We often hear people say that they were down with a viral fever, very often called a “viral”. The viral fever is not a single disease entity caused by a specific type of virus. It rather refers to several febrile infections caused by viruses. We tend to treat them as one and the same because the symptoms and management are similar irrespective of the causative virus. Viral fevers occur in all parts of the world and affect people of all ages. Thankfully, most of these infections are self-limiting, i.e. they will go away on their own. By this we do not mean to say that viruses cannot cause serious febrile illnesses. In fact, Dengue fever, Chinkungunya fever, and Japanese encephalitis are all caused by viruses. However, the typical set of symptoms that we call the “viral” can be managed with some self-care at home.
Symptoms of viral fever
The earliest recognizable symptoms of a viral infection are often fatigue and body ache. This may be followed by the onset of fever. In most cases the fever is accompanied by respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, running nose, nasal stuffiness and red eyes. Headache is also a common symptom of viral infection. Vomiting and diarrhea may be present in some cases. These symptoms usually resolve in three to seven days, though the fatigue may persist longer. If the fever does not resolve within this time frame it is advisable to see a doctor.
Types of Viral Infections
Viruses such as herpes are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This infection can infect the mouth, genitals and anus. Oral herpes causes sores around the mouth and face, while genital herpes affects the genitals, buttocks and anus. Genital herpes is known as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and it is transmitted through sexual contact through the mouth and genitals. This virus can be spread even when sores aren’t present. Like chickenpox, this virus will remain in the body forever; however, a person with herpes may continue to deal with reoccurrences or “outbreaks” for life. Diagnosis
Most of the time your doctor will diagnose the fever to be of a viral origin based on symptoms alone and no specific tests will be required. Sometimes, some blood tests, a sputum culture etc may be required in order to rule out a bacterial infection.
Read more on page 2 : Treatment of fever