All You Need To Know About Viral Fever
Dr. Sneha Ganatra
November 23, 2020
It is quite common to fall sick when there’s a change in the weather or when you are in a new environment. Normally, when infected, the typical response of your body is to develop a fever to fight the infection, which is any temperature higher than 98F or 37C. So, this begs the question, ‘What is viral fever?’. Simply put, it is a fever brought upon when the body is infected by a virus. Depending on the virus and severity, the degree of the fever varies and this is why it is important to be aware of viral infection symptoms as they arise.
Given how common it is to fall ill with a viral fever, it is well worth it to know all you can about it to help curb its effects. To that end, here’s a breakdown of viral fevers, right from its causes and early warning signs to symptoms, treatment and prevention tips.
Viral fever causes
As mentioned, a viral fever is caused when the body is infected by a virus. Viruses are infectious agents and they multiply within the cells of your body. Many viruses are susceptible to sudden shifts in temperature and a fever does exactly that. However, this isn’t always the case as not every person presents with a fever when infected. A fever is the body’s way of fighting off the infection and is typically the first sign that indicates treatment may be necessary.
Additionally, there are many ways in which a virus can infect your body. Here are few common vulnerabilities to take note of.
- Carriers: Animals and insects can be carriers of a virus and their bite can leave you infected. Common infections that are transmitted this way are rabies and dengue fever.
- Ingestion: Drink and food that you consume can be contaminated by a virus and as a result, you may get infected. Norovirus and enteroviruses are common examples of infection transmitted through ingestion.
- Inhalation: Viruses can also be transmitted in an environment that is contaminated. For instance, if an infected person sneezes next to you, you are likely to breathe in virus-laden droplets that are sure to cause infection. This is how viral infections like the flu or common cold are transmitted.
- Bodily fluids: Exchanging bodily fluids with a carrier is also another way to get infected by a virus. HIV and Hepatitis B are common examples of infections you can get via bodily fluids.
Viral fever symptoms
While the most common symptom is a fever, the best way to identify a viral infection is if it is accompanied by other symptoms as well. However, with the fever alone you can determine the severity of the infection as the body can record a temperature range between 99F up to 103F. Besides this, here are the other viral fever symptoms to keep an eye out for.
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
These are general symptoms of a viral infection and should stop when you start treatment for recovery. However, if left untreated, these can further evolve and cause the following.
- Severe headache
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Difficult breathing
- Stiff neck
If a patient faces any of these serious symptoms, it is vital that medical care is administered immediately.
Viral fever treatment
Generally, treatment for viral fevers is based on the severity and type of infection. Viruses don’t respond to antibiotics, which is why there is no specific viral fever medicine. This is what makes such infections deadly and the reason why doctors typically target the symptoms experienced by the patient.
Here are some common treatments for viral fevers.
- Over-the-counter fever medication: Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are medications you can use to reduce the fever.
- Lukewarm bath: The goal here is to reduce the body temperature as much as possible without stressing the body.
- Rehydration: Viral fevers dehydrate the body and keeping fluids levels in check is key to recovery. This is why electrolyte-rich solutions are best recommended for treatment.
An important pointer to note is that you should never self-medicate for a viral fever or infection. This may worsen the condition and cause irreversible damage to your body, particularly in the case of antibiotics for fever.
Viral fever prevention tips
Preventing infection, especially via a virus, is something you should prioritise as it can adversely affect your health for a long period of time. To prevent it, here are some practices you can put into play to give you the best chance of remaining healthy.
- Maintain personal hygiene and avoid infectious environments
- Get annual vaccinations for the flu
- Do not share personal belongings like handkerchiefs with others
- Sanitise or clean yourself thoroughly after a visit to any medical care centre
Whether it is a viral fever in kids or adults, the best approach is to be proactive to help with recovery. This means staying hydrated, monitoring body temperature and keeping the fever in check. In addition to that, it also helps to zero in on the cause of the fever, for which a diagnosis from a general physician is your best bet. To make the process of availing healthcare a lot simpler and find the right doctors easily in your vicinity, be sure to use the Bajaj Finserv Health app.
This simple and easy digital provision gives you access to a suite of healthcare features and benefits. You can book appointments at nearby doctor clinics online, track your vitals in real-time and even opt for virtual consults if a physical visit isn’t possible. What’s more, you can also maintain digital patient records and share them with doctors digitally for optimal viral fever care. For all the benefits and more, download the app today on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store for free.