All about Viral Fever- Don’t miss out

Viral fever is a term used to refer to the different types of fevers occurring due to viral infections. The average temperature of the human body is approximately 37.1°C or 98.4°F. Any rise in the body temperature above this normal value could be considered a fever.

Viral fever is usually low-grade with a body temperature below 100°F. However, in some cases such as Dengue, it can cause a high-grade fever with a body temperature rising above 100°F.

Viral fever is generally short-lasting or acute and occurs more commonly during monsoon and when the season changes. The duration of a viral fever is about 3 to 5 days, although the symptoms of some viral infections last up to 14 to 21 days.

Viral fever is more common in children and patients with weak immunity. A viral fever can sometimes go undiagnosed, allowing the infection to worsen thus triggering the development of severe complications. Hence, viral fever should never be overlooked. It is important to seek medical attention for the correct diagnosis and treatment of a viral fever.

What are the signs and symptoms of viral fever?


The common symptoms associated with viral fevers vary depending on the type of the infection. Some common symptoms of a viral fever include the following:

  • High-grade fever
  • Headache
  • Running nose
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Mild to severe myalgia (muscle pain) and arthralgia(joint pain)
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea with or without abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Redness and burning of eyes
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Facial swelling
  • Loss of appetite

A viral fever is usually self-limiting. The symptoms often subside spontaneously over a few days as the life cycle of the virus ends. Hence, the treatment of viral infections is generally aimed at reducing the fever and relieving the other symptoms.

However, if the symptoms become worse or persist for longer, patients may need additional treatments to avoid the complications.

What are the causes of a viral fever?


Viral fever is caused due to the exposure to the pyrogens produced in the body in repose to the viral antigens. The causes of the spread of a viral fever vary depending on the specific virus the person is exposed to.

  • Viral fever is often transmitted to others via close contact with the host having an active viral infection or even a carrier who might not have any symptoms of the infection but is carrying the pathogen.
  • Viral fevers like seasonal flu are transmitted due to the inhalation of the virus-containing droplets released from the infected person while sneezing, coughing, or talking.
  • Sharing food and drinks with a person having a viral infection can also contribute to the spread of the disease.
  • Contaminated water is one of the sources of the spread of a viral fever, especially in young adults and children.
  • Rodent (mice) and insect (ticks and mosquitos) bites are known to transmit the viruses from the infected insects and animals to humans causing a viral fever. Yellow fever, dengue, Zika, and chikungunya are someexamples of viral infections transmitted by insects and animals.
  • The exchange of contaminated blood from the infected person during a blood transfusion or drug abuse could also lead to the spread of the viral infection.
  • Viral fever can also spread due to close contact with the bodily fluids of the infected person during sexual intercourse.

Our online respiratory conferences are aimed at providing detailed information about the different types and causes of viral fevers and the best ways to treat and prevent them.

Diagnosis of a viral fever

Due to the similarities between the symptoms of viral and bacterial fevers, it is challenging to confirm the diagnosis of these conditions. A bacterial infection may also occur as a secondary infection in patients who have a viral infection.

The doctor can ask some questions to the patients to understand the severity and the timeline of the development of symptoms. These questions can help the doctor determine the possibility of a viral fever, the patient's overall health status, worsening or improvement of the symptoms, and the need for additional testing.

The doctor may also order diagnostic tests including blood tests, urine analysis, swab tests, sputum tests, and specific viral antigen and antibody tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Specific tests can be performed for the diagnosis of viral fevers like dengue or for differentiating viral fevers from other infective conditions such as malaria, typhoid, and chikungunya.

Treatment of viral fever

Viral infections tend to attack the immune system. If left untreated, these infections may lead to opportunistic or secondary infections.

Severe symptoms like high-grade fever require immediate medical attention aimed at preventing adverse effects on the bodily functions.

The treatment of a viral fever depends on the type of the infection and the severity of symptoms. Usually, the doctors prescribe medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve the fever. The intake of electrolyte solution may be recommended to reduce muscle aches and fatigue, and prevent dehydration if the patient also has vomiting and diarrhea.

The treatment of a high-grade fever may require a high dose of paracetamol to be administered more frequently to reduce the body temperature and alleviate the discomfort. In severely ill patients, paracetamol can be injected intravenously to lower the body temperature within a shorter duration.

The treatment may also involve the use of antibiotics if the patient has developed secondary bacterial infections.

Doctors can attend our AARC Approved CEUs to learn more about the specific treatments for different types of viral infections and the precautions to be taken to prevent complications and support recovery.


Generally, a symptomatic approach is followed for the management of viral fevers.  The symptoms often subside once the life cycle of the virus is completed. Along with the medication, the patient may also be advised to take adequate rest to help the body recover. In addition, maintaining personal hygiene, eating healthy foods, and using warm baths can also help the patients recover faster.

Doctors and other healthcare professionals can attend our respiratory webinars for doctors to know the latest guidelines about the diagnosis and treatment of viral fevers. The knowledge would help them recommend the best treatments to their patients thus improving the outcomes of therapies.