Viral Fever: Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis

Viral fever is an acute viral infection that occurs due to seasonal changes and infection in the environment, especially in the monsoon season. It is generally characterized by an elevation in the normal body temperature along with cold and flu. Usually, it is not a disease in itself but an effect of viral infection. Viral fever sometimes may remain undiagnosed until it makes headway to the later stages. Besides this, many people are even habitual of self-medication in case of viral fever, which should be avoided as it increases the probability of complications. 

Symptoms of viral fever:
People with viral fever may experience the following symptoms:


  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Running nose
  • High body temperature, up to 104 degrees
  • Swelling in face
  • Dehydration
  • Occasional chills
  • Eye redness
  • Skin rash
  • Loss of appetite


Although most of these signs and symptoms go away in three to four days, if symptoms worsen, people should seek medical help to avoid further complications.


Causes of viral fever:


Fever is nothing but the immune system's way of fighting back with foreign pathogens. When a pathogen like bacteria or virus enters the body, the immune system gets a trigger to fight back. This triggering behavior raises the body temperature as most of the viruses are temperature sensitive. However, the most common causes of viral fever are:


Inhalation of air droplets: When an infected person sneezes or coughs nearby a healthy person, the air droplets can be inhaled by a healthy person and can cause infection.

Ingestion of food products: Food and beverages are contaminated by various viruses, and consuming them can cause infection.


Mosquito bites: Monsoon is known as the breeding season for mosquitoes causing malaria, dengue, etc. These mosquito-borne illnesses are also an example of viral fever.


Exchanging body fluids: Blood transfusion, needle prick injury from an infected person to a healthy person may cause viral fever such as HIV & Hepatitis B.

How to diagnose viral fever?

It is challenging to diagnose viral fever just by reviewing the signs and symptoms, as fever is a common condition for various ailments. For an effective treatment plan, diagnosis is important to find the cause of fever. A doctor may prescribe some blood tests to detect the presence of any bacterial, viral or fungal infection.

Based on the physical examination, a doctor may also suggest radiology imaging such as chest X-ray, MRI scan, CT scan for further investigation.


How to treat a viral fever?


The treatment for viral fever primarily focuses on relieving the symptoms. In most cases, viral fever does not need specific medical treatment. In the case of viral fever, unlike bacterial infections, it does not respond to antibiotics. An individual should contact a doctor if their condition does not stabilize. 


Dos for viral fever:


  • Taking medications to reduce fever symptoms
  • Taking antiviral medication prescribed by doctors
  • Taking plenty of rest
  • Drinking enough fluids
  • Taking lighter meals that can be digested easily.


Don’ts for viral fever:


Avoid self-medication: Taking medicines/antibiotics without correct knowledge and prescription may worsen the existing condition.

Do not share personal belongings: Personal belongings like a handkerchief, soap, towel, etc., should not be shared with anyone.


Maintain a comfortable, hygienic environment: The environment and temperature around the infected person should remain normal. We should not cover the patients with very heavy clothing or blankets.

Complications associated with viral fever

If not treated timely, viral fever may result in complications such as


  • Dehydration
  • Hallucination
  • Shock
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Nervous system malfunction
  • Respiratory dysfunction
  • Kidney & liver failure
  • Multiple organs failure


Who is more prone to viral fever?

Although, viral fever can attack anyone regardless of age and gender. However, the risk is slightly higher in the following:


  • Children and elderly age people due to weakened immune system
  • Close contact with an infected person
  • People with pre-existing chronic diseases
  • Needle sharing
  • People living or travelling in viral contaminated area
  • Sharing personal belonging with an infected person


Preventive measures

Viral fever is a very common ailment in the rainy season. Therefore, people should follow common preventive measures to stay away from viral fever.


  • Maintain personal as well as respiratory hygiene
  • Teach children to wash their hands thoroughly
  • Always carry a hand sanitizer along
  • Avoid unnecessary touching of mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Cook food thoroughly
  • Avoid water stagnation as it increases mosquitoes breeding
  • Seek medical help if required



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