A fever is a temporary increase in your body temperature beyond normal levels of 98.6°F (37°C), often due to an illness. It is your body's way of generating an immune response to any kind of viral/bacterial/parasitic attack.
What is Viral Fever?
Viral fever or मौसमी बुखार in Hindi is any fever that happens as a result of a viral infection. Viruses are tiny living organisms that spread easily from person to person. There can be many ways by which you can get infected with a virus that can result in viral fever.
The most common causes of it are:
- Inhalation of infected droplets released during coughing or sneezing by an ill person.
- Through contaminated foods or drinks.
- Through insects and animals that carry viruses.
What Are The Symptoms of Viral Fever?
Viral fevers can range in temperature from 99°F to over 103°F (39°C), depending on the underlying virus. General symptoms of viral fever are chills, headache, a feeling of extreme weakness, muscle pain and aches, etc.
Whether mild, moderate, or severe, for a short duration or long-lasting, a viral fever always leaves an impact on your taste buds and your body’s strength. The fever leaves you with a loss of appetite and a deflated and weakened body.
How Many Days Does Viral Fever Last?
Viral fever lasts for around 3-4 days. However, some of its symptoms like weakness and coughing may last for around one to two weeks.
What is The Treatment of Viral Fever?
Viral fever has no specific treatment like bacterial infections. Antibiotics for viral fever are ineffective because the virus does not respond to them.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve your fever and body aches. Most importantly, it is your diet and rest that will help you recover faster.
What Diet Should be Taken During Viral Fever?
The overall diet during viral fever should be light, easy to digest, and full of fluids. Liquids either in the form of hot soup or simply plain water help excrete impurities.
Food or any liquid consumed should be preferably warm.
Do's and Don'ts For Dietary Management of Viral Fever
1. Eat a diet rich in cereals, cooked to a soft consistency. Fever raises your body temperature. This catabolic state takes up more calories and depletes your glycogen (a polymer of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage) reserves.
Hence a diet rich in cereals, cooked to a soft consistency with some mild spices added to it, is an ideal way to regain your energy. Dal-rice, upma, poha, curd-rice, khichdi, or porridge are the best options.
2. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Fever, whether continuous or intermittent, always leads to a lot of sweating. This creates a fluid and electrolyte imbalance in your body.
Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals and compounds that produce energy and help your body in carrying out its functions. Sodium, chloride, potassium, and calcium are common types of electrolytes.
Taking plenty of fluids by way of water, soups, coconut water, buttermilk, homemade sherbets (sweetened and diluted juice made of fruits), honey-infused water, ginger/cinnamon/tulsi teas helps correct this imbalance.
Consuming copious amounts of fluids also helps to flush out the toxin overload in your blood through urine and helps you recover faster. Breastfeeding infants must be fed regularly to help them recover from fever. Recommended daily intake of fluids in fever is about 3 to 5 litres per day.
3. Add spices like cumin, ginger, cinnamon, pepper in measured quantities, to your solid or liquid foods to improve your digestive power and revive your taste buds. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds in spices are known to relieve certain symptoms of viral fever like coughing, vomiting, increased sinus, and congestion.
4. Take a probiotic like curd/buttermilk to balance the side effects of many medicines that may have played havoc with your gut health.
Probiotics regulate gut microbes (microorganisms including bacteria, and fungi that live in your digestive tracts), prevent gut inflammation, and also aid in digestion.
5. Consume protein in the form of well-cooked dals, boiled eggs, and chicken soup helps to restore the destruction of tissues caused by prolonged fever.
6. Avoid raw or undercooked vegetables and meats as they are difficult to digest and may be contaminated. Avoid fruits with hard peels and if used, peel them before use. Apples, pears, and chikoos should be peeled off before eating.
7. Avoid fried, spicy, heavy, and uncooked foods as they are difficult to digest and may further tax your digestive system.
Know that your digestive enzymes work best at normal body temperature. However, during a high fever, your body temperature increases due to which the efficiency of these enzymes decreases, and thus digestion becomes slower during/after a high fever.
8. Avoid carbonated beverages, teas, coffees, bakery products, whole pulses, cereals, meats, fish, and junk food. These foods are not only hard to digest and assimilate; they also create imbalances in the body.
Understand that your body has already lost a lot of energy during a fever and needs the remaining to fight off the infection.
Do not overload your body with the task to digest the above foods and hence, avoiding them is recommended. Also, cold foods and outside foods are a definite NO during a viral fever.
9. Start with a liquid diet and slowly progress to a semi-solid, soft diet, gradually returning to your regular diet. This helps in the proper digestion of your food and maximum absorption of nutrients without causing any discomfort.
So the next time you are down with a viral fever, visit a doctor for medications, and follow these dietary tips to help you bounce back to good health faster!
Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.