Viral Fever Symptoms: Fever is a general sign that you probably have an infection. It’s a normal occurrence as your body raises its temperature after getting any sort of infection.
It’s done to kill the infection causing agents (pathogens) that made entry in your body. Most of the time, we suffer from either bacterial or viral infection.
This post is about the symptoms, cause and treatment of different kinds of viral infection that you should know about, especially when COVID-19 is spreading very fast globally. Having a little knowledge might help you taking precautions more accurately.
What is a viral fever?
The normal body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C). If your body temperature raises anything more than this, it will be called as fever.
In general sense, fever comes mainly due to bacterial or viral infection and is a sign that your body is fighting with any such type of infection. A viral fever is the one caused by an underlying viral illness.
There are a variety of viral fevers that affect human beings. They can be a common cold virus or a flu virus.
If you have a low grade fever, it can be due to many viral infections. But there are some other viral infections like dengue fever where you can expect a higher fever.
What Are Viral Fever Symptoms?
In most cases, viral fevers can range in temperatures between 99°F to over 103°F (39°C), depending on the type of underlying virus. Take a look at the below given general symptoms that arise after the onset of a viral fever.
- Loss of appetite
- Pain and muscle ache
All the above symptoms generally last for a few days in most cases.
What causes a viral fever?
A viral fever means an infection due to a virus. As you might be aware, a virus is a small infecting agent that not only infects but multiplies within the cells of your body. When fever comes, it’s a signal that your body is fighting with pathogens (bacteria or virus).
A lot of viruses exist that are found to be sensitive to shifts in temperatures. And when your body raises its temperature suddenly, it helps it less hospitable to viruses.
There are loads of ways when you get infected with a virus like:
Bodily fluids: Exchanging bodily fluids with anyone who has a viral infection is likely to infect you as well. Some examples of this kind of infection include HIV and hepatitis B.
Bites: There are some animals like insects that can carry virus with them. After they bite you, they transfer the virus they carry with them. Such viral infections are seen in rabies and dengue fever.
Ingestion: At times, fruits and drinks are contaminated with viruses. After you eat or drink them, you can get contaminated with an infection. This kind of viral infection caused due to ingestion includes enteroviruses and norovirus.
Inhalation: If someone infected with virus coughs or sneezes near you, there are chances that you also get infected. It happens after you breathe in droplets containing the virus. Such kind of viral infection that spreads through inhalation includes common cold and flu.
How A Viral Fever Diagnosed?
In most cases, viral and bacterial infections cause almost similar symptoms. When you have a viral fever, your doctor needs to first rule out the chances of a bacterial infection.
The best way to do this is by analyzing reports of your symptoms and medical history. There are also some tests available to detect if you have a bacterial infection.
For example, if you are suffering from a sore throat, your doctor may take a swab of your throat to test for any kind of bacterial infection.
Now, if the sample comes negative, it clearly means that you have a viral infection and not a bacterial infection.
The doctor can also go ahead by taking your blood sample or other body fluids to check for a number of markers that indicate you having a viral infection. This can be done by analyzing your white blood cells count.
How Viral Fevers Treated?
In the majority of cases, viral fevers do not require taking any sort of specific treatment. Please note that viral infections don’t respond to antibiotics unlike bacterial infections.
In order to manage a viral infection, the line of treatment is to help you get rid of symptoms. There are some common treatments methods like:
- Sitting in a lukewarm bath to lower down your body temperature
- Taking antiviral medication like oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu)
- Drinking plenty of fluid
- Taking rest
- Taking some medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce body temperature
When Should I See a Doctor?
Most of the times, you need not to worry about a viral fever. if your fever reaches 103°F (39°C) or higher, you need to call your doctor in such cases. The same applies when you have a baby with a rectal temperature 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
If you are suffering from fever, please check for the following symptoms as it may require a medical treatment.
- Seizures or convulsions
- A stiff neck, especially when you feel pain in bending it
- Rashes that quickly gets worse
- Frequent vomiting
- Abdominal pains
- Chest pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Severe headache
A viral fever basically results due to a viral infection. Before going for any treatment, you should check different viral fever symptoms.
Some viral infections result in flu or dengue fever. While most viral fevers don’t require any treatment, there are certain others that require medical attention.
In case, your body temperature reads 103°F (39°C) or higher, you need to consult your doctor. The best therapy until your doctor comes is to take rest and stay dehydrated.