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A Guide to Viral Fevers

Viral fever refers to a collection of viral infections that impact the body and are characterised by a high temperature, burning eyes, headaches, body aches, nausea, and vomiting.


Because their immunity is poorer, viral fever is more common among youngsters and the elderly. Fever is not an illness in and of itself; it is a symptom of an underlying cause, which is a viral infection. A viral infection can affect any region of the body, including the intestines, lungs, and airways. As a result of the infection, a fever will develop. A high fever is usually a sign that the body's immune system is fighting and "burning off" intruding pathogens.


Many people self-medicate when they have an intermittent high fever with chills, sometimes even taking antibiotics, which is a bad idea. Viruses are immune to antibiotics. They eliminate dangerous germs. Antibiotics can harm your stomach lining, kill good gut flora, induce acidity, and damage your liver and kidneys if taken too often.


If you have a fever of more than 103 F/40 C that does not seem to be going away, you should see your family doctor or go to a general practitioner to be checked.


What are the symptoms of viral fever?

Depending on the underlying virus, viral fevers can range in temperature from 99°F to over 103°F (39°C).


If you have viral fever, you may have the following viral fever symptoms:


  • Occasional chills
  • Body temperature up to 103°
  • Dehydration
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Weakness
  • A loss of appetite


These symptoms normally only last a few days.


What causes viral fever?

Infection with a virus causes a viral fever. Viruses are infectious agents that are incredibly tiny. They invade and multiply throughout your body's cells. A fever is your body's defence mechanism against a virus. Because many viruses are sensitive to temperature changes, a quick rise in your body temperature makes you less virus-friendly.


You can get infected with a virus in a variety of ways, including:


  • Viral fever can be passed from one person to the next by coming into close contact with the host (the person infected with the virus) or a carrier (the one who might not have the symptoms of the viral fever but is carrying the virus).


  • Inhaling virus-containing droplets from an infected individual can also spread the viral fever. The most prevalent cause of viral fever is seasonal flu.


  • Sharing food or drinks with someone infected with a virus can potentially spread the virus.


  • Viral fever can also be caused by contaminated water, especially in children.


  • Viral fever can also be conveyed by coming into contact with an infected person's bodily fluids during sexual activity.


  • Insect bites like mosquito or tick bites can transmit the virus that causes viral fever from these insects to people. Some viral fevers caused by insect bites are dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika, and Chikungunya.


  • During drug usage, blood exchange with an infected person might cause viral fever.


How is viral fever diagnosed?

Viral fever symptoms and bacterial infections are typically similar. A doctor will most likely rule out a bacterial infection before diagnosing a viral fever. They can do so by looking at your symptoms and medical history and taking any samples for bacteria testing.


They could swab your throat if you have a sore throat to check for bacteria that cause strep throat. If the test results are negative, you are most likely infected with a virus.


They can also collect a blood sample or other bodily fluid to look for indicators that indicate a viral infection, such as your white blood cell count.


How is a viral fever treated?

Viral fever treatment is determined by the type of virus and the severity of the symptoms. For low-grade viral fever, doctors usually try to prescribe drugs like paracetamol or ibuprofen. Warm baths and electrolyte drinks can also assist with muscle aches, exhaustion, and diarrhea.


To relieve the discomfort of high-grade fever, your doctor may recommend a high dose of paracetamol to be taken more frequently (every 4-6 hours). You should not stop taking your medications without first visiting your doctor. Paracetamol can be given intravenously to lower their fever and bring it closer to normal for critically unwell individuals.


Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections, and they must be taken exactly as prescribed in terms of dose, frequency, and duration.

People frequently self-medicate using over-the-counter (OTC) viral fever drugs to ease the symptoms. Self-medication, however, can be harmful because it might lead to serious problems or the use of the wrong prescription. For correct diagnosis and treatment options, you should visit a doctor and seek medical attention. In addition, we urge that you contact our medical advisors for the most acceptable viral fever treatment alternatives.

Medanta Medical Team
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