Viral Fever - Signs & Treatment

Viral fever is a very common ailment today, it is caused by a virus leading to either low-grade fever causing common cold or flu. Whereas the high-grade fever (103 F) causes dengue. The viral fever symptoms are nasal and chest congestion, sore throat, runny nose, loss of appetite, etc. As antibiotics don't work for viral fever, there are a lot of home remedies like; consuming lime and honey, tulsi leaves, moringa leaves, etc. Maintaining good personal hygiene will also keep the viral fever at bay. Children and the elderly are more susceptible to viral fever, they should take care and adhere to preventive measures so as to avoid complications such as seizures, dehydration, infection of the blood, etc.

Viral Fever Meaning

Viral fever is caused by a viral infection arising due to the transmission of tiny germs from one individual to another. Once you contract a virus, the immune system of your body starts fighting the infection. This raises the body temperature from the normal range of around 98.6°F to anything up to 103°F. Any increase in the normal body temperature above 100°F is called a fever.


While low-grade fever is caused by ordinary viral infections, like the common cold and flu, a high-grade fever of up to 103°F can be caused by certain dangerous viruses such as the Dengue virus. As opposed to bacterial infections, viral infections can’t be treated using antibiotics. These infections are usually allowed to run their course, which can range anywhere from several days to a week or even longer. Doctors usually prescribe medicines to manage the viral fever symptoms. 

Viral Fever

What is the Indicator of a Viral Fever?

The primary indicator of a viral fever is the rise in the body temperature of the affected individual. Now generally, the average body temperature for a regular human being tends to be anywhere around 97°F to 100°F. 


If you’re running a temperature that’s above 100°F, you’re said to have a fever, which can either be due to a virus, bacteria or a fungus. A fever that’s caused by a virus is typically referred to as a viral fever. 


Generally, viral fever diagnosis is typically done by conducting a range of different tests, which may include blood tests or nasal and throat swabbing. 

What are the Types of Viral Fever?

There are different types of viral fevers that can affect the human body. They’re generally categorised based on the area of the body that they affect. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common types of viral fevers that you may encounter. 

 1. Respiratory Viral Fever

Respiratory viral fever is when a virus infects either the upper or the lower part of your respiratory tract. In addition to a fever, such infections typically also lead to breathing troubles. Some of the viruses that cause respiratory viral fevers are - 


  • Influenza virus

  • Parainfluenza virus

  • Rhinovirus

  • Adenovirus

  • Respiratory syncytial virus

  • Polio virus

  • Measles virus 

  • Coronavirus, including SARS-Cov-19 

 2. Viral Enteritis 

When a virus ends up infecting your gastrointestinal tract and you develop a fever, it is referred to as viral enteritis. Such infections are also known as the stomach flu and can lead to a condition called Gastroenteritis. Apart from a fever, the typical symptoms of viral enteritis include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Few viruses that are capable of causing enteritis in humans include - 

  • Rotavirus

  • Adenovirus

  • Norovirus

  • Astrovirus

 3. Exanthematous Viral Fever

Such fevers are usually caused due to a virus infecting the skin. Exanthematous viral fevers usually lead to itching, blisters or rashes on the skin and can cause permanent scarring. Viral infections of the skin can generally be prevented by taking timely vaccines. 

 4. Hemorrhagic Viral Fever

Viral infections that cause either internal or external bleeding are labelled as hemorrhagic viral fevers. They’re usually very dangerous and can be life-threatening if you don’t seek timely medical assistance. Hemorrhagic viral fevers affect platelets and blood vessels and drastically raise your body temperature. Some of the viruses that cause such fevers are - 

  • Ebola virus

  • Dengue virus 

  • Flavivirus  

 5. Neurologic Viral Fever

Viral infections that attack the central nervous system of the human body and cause fevers are termed as neurologic viral fevers. They affect the brain and the spinal cord and can cause irreparable damage if left untreated. A few of the viruses that cause neurological fevers are as follows - 

  • Herpes virus 

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

  • Rabies virus


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What Causes a Viral Fever?

Viral fever results from getting infected by a host of viral infections such as parainfluenza virus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), norovirus and rotavirus infection of the gastrointestinal tract, measles, smallpox, chickenpox and chikungunya viral infection and hepatical (inflammation of the liver) viral infections, like Hepatitis A, B, etc. These viruses are spread by ticks, mosquitoes and by coming in contact with an infected person’s body fluids.


1. Viral Fever Causes in Babies

Babies and children face a higher risk of viral infections as their immunity is low. They are especially susceptible to infections such as common cold, bronchiolitis, tonsillitis, mumps, chickenpox, influenza and ear infections.

2. Causes of Viral Fever in Men

According to medical research, the intensity and prevalence of viral infections are generally higher in males. However, viral infections in men can be treated by antiviral medications, with lesser risks of adverse reactions. Common infections in men include those of the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, nervous system, reproductive system, etc. 

3. Viral Fever Causes in Women

As per research, as compared to males, women show a comparatively better and more robust immune response to viral infections. But when it comes to antiviral drugs and vaccines, women can face adverse reactions because of their higher immune (antibody) response. A stronger immune response also makes women susceptible to autoimmune diseases such as thyroid, rheumatoid arthritis etc. The common viral infections in women are the same as those among men.

4. Viral Fever Causes in the Elderly

People with advanced age are more prone to viral infections because of comparatively weaker immune systems. 

What are Viral Fever’s Symptoms?

The foremost symptom of a viral infection is fever. The increase in temperature allows your body to destroy the protein in the germs and prevent them from multiplying. Additionally, one might even experience several other viral fever symptoms like:

  • Chills

  • Sweating

  • Dehydration

  • Headache

  • Muscle ache

  • Body pain

  • Pain in joints

  • Loss of appetite

  • General weakness

  • Painful tonsils

  • Nasal and chest congestion

  • Cough and runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • Skin rashes

  • Diarrhoea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Burning sensation in the eyes

  • Inflammation of the pharynx 


How to Know If You Have Been Diagnosed With Viral Fever?

To diagnose viral fever, your doctor will consider the viral fever symptoms along with your medical history. Then a suitable medical test will be conducted to rule out the possibility of a bacterial infection. For instance, to diagnose whether you are suffering from influenza, the doctor can ask for a rapid influenza diagnostic test. Swabs of the throat, blood samples and other bodily fluids can be tested for viral infections.

How to Get Rid of Viral Fever at Home?

Most of us often take the help of antiviral medications and antibiotics for fever and cold. However, there are also some viral fever home remedies that can come to your rescue. Let’s take a look at some Indian home remedies for viral fever:

1. Consume Honey and Lime Juice

A serving of lime and honey put together can be a great way to stay away from viral infections like flu. Honey provides energy while lime keeps the toxicity away, helping you stay away from viral fever.

2. Consume Tulsi Leaves

Tulsi is widely used as a home remedy for viral fever. The antioxidant and antibiotic properties make tulsi very effective.

You can also use herbal home remedies for viral fever treatment. These include:

3. Moringa

You can use moringa powder or capsules as a natural supplement to reduce fever. Moringa leaves have a range of nutritional and medicinal benefits. As compared to drugs, this home remedy is also gentler on your body.

4. Kudzu Root

This home remedy can help you reduce inflammation and body pain. You can use this natural supplement as a powder, capsule or liquid extract.

When Should I See a Doctor for Getting Viral Fever Cured?

While you take all the necessary precautions and consider viral fever home remedies too, viral infections can still end up affecting you, especially during bad weather. You may tackle fever on your own, but a high fever can pose some health risks, which is why visiting a doctor is vital.

When Should Adults Visit a Doctor for Viral Fever?

When it comes to adults, a fever of 103°F (39°C) or higher, which may not be responding to medication or lasts over three days needs medical attention. Moreover, if your fever is accompanied by severe headache, trouble breathing, rash, stiff neck, abdominal pain, sensitivity to bright light, frequent vomiting, and seizures, it is crucial to visit a doctor immediately. 

When Should Children Visit a Doctor for Viral Fever?

With children, things are a lot more sensitive. A high fever can be more dangerous for a young child than an adult. Here’s when to call your child’s doctor, depending on the age of the child.

  • Age 0 to 3 months: 

Rectal temperature is 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.

  • Age 3 to 6 months: 

Rectal temperature is above 102°F (39°C) accompanied by irritation or excess sleep.

  • Age 6 to 24 months: 

Rectal temperature is above 102°F (39°C) that lasts longer than a day. In case there are other symptoms like a rash, cough, or diarrhoea, you may want to go for an immediate medical check-up.

  • Age 2 and/or older: 

Visit a doctor if the fever repeatedly rises above 104°F (40°C).


Apart from the above factors, it is recommended that you seek medical advice if your child has a fever that is accompanied by the following signs or symptoms:

  • Unusually lethargic and irritable behaviour or has other severe symptoms

  • Fever that lasts longer than three days

  • No fix upon medication

  • Unable to keep fluids down

Things to Avoid When you Have a Viral Fever  

Just like how it is important to know what to do when you have a viral fever, it is equally crucial to be aware of what not to do as well. Here are some things that you should avoid when you’re down with a viral fever. 


  • Self-medication 

  • Relying on information from the internet 

  • Not taking medicines in the right dosage 

  • Sharing personal items with other individuals 

Complications Arising Due to Viral Fever

Viral fever is generally cured in a week or 10 days. However, severe cases of it may lead to some complications. According to reports, these complications are:

  • Respiratory fever

  • Multi-organ failure

  • Malfunctioning of nervous system

  • Coma

  • Seizure

  • Failure of kidney

  • Dehydration

  • Delirium and hallucinations

  • Shock

  • Failure of liver

  • Infection of blood

Who is Likely to Develop a Viral Fever?  

Viral fevers can affect any individual, irrespective of their age, gender or health. That said, individuals with a weak immune system are generally more prone to viral infections and fevers than individuals with a normal immune system. Let’s take a quick look at the kind of people who are more likely to develop a viral fever. 

  • People who are in close proximity to individuals infected with a virus

  • People who share needles 

  • People that travel to and from contaminated areas

  • People who share personal belongings with infected individuals 

  • People who are suffering from certain diseases and ailments 

How to Prevent Yourself from Getting a Viral Fever?

The most important preventive measure to keep viral fever at bay is being hygienic. As an infected individual can spread a viral infection, it is important to follow standard hygiene practices. Some of these common and easy practices include frequent washing of hands, use of masks and disinfecting surfaces, using hand sanitisers, practising social distancing from an infected person, among others. While prevention is better than cure, it’s always better to stay safe. 


Typically, a mild fever is not something to worry about, but do remember to visit your doctor if you face complications such as continuous high fever and other associated symptoms. Along with taking care of your health, make sure to remain prepared for any major unforeseen medical emergency by buying a suitable health insurance policy. Visit Bajaj Markets to check out the wide range of options available and pick a good health insurance plan.

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How many days does a viral fever last?

A viral fever generally lasts for around a week, with some symptoms taking a few more days to resolve.

What are the viral fever symptoms?

The most common symptom is a fever higher than average body temperature. Some other viral fever symptoms include runny nose, coughing, nausea, fatigue, body aches, etc.

What is the reason for viral fever?

Viral fever results from getting infected by a host of different viruses and by coming in contact with an infected person’s body fluids.

Can viral infection be treated using antibiotics?

No, unlike bacterial infections, a viral infection cannot be treated using antibiotics.

Can honey and lime juice be used as a home remedy to cure viral fever?

Yes, a serving of honey and lime juice consumed together can help keep viral infections at bay. Honey gives energy while lime keeps the toxicity away.

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