Can Allergies Cause a Fever?

Experts say you might want to think twice before blaming your child's low-grade fever on allergies. Here's what parents need to know.

Parent taking their child's temperature
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Whether your child is allergic to pet dander or pollen, you may wonder if they can have a low-grade fever with allergies. However, while allergy sufferers experience a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from itchy eyes and runny nose to sore throat and congestion, a fever is not one of them.

Allergy symptoms can occur throughout the year or seasonally, depending on the cause of your allergies, and they can negatively affect day-to-day activities, says Sanjeev Jain, M.D., a board-certified allergist and immunologist at Columbia Allergy. However, if your child has a fever that means their body is fighting a viral or bacterial infection rather than allergies. Here's what parents need to know.

Can Allergies Cause a Low-Grade Fever?

Allergies happen when the body overreacts to a benign substance it considers harmful. As a result, the immune system produces antibodies and histamine to fight off the perceived invaders, causing an inflammatory reaction that makes you feel downright lousy.

Even though seasonal allergies are sometimes called "hay fever," they don't trigger a rise in temperature, says Natasha Burgert, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician for Pediatric Associates in Overland Park, Kansas.

Fevers are more likely to be viral or bacterial in nature, says Dr. Jain.

It's important to note that your child's immune system works overtime to fight off allergies, which increases their susceptibility to colds, sinus infections, or viruses. Your kid can definitely run a fever while suffering from allergies, but their high temperature won't actually be caused by the allergies. Instead, it will most likely be triggered by an underlying infection.

How to Treat Allergy Symptoms with a Fever

Fevers aren't caused by allergies, so if your child experiences a rise in temperature, something else is likely to blame. For example, viruses like the common cold or influenza cause fever as the immune system struggles to fight them off. Bacterial infections like strep throat might also lead to fever—and so can ear infections, heat exhaustion, urinary tract infections, and more. Also, COVID-19 can present with fever and allergy-like symptoms—mainly a runny nose, sore throat, and coughing.

Always let your pediatrician know about any worrisome symptoms in your kid. They might need to treat the underlying cause of their fever with antibiotics if a bacterial infection is at play. If applicable, they might also recommend a coronavirus test. You'll also want to keep treating their allergy symptoms, as needed. Be sure to double-check with your child's pediatrician that any medications your child is already taking are safe to take with anything new that's prescribed.

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