Viral fever is generally the more than average body temperature that is caused by a virus. Under such a condition, a person will experience viral fever symptoms that may include a cough, runny nose, nausea, fatigue, and body aches. Though not every person experiences a fever when a virus afflicts them, a fever can be a sign of the body fighting some bacterial or viral infection. An underlying health condition or weakness may also become a cause of viral fever. Most people get a body temperature of about 98.6°F (37°C), which is normal. So, anything a degree beyond this is considered a fever. From a common cold to any flu, a variety of viral infections can affect the body. A low-grade fever can be a symptom of many viral infections. However, some viral infections, such as dengue, can cause a high fever.
Most viral fever symptoms take time to improve and require supportive treatments such as over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for viral fever and cold compresses. But, having a body temperature that is too high is a viral fever symptom that requires urgent medical attention. Taking multivitamins or ayurvedic herbs for immunity is wise to stay away from viral infections. Having a fever can be the body’s way to react against nasty disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. The rise in temperature in the body can destroy the proteins in these pathogens and stop them from multiplying. Fever is also an inflammatory response to diseases and illnesses in the body.
Factors like age and the place from where the temperature reading originates determine the definition of viral fever. The definition of viral fever may vary in adults. However, many doctors consider the body temperature reading that is higher than 100°F (37.8°C), on an oral thermometer, as a fever. Fatigue, irritation, joint pain, and achiness are some other symptoms of viral fever. People can take oil massage or other home remedies for joint pain and body pains while having a viral fever. Additional symptoms of viral fever may vary depending upon the virus which is causing the underlying illness. For instance, the roseola virus can cause a fever for 2–3 days in children, with a rash that starts about 12–24 hours after the fever begins.
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Symptoms of Viral Fever
The body temperature can range from 99°F to over 103°F (39°C) in viral fever, depending on the underlying virus. The symptoms of viral fever can take a toll on physical health; hence resting while having a fever is the best thing to save the body’s energy. Below given are some common symptoms of viral fever-
- Feeling cold
- Muscle ache and body pain
- Shortness of breath or Breathing problems
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach upset
Causes of Viral Fever
The above-given symptoms of viral fever are caused by infection through a virus. Viruses are nothing but very tiny infectious agents. They infect the body and multiply within the cells rapidly. A fever, most of the time, is the body’s way of fighting against a virus. Sudden increases in the body temperature make a person a bad host for the virus to survive; this is why most viruses are sensitive to shifts in temperature. There can be many ways through which the symptoms of viral fever can inflict a person. Below given are some potential causes of viral fever-
- Inhalation: If a person with some viral infection sneezes or coughs near someone else, the chances are high that people near that area where the droplets of sneeze are in the air, might get infected. Flu and the common cold are some common examples of viral infections through inhalation.
- Ingestion: Food and drinks can get contaminated easily with viruses. If contaminated food or drink is consumed, a person might get an infection and viral fever. Norovirus and enteroviruses are examples of viral fever through ingestion.
- Bites: Insects and other types of animals can carry viruses. An insect bite can cause viral infections. Dengue fever and rabies are some widespread problems that cause viral infections in the body.
- Bodily fluids: The exchange of bodily fluids like blood with someone who has a viral infection can also become a cause of viral fever. Hepatitis B and HIV are examples of getting viral infections through the exchange of body fluids.
Also See: Indian Home Remedies for Viral Fever
Diagnosis of Viral Fever
Both bacterial and viral infections often cause similar symptoms. This is why symptoms of viral fever are common health problems. Ruling out a bacterial infection is the first step a doctor takes to diagnose a viral fever. They take into account all the symptoms of the viral fever and the past medical history, along with testing bacteria through samples. For example, to check sore throat, doctors might run a swab test through which they take a sample from the throat with the help of a swab. A negative result of the test means the affected person is prone to having a viral infection. Similarly, taking blood samples or samples of other body fluids for tests, such as white blood cell count, might make it clear if a person has a viral infection or not. If the viral fever reaches 103°F (39°C) or higher, urgent medical attention is required. Other viral fever symptoms that require urgent medical attention are as follows:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Severe headache
- Abdominal pain
Treatment of Viral Fever
Treatment for a viral fever largely depends upon the underlying cause; the temperature and other symptoms of viral fever are also the deciding factors for the treatment. For instance, fever greater than 104°F (40°C) for children and 103°F (39.4°C) for adults is a somewhat medical emergency. If the body temperature is equal to the given temperatures or is higher than these, then a person likely has a serious viral infection. Below given are the treatments of viral infection when it is a low-grade fever:
- OTC medications: Medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen can relieve viral fever. Aspirin can also treat viral fever, but people under 18 are advised not to take aspirin due to the risks of a condition called Reye’s syndrome. Antibiotics for viral fever are not a very wise option.
- Lukewarm baths: Warm water baths soothe the body and help bring down the fever.
- Drinking cool fluids: It is a myth that people should not drink cold water while having a fever. Cool water or electrolyte-containing drinks or solutions can help bring down body temperatures, keep the body cool and prevent dehydration and other related to illness.
Another common myth regarding viral fever is that using cold water while taking a bath or applying it to the skin is effective. But exposure to excessively cold temperatures can have a direct adverse effect on the body. A person having viral fever should keep in mind to use lukewarm water for a bath.
Before the temperature rises at an exceeding level, prior medical attention for viral fever is a wise decision. Viral fever can be any fever resulting from a viral infection, such as the flu or dengue fever. Unlike most viral fevers that go away within a day or two, some fevers that involve severe viral fever symptoms require medical treatment. If the body temperature starts reading 103°F (39°C) or higher, it becomes urgent to call the doctor. To deal with most of the viral fever symptoms, taking proper rest and staying well hydrated are the best ways.