The normal temperature of the human body is 98.6°F (37°C). When our body temperature is higher than this, the condition is known as fever. When the fever is due to infection with virus, this is known as viral fever. The virus can infect any part of the body and cause viral fever. So, viral fever is a symptom rather than an illness in itself.
Everyone does not need to get a fever when the virus infects the body. When the immune system of the body fights against the virus, there is a rise in body temperature (fever). The fever is a response of the body to destroy the proteins of the virus and prevent them from multiplication.
The fever varies from low-grade to high-grade. A low-grade fever is common in most of the viral infections. The high-grade fever is seen in some viral infections (e.g. Dengue virus infection). The fever is usually followed by a runny nose, cough, nausea, fatigue, headache and body ache.
The viral fever is generally seen in individuals who have weaker immunity. So, children and older people usually get the viral fever.
Anyone suffering from viral fever can have some of the following symptoms:
- Body, muscle and joint ache
- Runny nose
- Burning sensation in eyes
- Skin rashes
The viral fever is spread through air, food, and contact. When a healthy person breathes in the droplets released by infected person during coughing or sneezing, the virus enters into the body.
The virus also gets entry into the body by consuming contaminated food or drink. When we touch the contaminated surfaces, equipment or cloth, we can also get a viral infection. The virus can also spread by the bite of mosquitoes or ticks.
It is difficult to diagnose the specific cause of viral fever based on symptoms alone. This is because the symptoms of viral fever are common for many of the viral infections. A blood test is necessary to find the specific virus responsible for viral fever.
There is not any specific treatment for viral fever. The treatment of viral fever includes the management of the symptoms. However, the cause of fever, grade of fever and symptoms determine the treatment strategy. The symptoms can be managed in the following ways:
- Taking medicines to reduce fever
- Taking a lot of rest
- Taking fluid and electrolytes
- Taking a bath in lukewarm water to decrease the fever
- Taking antiviral medicines
During viral fever, the immunity of the body is lower. So, the bacteria can also infect the body. The doctor can sometimes prescribe antibiotics to prevent bacterial infection. But a complete course of antibiotics must be followed.
Sometimes, the fever goes very high and it becomes a medical emergency. Anybody temperature which is equal to or greater than 104°F (40°C) for children and 103°F (37°C) for adults is a very serious medical condition. This indicates the infection with a virus is very severe.