Viral Fever – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Viral fever

What is viral fever?  

Person affected Viral Fever

A body temperature of about 98.6°F (37°C) is normal, and anything higher than 100.4°F is considered a fever. When you have flu or cold, your body temperature spikes due to viral infection.

Moreover, people nowadays have resorted to self-medication instead of reaching out to healthcare providers, which increases the chance of multiple complications when they suffer from viral fever.

What is the indicator of viral fever? 

A majority of us would have encountered some fever in our lifetime. But what is it exactly? Is it a disease?

Fever is nothing but your body’s immune response to disease-causing pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Whenever your immune system detects the entering of such foreign bodies, it triggers an immune response that increases your body’s temperature.

In both adults and children, we check the temperature in the oral, rectum and tympanic membrane.

If the temperature in the rectum, ear or oral is higher than 100.4°F (38.0°C), it indicates a viral fever.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Viral Fever

Viral fever may present with the following symptoms:

Even though these viral fever symptoms disappear in about 3 – 4 days, people should always see a doctor if they persist or worsen.

What causes viral fever? 

The body’s immune system responds with a fever when it encounters or fights foreign pathogens. Your body’s immune system naturally gets the impulse to fight back certain harmful pathogens like viruses and bacteria that make their way into your body.

The body’s temperature soars high when this behaviour takes place. Viruses are most commonly transmitted by:

  • Air Droplets Inhalation 

The air droplets of an infected person spread by coughing, talking or sneezing near you, without covering their face. When it is inhaled, it can result in an infection.

You are likely to contract an infection if you consume contaminated food items. Viruses infect foods, so you might get infected by them when you consume such foods.

contaminated food causing viral fever

Monsoon is the time when the mosquitoes breed on stagnant water and multiply, resulting in an outbreak of diseases like malaria and dengue. It is also possible to contract viral fevers from mosquito bites.

  • Body Fluids Exchange  

Infections such as viral fever, hepatitis B and HIV can be acquired from blood transfusions and from being pricked by an infected needle. They can also be sexually transmitted.

What are the types of viral fever? 

Based on the area it affects, viral fever can be classified under the following types:

  1. Respiratory viral fever 

When a virus affects your respiratory tract, usually its upper or lower part, it is a respiratory viral disease. Some common respiratory viral infections are:

The SARS-Cov-19 infection caused by a novel coronavirus, the viral infection currently ravaging the world, also comes under this category.

  1. Viral enteritis

This type of viral infection affects your digestive tract. Gastrointestinal viral fever is also known as Stomach Flu. It often leads to a health condition called Gastroenteritis.

The following are some common infections of gastrointestinal virus:

  • Rotavirus infection
  • Adenovirus infection
  • Norovirus infection
  • Astrovirus infection
  1. Exanthematous viral fever 

When viral infections affect the skin in addition to causing fever, such infections are termed Exanthematous viral infections. Some common Exanthematous infections include:

  • Measles
  • Chickenpox
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Roseola

Such infections often cause visible skin eruptions and rashes that last for days before they subside and heal by scab formations. These infections mostly occur in children but are not limited only to them.

With timely vaccination, the bulk of such infections can be prevented.

  1. Hemorrhagic viral fever  

Some viruses can cause life-threatening situations by bleeding manifestations, and such a family of viruses is named a hemorrhagic virus. They usually raise your body temperature to high levels.

This type of infection affects your blood vessels and platelets leads to internal bleeding. Some viral fevers that belong to this category are:

  1. Neurologic viral fever  

A virus specifically infects the Central nervous system, is called a neurotropic virus and such viruses cause neurological infections.

Some common infections of such kind are:

Mostly, the virus enters your bloodstream and reaches the brain or spinal cord. The neurological viral diseases are further classified into acute and chronic viral infections.

How to diagnose viral fever?  

diagnosis of viral  fever

It is not easy to diagnose a viral fever by merely assessing its signs and symptoms, as plenty of reasons can trigger the fever in your body. Various diagnosis methods are required to conclude that you have a viral fever.

Most of the time, the symptoms of bacterial and viral infections seem similar. Hence, doctors usually try to rule out bacterial infections to diagnose viral infections.

Doctors do this by analysing your medical history and symptoms. They also take samples (blood, urine, sputum, etc.) from you and send them for tests, for instance, the blood test, urine test and swab test.

If no bacteria has been detected in the above samples, it may be concluded that the individual may be diagnosed with viral the infection.

Doctors also conduct a test to confirm the presence of the virus by recommending tests such as rapid influenza diagnostic tests. Blood, sputum and urine tests are also conducted to confirm the presence of the virus in your body.

Viral fever treatments

The preliminary step in treating a viral fever is to concentrate on reducing the symptoms. In most cases, you may not require any treatment for viral fever as your body fights against the virus and recovers on its own.

However, if a person’s condition doesn’t normalise within 3-4 days, the person needs to be treated for viral fever.

Medicines for viral fever 

Unlike bacterial infections, antibiotics do not affect viruses. However, you can take antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections.

In some cases, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs for specific viral diseases to whom the diagnosis has been confirmed by lab tests. Antiviral therapy can be started in such cases. Viral fever can be managed with paracetamol and antihistamines.

Home remedies for viral fever 

soup for viral fever

During viral fever, you’ll be dehydrated as your body sweats more.

To replenish your body, you need to intake a lot of fluid. Apart from normal drinking water, you can intake:

For babies and toddlers, you can rely on specialised drinks with electrolytes, such as Pedialyte, which you can purchase at a local pharmacy.

Another thing that you need to keep in mind is to take a rest. Because viral fever is a sign that your body works hard to fight infections, in such cases, you do not want to strain your body any further.

Taking adequate rest and avoiding strenuous physical activity will be of great help.

You can also rely on the following food items that prove to be effective during a viral fever:

Viral fever home remedies for children 

Fever is a common problem for children. Some home remedies can be relied upon when it comes to viral fever.

You can adhere to the traditional method of bringing down the fever using a wet sponge.

Simply dip a clean sponge or muslin cloth in lukewarm water (between 85-90°F) and put it on the baby’s forehead and underarms. Repeat this a couple of times during the day.

What to do during viral fever?   

  • If you have a viral fever, take your prescribed medications on time to reduce its symptoms.
  • Take antiviral medicine prescribed for you, which you must take as directed.
  • Give sufficient rest.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Consume lighter, digestible meals.

 Things to avoid when you have a viral fever  

  • Avoid googling for symptoms and self-medicating.
  • Avoid taking medicines without precise and accurate knowledge.
  • Do not share any personal items, such as towels, soap, or handkerchiefs, when you have a fever.

 Complications accompanied with viral fever  

When viral fever is left undiagnosed and untreated for a long time, and when the fever prolongs, it might lead you to suffer from:

Who is likely to develop a viral fever?  

Viral fever can affect anybody, irrespective of their age. However, the chances of developing viral fever are higher in children and adults with a weak immune system. Viral fever is contagious, and doing the following can lead to viral fever:

  • Close ties with infected individuals
  • Sharing needles
  • People with disease and ailments from beforehand
  • People traveling to or from contaminated areas
  • Sharing belongings with an already infected person

How can you prevent viral fever?

Viral fever is very common and spreads mostly during the rainy season. To prevent viral fever, people must follow certain preventative measures.

  • Prioritize their respiratory hygiene and personal hygiene.
  • Impart lessons about hand-washing for children.
  • Keep your nose and mouth clean. Do not touch your eyes or mouth.
  • It isn’t a good idea to let rainwater stagnate outside for very long, as it may increase mosquito breeding areas.
  • Seek professional medical support when needed.

In conclusion 

A fever is your body’s defensive mechanism to fight the invaded pathogen.

When you suffer from viral fever, there are plenty of ways to maintain your energy levels and keep your body temperature in control without the need to visit the hospital.

However, visit your doctor if you experience a prolonged fever. Also, consult your doctor before giving any over-the-counter medicines to the children.

As experienced, a single viral outbreak has introduced fear into the lives of many, especially those who are facing severe health challenges. In recent years, the immune levels of humans are waning, and chances of hospitalisation seem to be hiking up. Not all viral infections need hospitalisation. In case of a weak immune system, you may not be able to fight severe viral infections, and you may need hospitalisation based on your doctor’s consultation. Expenses related to hospitalisation may overwhelm you.

During such uncertain times, a health insurance policy with holistic coverage can help you to keep your savings intact by paying a major part of your medical bills.

Star Health Insurance provides a widely-assorted range of Health Insurance Policies covering your medical expenses. Star Comprehensive Insurance Policy is specially featured towards coverage for the pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, Out Patient medical consultations, hospital cash benefits and so on, all under a single roof.

Young Star Insurance Policy is designed for individuals aged between 18 and 40 years seeking financial protection from medical emergencies. This policy is available in both Silver and Gold variants, covering your pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses up to the limits mentioned in the policy. Some of the other highlighting benefits include E-medical opinion, coverage for all day care procedures, cost of health check-ups, hospital cash benefit and many more.


How many days does viral fever last for adults and children?

For adults and children, most viral fevers last for around 3 to 4 days. Sometimes, the fever can come in a cyclic pattern and lasts for over a week. Other times, it just comes and goes in a day or two.

What to eat in viral fever? 

You need enough calories to replenish your body. Broth, chicken soup, rice starch, idli (steamed rice cake) are some foods you can rely on. Make sure to eat easily digestible foods. You can also consume lots of warm fluids.

Is paracetamol good for viral fever? 

Most times, paracetamol helps reduce the body temperature that rises out of viral fever.

What are the symptoms of monsoon viral fever?  

Some common symptoms of monsoon viral fever include:

How do I know if I have a respiratory viral fever?  

When a virus infects your upper or lower respiratory tract, it is called respiratory viral fever. Common symptoms include cough, sore throat, running nose, increased body temperature, throat pain and sneezing.

Scroll to Top