If your body temperature rises above the normal human range of 98-100°F (36–37°C), you are probably experiencing a fever (including a viral fever). Fevers are a sign of your body’s immune system at work, fighting off an infection.
Fevers can be caused by a number of pathogens. However, when a virus is the underlying cause of your fever, we refer to it as viral fever.
Viral fever is most common during monsoons and the winter, caused by small infectious agents that are highly contagious.
Viruses that cause the common cold or the flu are generally the cause. However, serious cases of viral infections like dengue fever or yellow fever might also cause high temperatures.
Viral fevers generally go away with simple remedies, while more serious cases might require intensive care. Continue reading this article to learn about the common symptoms of viral fever, some home remedies, treatment, and when you should seek a doctor.
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In the majority of cases, a viral fever can range from 99°F to over 103°F (37°C to over 39°C) in temperature, depending on the causative virus. These numbers can be different for kids, where a fever is indicated by:
The general symptoms of viral fever are similar to other types of fever, which include:
If a baby has a fever, they may show the following signs:
In most cases, these symptoms last only for a few days. However, a high or persistent fever may indicate some underlying health conditions requiring medication attention.
A digital thermometer is the most convenient way to check your temperature. You should never use mercury thermometers, as they risk mercury poisoning due to exposure.
You should always take the following precautions when using a thermometer:
Rectal temperatures are known to be the most accurate, while those done in the armpit are found the least accurate. When taken properly, oral and ear temperatures are also respectably accurate.
Oral thermometers are quick and easy to use, and pretty accurate when used correctly. Always make sure to rinse the thermometer with soap and water or clean it with rubbing alcohol before and after a reading.
In addition, you should not take an oral temperature if the person just smoked, if they have a stuffy nose, or if they’re unconscious.
Digital ear thermometers also called tympanic thermometers, use an infrared ray to measure the temperature inside the ear canal.
While an ear thermometer can be a quick and easy way to measure temperature, it should not be used if a baby is three months old or younger. They can also be inaccurate if someone has too much earwax, or if they’re suffering from some ear infection.
A rectal thermometer is the most accurate tool to check body temperature, especially in infants and children. To take a rectal temperature, you’ll need a digital rectal thermometer as well as a lubricant, like petroleum jelly.
Here are the steps to use one:
You should seek medical care if the rectal temperature is:
You should make sure that you don’t use a rectal thermometer for other body parts. Additionally, properly disinfect it with rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-based wipe before and after each use.
A viral fever typically lasts for 3 to 7 days, although it can last for up to 2 weeks in some cases. The overall duration of the fever depends upon your overall health, the causative virus, and if you have other health conditions.
If your fever persists for more than a week, it is recommended that you see a doctor.
Viral fever is caused by infection from a virus. While all viral diseases are not contagious, common infections like the flu and the common cold can spread from one person to another by:
To prevent the spread of the infection, the patient should try to remain isolated.
The loss of smell can occur as a symptom of viral fever due to nasal congestion, although it returns as your congestion is relieved. However, the loss of taste and smell is typically an early symptom of COVID-19.
Short-term illnesses like viral fever can cause unintentional weight loss due to abdominal discomfort or diarrhea. If you experience rapid weight loss, you should seek medical attention to rule out any other health condition.
Antibiotics are medicines that help fight bacterial infections by destroying or slowing down the growth of bacteria. As viral infections are caused by viruses, antibiotics are ineffective in treating them.
A viral fever is an immune response generated by your body when it comes in contact with a viral infection, like the common cold or the flu.
Most viral fevers are of no concern and go away within a few days. However, some cases can result in severe symptoms and other complications. These may require medical attention, proper rest, and antiviral medications.
If an adult’s temperature reads higher than 103°F (39°C), a child younger than 3 months old has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or a child older than 3 months old has a temperature higher than 102.2°F (39°C), you should seek immediate medical assistance.