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"Eight days of fever, fatigue, headache, stiff neck, and body aches. Is it time to go to the ER??"


I am a 29 year old female who is relatively healthy though a bit over weight. About 8 days ago I began experiencing low grade fevers only at night ranging from 99.5 - 101.5. I then developed severe fatigue, night sweats, and all over body aches. I am on my 8th night with conditions slightly changing. I now have a stiff neck and headach (made worse by leaning down). I have been tested for Lyme's disease and flu and both were negative. My WBC is 11.7 and my neutrophils are 8085. All other results of CMP and CBC normal. I am scared and so fatigued. I have been trying to keep my fluids up, but dont have much of an appetite. Was told by my primary care that is must be a virus and to let it run its course, that was on day 5. Is it time to take a trip to the emergency room? Please help..


I'm sorry to hear that you are feeling so badly and not experiencing much improvement even 8 days out now. It is definitely the case that viral infections commonly cause symptoms like this, and those symptoms can go on for quite a while, definitely more than 1 week. However, if you are feeling more and more fatigued and not having any relief, then it is definitely time to check in with a doctor again.

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Of all the symptoms that you mention, I am most concerned by the headache and the stiff neck, because these could be symptoms of meningitis, which can be a serious medical problem. If the headache and stiffness are severe, especially if you have other symptoms such as dizziness, sensitivity to light, or nausea, then a trip to the emergency room is definitely in order. In the emergency room, they will probably want to do a spinal tap to look at the fluid in your spinal column and make sure that you do not have meningitis. On the other hand if the headache and stiffness are mild and more like a general sensation of fatigue, then you might just be able to contact your primary care doctor and get in tomorrow for an urgent care visit.

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