuses, no other problems. Just a headache that had him wanting to be laying down. The fever hit about 12 hours later. It ran from 100* when he had ibuprophen in his to 104* as it wore off. It was always responding to the meds, but as long as it was below 102 I left it alone so his body could do what it was meant to do.

The rule of thumb is that if it's ONLY a headache and fever, and it doenst' go away in three days or stop responding to the meds, see the doctor.

In this particular case, in three days we went to the doctor. They took a CBC and she checked him over. Nothing. It was a virus - low white cell count meant it took a long time to counteract it. But it just needed the time.

So before you panic, check all the symptoms. Yes, meningitis *could* be the problem. Or it could be a simple virus that he managed to pick up and his body is trying to fight off. A virus can be treated with lots of fluids, a good vitamin supplement that includes the B-vitamins and treat the headache with ibuprophen. Rest, water, rest and water. Did I mention water?

If you are still concerned, after doing the tests that others have mentioned, PLEASE by all means call the doctor and ask. I agree with Mary - allergies should not cause fever...and if she couldn't be more specific about *what* allergies, I'd question it. But ther eis definitely an infection going on. If his own body can't fight it off in a day or two or three, check back with the doc and find out if it's bacterial or viral. Then go from there.

Sarah
(whose kids used to get fevers for the *strangest* reasons, none of which needed a doctor...*I* get a fever every. single. month...I do NOT need a doctor for it, either! Doctors have their place, but don't panic yet.)
 

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The part about hurting to move his head concerned me. My SIL had meningitis as a child and our family is a little spooked about things like that.

He doesn't get migraines, does he? After I have one, I feel like I've been kicked by a horse -- almost like there's bruising inside my head -- and at that point it hurts to move my head.

Hope he feels better. Wondering if school just started, there is a nifty new bug making the rounds.

Ann
 

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I had meningitis a few years ago - and it is scary! I have had migraines all my life, but this was 100 times worse (something I never used to imagine was possible). If he throws up - get to a doctor. If he lies down flat and relaxed, gently lift his head - if his feet raise too, get to a doctor. If the pain is coming from the back of his neck/head and not his face - tell the doctor where to put her allergies! If he is sensitive to lights (like a migraine) - get to the doctor.
I aso remember it hurting like all get out and needing to hunch my shoulders up when I had to walk anywhere because of the stiffness in my neck which lasted for a few weeks after I got out of the hospital.
 

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I'd be considering West Nile Virus. Does he play sports or is otherwise active outside?
Does your county have any reported cases of West Nile Virus---birds or humans?
 

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I was going to mention West Nile also. My daughter had it several years ago and she had fever and headache. I don't remember if there were other symptoms or not. The fact of it scared her really bad bacause that was when they were all over the news with it causing the menengitis or whatever in the brain and death, but the fact of it is, it's a virus and usually is NOT a big deal. You can give him Ibuprofin (Motrin) AND Acetaminafin(sp) (Tylenol) at the same time to bring that fever down and help him be comfortable. I also remember it lasted maybe two weeks, which is a long time for a kid to be sick.
 

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yes, however, ibuprophen, like aspirin is associated with Rye syndrome in children and young adults. therefore Non steroidal anti-inflamatory drugs are usually only prescribed in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and only when there is no indication of an infection. Headache with fever is probably viral, but could be allergy associated if it had progressed into mastoiditis, either way he needs to be seen by a DO or MD


Terri said:
For sinus headaches, caused by allergies or illnesses, ibuprofin is more effective than tylenol.

Tylenol helps with the pain. Ibuprofin does too, and it ALSO reduces the swelling that CAUSES the pain.

You are an experienced Doctor Mom. You have the patient in front of you. Trust your instincts on this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
He doesn't have meningitis symptoms. Neck is ok, no photophobia, no vomiting.

If I took a kid to the doctor every time they had a fever, I would have lost my house years ago to medical bills!

I know this is not associated with the allergies (hayfever) at all. The doc was thinking sinus headache due to that, but he didn't have a fever when he was there.

He's better this morning...still a fever, but under 100 (I finally found the thermometer) and that's with no tylenol. He wants to go to school, but I told him to stay home another day.

Jena
 

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I'd keep him home another day, too. Glad to hear that he is feeling better.
I just want to mention, and I am not suggesting this is his problem, my niece had her little daughter child in to the doctor two or three times with headaches, and the doctor sending her home with allergy meds. Finally, someone checked her blood sugar and sent her right to the hospital. She's learning how to deal with type 1 diabetes.
mary
 

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sounds like a sinus headache. I get them and the kids get them. Especially if allergies are bothering them. I've never taken one of them to the doctor for it. Gett eh congestion cleared up and give something for the fever if needed. I tend to let fevers run their course as long as they're not too high. A fever is the body's way of fighting infection. If you're constantly knocking it down with something it takes longer. The last time any of my 5 were in to the doctor was my oldest 2 years ago. She got an ear infection that would not respond to anything I was doing, and believe me I was doing several things. last year we all had the flu and none of us went in. We stayed in bed with vit c and plenty of fluids and we did try and keep the fevers down then to make everyone more comfortable.
 

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Good lord, I think Id be afraid to ask a question about illness here...lol

A fever will GIVE you a headache where it hurts to move your head. As for taking them to doctors whenever you have a fever, if you called the doctor they would tell you there is no need to bring them in for a fever unless there is also this or that symptom, or unless it has been high for a few days.
 

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Jena, try pressing on the sinus areas and see if it increases or eases the headache. Did you ask were the focus of the headache is, tension headaches are often at the base of the skull, sinus is right behind the face, etc. Another good indication of sinus problems is if the back teeth are bothersome. It's bothersome when kids get sick and some of them look so awful when they do but I think you're handling things well.
 
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