Viral Fever: Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment


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What is viral fever?

Viral fever is an umbrella term for a group of viral infections that affect the body and is characterized by high fever, burning in the eyes, headaches, body aches and sometimes nausea and vomiting.

Viral fever is common among children and older people as their immunity is lower. The fever by itself is not an illness, it is a symptom of an underlying cause, which is a viral infection. A viral infection can occur in any part of the body, intestines, lungs, air passages etc. The fever will occur as a result of the infection. The high fever is usually a sign of the immune system of the body, fighting against the intruding viruses and “burning them off”.

Many people tend to self-medicate, sometimes even by taking antibiotics, when they have an intermittent high fever with chills, which is a bad idea. Antibiotics cannot kill viruses. They kill harmful bacteria. Antibiotics, if taken unnecessarily can affect your stomach lining, kill the good gut bacteria, cause acidity and damage your liver and kidneys.

If you come down with fever, which is < 103 F/40 C, and it shows no signs of abating, it will be wise to consult your family doctor or visit a general practitioner and get yourself checked.

How does viral fever occur?

Viral fever is transmitted from one person to another through contact with the infected person’s bodily fluids. When the infected person yawns, sneezes, coughs, or even talks, tiny sprays of fluids are ejected from their bodies which may enter your system if you are close by. Once the virus enters your system, it takes anywhere from 16 hours to 48 hours to turn to a full raging infection with fever in your body.

You may suddenly experience high fever, chills, headaches, body pain, and tremendous weakness.

Some severe strains of viral fever which cause haemorrhaging are spread by mosquitoes, tick bites, or by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood or semen.

It can take upto 21 days for some strains of viral fever to develop after the initial exposure to the virus.  

Some particular viral fever strains can also enter into the human body when one inhales near infected rat faeces or urine.

Who is prone to viral fever?

You could be at risk of getting infected with viral fever if:

  • you are close to an infected person
  • you travel to an area where a particular viral fever is prevalent
  • you live in an area where particular strains of viral fevers are doing the rounds
  • you are working with sick people
  • you have unprotected sex
  • you share needles for intravenous drugs
  • you are near infected animals or are slaughtering them
  • your building is infested with rats

Babies, small children and elderly people are also quite prone to viral fever since their immunity is low.

What are the symptoms of viral fever? How is viral fever diagnosed?

The symptoms of viral fever include:

  • fever (which intermittently rises and falls)
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • chills
  • headache
  • muscle, body and joint pains
  • inflammation of the pharynx
  • painful tonsils
  • running nose
  • nasal congestion
  • chest congestion
  • sore throat
  • burning sensation in eyes
  • cough
  • skin rashes
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting

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Since the viral fever symptoms are common to many diseases, diagnosing the specific form of fever can be difficult. The doctor will ask you to undertake a blood test for a confirmation of the diagnosis and to rule out the possibility of any disease such as dengue, malaria, chikungunya, typhoid, etc.

What are the complications of a viral fever?

Usually, viral fever subsides within a week or ten days. However, severe cases of viral fever may lead to complications such as :

  • dehydration
  • delirium and hallucinations
  • shock
  • nervous system malfunctions
  • coma
  • seizures
  • kidney failure
  • liver failure
  • respiratory fever
  • multi-organ failure
  • sepsis (blood infection)

Viral fevers caused by viruses such as the arbovirus may lead to bleeding from the skin, internal organs, mouth, eyes or ears. This can be fatal for the patient if timely treatment is not administered.

What is the treatment for viral fever?

There are no antibiotics for virus infection. The doctor may give you fever reducers. He may also prescribe antibiotics, however, those are to counter any secondary infections you may catch while sick. If a doctor prescribes antibiotics, it is highly necessary to complete the full course. If you stop taking the antibiotics midway, your body will create antibiotic-resistant bacteria. So, in future, if you are prescribed antibiotics for any illness, some of them might not work for you due to the presence of the resistant bacterias in your body.

In The Spotlight

Would you like to consult a doctor for Viral Fever ?

Patient Experiences

Relief For Child From Viral fever
We visited Dr mahima Shetty to show our son who was suffering from fever, doctor listened to our problems patiently and did thorough examination , he is very polite and friendly with our kid, prescribed minimum medicines, very lucky to have him as our pediatrician...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Mahima Shetty K.R.
ENT And Child Health Clinic
Gurupandi D
Relief From Viral Fever In Two Days
First of all Thanks a lot Doctor. Mumbai is a new place to me, Because of work i got transfer to mumbai, my work location is Dadar, As regular i am going for work and come back to home its my routine activity, i dono because of climate change or because of drinking water i feel very restless. With this pain that day i went to my work. But soon i feel that some thing happen to me, cant able to eat & drink water or juice also what ever i am having its make me to vomit. Suddenly i call my frnd and told about this problem he ask me to come home while i am coming to home, he got appointment to this doctor. my Frnd waits outside and i went inside the doctor room. first of all he saw me and ask me that from where you come from, because of my appearance he found me that i am from south india. Then i told that i am from Tamilnadu Doctor because of work got transfer to mumbai. After the Intro of me, he analysis the problem of me and ask me did u drank water from road side hotel or any road side coffee shop, For that i said ya doctor Drank water on road side Dosa Shop. "Its Like Street Food". He told me that its a Viral Fever here after dont use the road side water, Keep always a 1 liter water bottle with you always. He talk like friendly and very casual. He Prescribed the medicine for me that too from his own clinic, In Mumbai all the clinic they have their own pharmacy. With small plactic Seal Cover they put all medicine they gave it to me. I ask the doctor that sir now i am really restless so please put injection for me, Once i said like this he smile and he put me the injection. He ask me to take a complete bed rest. After the Treatment he said that i just came Tamilnadu for a Tour Trip long back ago, This doctor is locate opposite to my apartment only . With in two day my fever Gone. Very Kind Doctor,Very Experience Doctor, Highly Recommend Doctor Too. Thanks a Lot Doctor. :) ...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Rajendra S. Gandhi
The Clinic - Dr. R.S. Gandhi
D.kanaka durga
Completely Cured of Viral fever
I was suffering With viral fever since 1 week. I admitted here, cured completely. Thanks to doctor Ramesh Raju......... ...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. G.Ramesh Raju
Safe Hospitals

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
Can viral Fever re-occur in same season. I suffered from viral fever around a month ago and now again my throat feel like some infection. I completed five days antibiotic course when last infected, can I get infected from viral fever again and what need to do now?
Dr. Deepthi Rao Gorukanti
General Physician, Hyderabad
Viral fever can recur. But consult a physician to confirm what kind of fever it is. As Dengue and Swine flu cases are increasing dont go for self medication.
Dr. Amarpreet Singh Riar
General Practitioner, Delhi
Get the following tests done

1.Complete Haemogram.


3.Typhidot IGG, IGM.

4.Urine Routine and MICROSCOPY.

And follow up

Dr. Bodhisatwa Choudhuri
General Physician, Kolkata
Hello. Yes viral fever can reoccur in same season. If you are suffering from new onset infection, previous antibiotics are not going to have any effect. You'll need new course of treatment. Hope this helps,
Dr. Aastha Midha Likhyani
General Surgeon, Chandigarh
yes you can , but if your fever is relapsing again and agin dont take medicine just like that ...consult your near by physician and get it chaecked properly.
Verified User
Suffering from viral fever from past 2 days... Have taken some medications.. But doesn't seem to work...
Dr. Swathi S Aithal
Family and Community Medicine Specialist, Bangalore
Viral fever has its own course and will take time to come jus have to tk paracetamol for fever...just take ample rest...drink loads of water and tk food well...if fever persists you can get blood tests done after 6 days of fever for better results
Verified User
Hi, My son aged 1.7yr has viral fever since last Wednesday and he is under medication. Since then, we didn't give him bath including head bath fearing that it may worsen. Kindly advise if we can give him head bath during fever.
Dr. Cajetan M F Tellis
Pediatrician, Bangalore
There is no problem in giving bath or head bath during any illness. It will keep the child clean and cool . In fact when fever is very high we advise on application of lukewarm water to the body to lower the fever fast.
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Did you know?

Frequent viral fever relapse cases on the rise

Cases of viral fever relapse is occurring with disturbing frequency among patients in India, sometimes within 15 days.

People above 40 years most affected by viral fever

People above the age group of 40 years seem to be the most affected ones in India.

Dengue & chikungunya-like viral fevers most common

Viral fevers which imitate the symptoms of dengue and chikungunya seem to be doing the most rounds in this country.

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Home Remedies

Coriander Tea

Add one tablespoon of coriander seeds to a glass of water. Boil this concoction and let it cool. Strain the water and add a little milk and sugar to it. Drink this solution to combat a viral fever.

Bland Diet

Eat foods that are bland and are cooked without any oil or spices, The body is able to digest bland food easily, gain the nutrition and energy from it and fight the viral infection.

Gargle With Salt Water

Gargle with salt water as often as you can. This will keep your throat moist, and reduce the soreness that comes with viral fever.

Eat Raw Garlic & Onion

Chewing on raw garlic and onion during viral fever can combat the symptoms of cough, and nasal congestion.

Honey, Lemon and Ginger Juice

You can drink a concoction of honey, fresh lemon juice and ginger juice twice or thrice a day to get relief from the symptoms of viral fever.

Tulsi ( Basil) Leaves

Chew on some Basil leaves or alternatively boil 20 fresh and clean Tulsi leaves in one liter of water with half a spoon of clove powder. Let it boil till the water is reduced to half. Drink this solution every two hours. It will help reduce the symptoms of viral fever.

Be A Couch Potato

Take plenty of rest during viral fever. This will help your body to heal faster.