Viral Fever - Tests & Treatment

What Is Viral Fever And When To See A Doctor?

Fever is the commonest, yet the most dreaded bodily response. As per medical science, fever is the product of some disease present in the body.

In an attempt to explain to the general public about the presence and importance of fever, Thomas Sydenham during the 1600s wrote: “Fever is a mighty engine which Nature brings into the world for the conquest of her enemies.”

It is important to understand that irrespective of the type of fever or the cause behind it, fever plays a major role in physiological response during sickness. It is believed to have a positive effect on activation and motility of white blood cells and production of inflammatory cytokines; occurring while causing hyper-metabolism, increased fluid loss, and general discomfort to patients.

What Is Viral Fever?

During our daily routine at home or outside, we are constantly exposed to a large variety of germs including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Some of these pathogens also reside within our body itself and become active when our body’s immunity is low.

[Also Read: When to see an immunologist]

Likewise, viral fever occurs when the body is infected by a virus. These viruses can range from causing a common cold to even flu.

Signs And Symptoms Of Viral Fever

The intensity of signs and symptoms depends majorly on the type of virus responsible for the infection. Some commonly observed signs and symptoms of viral fever include;

  1. Fever with or without chills
  2. Body ache – Including both joint pains and muscular aches
  3. A sore throat may or may not be present
  4. Headache
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Generalized weakness
  7. Signs of dehydration such as dryness of mouth and skin

Tests For Viral Fever

Generally, viral fever is diagnosed on the basis of presenting signs and symptoms. Yet, when a patient presents to a clinician with fever, the possibility of a bacterial infection needs to be ruled out with the help of some blood tests and radiological examinations.

The following tests may be done for a definitive diagnosis of viral fever;

  1. A complete blood count – Gives an idea about the hemodynamic condition of the patient.
  2. Urine routine and microscopic examination – To rule out the possibility of a urinary tract infection
  3. Blood tests for certain inflammatory markers may also be done.
  4. In cases of a disease of greater intensity or while assessing a suspected case during an epidemic, a throat swab and a nose swab is collected and sent to the laboratory for culture.
  5. Blood tests pertaining to other systems such as liver function test, kidney function test or a thyroid function test may also be advised if their involvement is suspected by your doctor

Treatment For Viral Fever

In most cases, viral fevers do not require any specific treatment. Viral fevers are primarily managed supportively or symptomatically with an aim to provide relief to the patient from his signs and symptoms.

Home Remedies For Viral Fever

Viral fevers can also be treated at home with the help of over the counter (OTC) medications and certain home remedies. Some common ways to treat viral fever are;

  1. Timely consumption of anti-viral medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  2. Over the counter medications for complaints like fever, body ache and headache
  3. Take adequate rest
  4. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fluids like juices, ORS and coconut water
  5. Avoid foods and drinks which may worsen your signs and symptoms such as cold food and drinks, sour foods, and oily or fried food.
  6. Use steam to get relief from symptoms of stuffy nose and headache
  7. Keep yourself warm with adequate covers, sweaters, socks

1. Warm Beverages

These have a soothing effect on the throat. This includes green teas, milk or even water

2. Turmeric

This is an age-old magic remedy that has potent antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties for nearly all kinds of complaints. You can either use turmeric in warm water for gargling or have warm turmeric milk at bedtime to get relief from signs and symptoms.

3. Coriander

This contains vitamins and nutrients which boost our immune system. Coriander can be used either in the form of seeds or by preparing a tea or decoction out of fresh coriander leaves.

4. Tulsi

This holy plant possesses antibiotic, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory property. Basil or tulsi leaves have been used since ancient times for the management of a wide range of infectious conditions. Tulsi leaves can either be eaten directly or in the form of a tea or decoction.

5. Ginger And Honey

This combination works beneficially as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory and often provide quick relief from signs and symptoms of viral fever

6. Honey And Half A Lemon

This combination along with a glassful of warm water is known to clear our lymphatic system and enhance our body’s immune system to fight against infection. This drink also works beneficially for people who complain of sore throat or throat pain

7. Fenugreek (methi)

Soak a few methi seeds in water overnight. On next morning, strain the seeds and drink the water. Fenugreek seeds are rich in alkaloids and saponins which make this home remedy efficient in reducing symptoms of viral fever

When To See A Doctor For Viral Fever?

Home remedies aid in the management of viral fevers. They are not meant to replace conventional medicinal therapy. You need to visit a doctor for viral fever under the following circumstances;

  1. High-grade fever (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit) not responding to medications.
  2. High-grade fever for more than 48 hours in spite of being on treatment
  3. High-risk group patients must seek medical help as soon as they notice signs and symptoms of viral fever. This includes toddlers, children, elderly people, pregnant or lactating women, or patients with pre-existing diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, thyroid disorders, renal disorders, or auto-immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
  4. Fever that is associating with the below-mentioned signs and symptoms indicate a more severe disease and must be reported to the doctor, including;
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Chest pain
    • Abdominal pain
    • Fever with a rash over the body with itching
    • Fever along with confusion or disorientation regarding time, place or person
    • Fever with neck stiffness
    • Convulsions during fever

Viral fevers with mild to moderate signs and symptoms generally resolve within a week’s time provided you take proper rest and maintain adequate hydration. Yet, it is also important to know when to visit a doctor for viral fever.

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