An average human has a body temperature of about 98.6°F (37°C). Anything above this degree is considered a fever. You can think of fever as a sign that your body is fighting off bacterial or viral infections. An underlying viral sickness causes a viral fever.
Humans beings are often affected by a variety of viral infections like the common cold and flu. If your fever is low, it could be a symptom of many viral infections, while high fever indicates dengue or malaria, and so on.
But how do you find out whether you have a viral fever or not?
Symptoms of a Viral Fever
Viral fevers can range from 99°F to 103°F (39°C), depending on the virus. The symptoms of viral fever are -
- Muscle aches and pains
- Feeling of weakness
- Loss of appetite
Generally, these symptoms typically only last for a few days. However, if you feel these symptoms for more than a few days, you should consider consulting a doctor.
What Causes Viral Fever?
Viral fever occurs when you get infected with a virus, an infectious agent that multiplies inside your body's cells. A fever is your body's response to fight off a virus. Most viruses are sensitive to temperature changes, so a sudden rise in your body's temperature makes you under a lesser threat to viruses.
There are many ways in which you could get infected by a virus, including:
- Inhaling: An already infected person can infect you by sneezing or coughing near you. You will then breathe in these droplets containing the virus—viral infections caused due inhaling are flu or a common cold.
- Ingestion: Viruses can contaminate food and drinks. If you consume contaminated foods and beverages, you can get an infection. Viral infections from ingestion are norovirus and enteroviruses.
- Bites: Animals or insects bites can cause infections like dengue fever and rabies. So, please be careful when outdoors.
- Bodily fluids: Body fluid exchange with someone infected with a virus can cause you infections. This type of viral infection includes HIV and hepatitis B.
How is a Viral Fever Diagnosed?
You will visit a general practitioner who will begin the diagnosis by ruling out a bacterial infection possibility. They will consider your symptoms and medical history; after that, they would take samples to test your condition.
For example, if you have a sore throat, they might conduct a throat swab test to determine if it is a bacteria that is causing strep throat. If your results are negative, you most likely have a viral infection. They might also check your white blood cell count to find out if you have a viral infection.
Treatment for Viral Fevers
Viral fevers usually don't have any treatments, like antibiotics for bacterial infections. Treatments that typically provide relief to your symptoms include -
Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen or any other over the counter fever-reducing medicines.
- Stay hydrated to replenish fluids lost while sweating
- Rest a lot
- Sit in a lukewarm bath to reduce body temperature
Consider visiting a doctor if you get a high fever or do not find relief after trying any of the abovementioned options.
When to visit a doctor?
Usually, viral fever is not a cause for worry. However, if your fever reaches 103°F (39°C) or higher, you should visit a general practitioner right away.
You require immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms along with high fever -
- Chest pain
- Severe headache
- Breathing difficulties
- Continuous vomiting
- Pain in the abdomen
- Quickly worsening rashes
- Stiff neck associated with pain while bending it forward
- Seizures or convulsions
Monitor your fever at regular intervals and take ample rest. However, if you do not recover in a few days, you should seek medical help immediately. During this time, do stay hydrated and take ample rest.