Startup Problem on 98 Escort

When my 98 Escort is started, the revs go very high and come right down. It started doing this a couple on months ago. It drives ok after it is started. I am concerned this could damage my engine.
Any ideas what could be causing this?
Thanks you in advance for any help.
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John Perry opined in

HAve the codes read out.. they might show something that could give a clue.
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