After dengue, the most common fever everyone has been targeted with is viral. Viral fever is caused by one of the many viral infections or the infections caused by virus itself. It is a very common ailment that affects thousands of people of all ages, across the globe, on a daily basis. Although viral fevers can affect people of all ages, it has been seen that children are a lot more prone to them, as compared to adults and teenagers. Although they are so common and have affected almost everybody at some point or the other, not a lot of people are aware of what is viral fever, what causes them, what their symptoms are and how they can be diagnosed and treated. This is because the term ‘viral fever’ can actually be used to include a wide spectrum of health conditions, which are related to a viral infection and fever. When a person suffers from a viral infection fever, it means that his body temperature has gone high, due to the presence of a viral infection.
Several microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and other types of germs enter the human body, almost every single day. The immune system usually fights off these microorganisms, which keeps them from causing any major problems, within the body. However, there may be times when the immune system cannot fight all of them and eliminate them from the body. When a person’s immune system fails to fend off these harmful viruses, they usually cause an infection in the body, which subsequently leads to a viral fever. Hence the term viral fever can be used for several types of infections that have been caused by viruses. Although viral fevers are highly contagious and should be strictly avoided, they are fairly harmless and do not lead to any major complications. However, in some instances, the symptoms of a viral fever could worsen rapidly and could lead to other dangerous health conditions, some of which could also be a threat to the life of the individual.
Symptoms of Viral fever
In most cases, the various viral fever symptoms are generalized and include overall body pain and discomfort, in several instances, the symptoms could target certain organs of the body. Some of the most common viral fever symptoms seen are fever, body ache, sore throat, headache, fatigue, diarrhea and a skin rash, just to name a few. However, it is important to realize that the viral fever symptoms in adults can be different from the viral fever symptoms in babies and children. The two main symptoms that are common to both adults, as well as children are body ache and fever. However, the average body temperature in adults and children are also different. In adults, a person is believed to have fever, if the body temperature is above 98.6 degrees F (37 degrees C). Other viral fever symptoms in adults are
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
However, in case an adults fever goes over 103 degrees F (39.4 degrees C), symptoms that are a lot more severe may appear, such as convulsions, hallucination, disorientation and confusion. In such cases, it is absolutely essential to seek immediate medical assistance.
Children generally have a higher body temperature as compared to adults. However, in case a child’s fever ever exceeds 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C), it may be best to consult s doctor immediately. Some of the other viral fever symptoms in children and babies that may become evident are:
- Increased thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Nasal congestion and a runny nose
- Redness in the eyes
- Skin rash
- Sore throat
If a viral fever affects a baby who is below 3 months of age, it could be a cause for concern. This is because a newborn baby’s immune system is usually not strong enough to combat the virus. Severe cases of viral fever in babies could lead to lethargy and unresponsiveness in the baby too. Any such instance should be checked and treated by the doctor, without any delay.
Treatment of viral fever
Most cases of fever, especially bacterial fever are treated with medication and antibiotics. However, antibiotics are totally ineffective as a viral fever cure. Therefore viral fever treatment is mainly aimed at reducing some of the painful symptoms that accompany the condition. Doctors usually try to control the symptoms of a viral fever, with the help of over the counter medicines, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Most health experts claim that trying to cure a viral fever interferes with the body’s natural immunity and may also weaken it. Therefore, every instance of viral fever, especially in children, should be monitored by a doctor. There are some doctors who also explain the interrelation between viral fever symptoms and remedies and claim that many of the symptoms can be controlled with home remedies.
Home Remedies for viral fever
Since antibiotics do not help reduce a viral fever, several doctors recommend the use of home remedies for viral fever in children as well as adults. There are many people who also ask doctors about advice on what to eat during viral fever, to speed up the healing process. Given below are a few simple home remedies for viral fever in kids and adults too:
- Applying a cold compress, or an ice pack directly to the forehead
- Soaking in lukewarm water for about 5 to 10 minutes a couple of times in the day
- Dressing in clothing that is light and cool; it should not aggravate the skin rash
- Ensuring that the temperature of the surround environment remains cool
- Consuming a lot of fluids, especially water, fruit juice, weak tea and hot soup. This helps reduce a viral fever cough and soothes a sore throat.
- Eating foods that are bland and are cooked without any oil or spices
The viral fever duration in adults may vary, as the condition could last for a couple of days or even weeks. However, in case the viral fever duration in children exceeds 3 or 4 days, it is best to consult a doctor about it. In case a viral fever is accompanied by malarial fever symptoms, it is important to inform a doctor about it without any delay.
Best foods to cure viral fever
Eating the right foods during a viral fever is important as it helps to boost your immunity and thereby gets rid of the virus. You should know that when this virus enters human body, it takes its incubation period to multiply itself to such number that causes infection. When the body is infected by the virus, the following symptoms mentioned above are seen. So, ecthe virus begins to spread more, consume these foods which are healthy for you at that point of time. Here are some of the best foods for viral fever patients.
1. Water an effective cure for viral fever
When you are infected with any virus, the best way for you to get better is to flush it out. Now, water is the key to flush out toxins from your body and the virus, so drink plenty of water.
2. Fresh fruits cure fever
Fruits like oranges, strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, kiwi and cantaloupe are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports the health of your immune system. Bananas can help replace potassium lost to diarrhea, sweating or vomiting. Additionally, citrus fruits contain flavonoid compounds that decrease inflammation and boost immune cell functions. Pick fresh fruit instead of sweetened fruit products such as some brands of applesauce, fruit juice with added sugar or fruit canned in heavy syrup. A high intake of sugar may inhibit your immune system.
3. Eat citrus fruits for fever
Let’s cut off the myth that citrus fruits can cure flu. No, it can’t. Flu is a viral infection. Recovery can occur by taking antiviral medications, depending on the strain of flu virus. However, the common flu is a self-limiting illness, which means it heals according to the natural course. Then, how can citrus fruits contribute to your recovery? Citrus fruits such as grapefruits, limes, lemons, oranges, and so on, have flavonoids and vitamin C, which are antioxidants that enhance the protective function of the immune system against viruses, other pathogens, toxins and free-radicals. This implies that citrus fruits speed up your recovery by helping your body to boost its healing capacity through a more efficient immune function.
4. Sip some soup that is broth-based for fever
Chicken noodle soup is highly recommended for flu! High fever in flu, vomiting and diarrhoea (in some flu cases) all increase fluid loss, which heightens your risk of becoming dehydrated. The soup serves as a fluid replacement. Moreover, the chicken contains cysteine, an amino acid that makes the mucus in the lungs and respiratory tract thinner. This makes it easier to cough out phlegm (mucus). The warm broth is also soothing for the throat, and it moistens your nasal passages. If you add up some healthy veggies, then you will have even more ingredients to stop nasal congestion and other inflammatory processes that take place due to flu infection.
5. Add bananas to your diet for viral fever
When your flu is accompanied with digestive symptoms, particularly those that make you lose too much fluid (e.g. vomiting, diarrhoea), you are surely losing potassium and other electrolytes. This causes your body weakness and muscle pains. Eating bananas can help you replenish electrolytes that you’ve lost along with the fluids.
6. Tulsi heals your fever
Suffering from viral fever? The best food for you to consume is anything related to the tulsi plant. Add the leaves to a cup of tea and sip on it the first thing in the morning. You can also soak tulsi leaves in water and consume the water.
7. Ginger juice cures viral fever
Make a cup of black tea. To it add a fresh piece of ginger and one tablespoon of honey. Drink this warm beverage to help heal your throat when infected with viral fever.
8. Rice porridge for fever
Rice porridge or kangi is another best food to consume when you are down with viral fever. This food helps to boost your immunity providing you with a good amount of energy.
9. Probiotics for viral fever
An article published in “Pediatrics” in 2009 reported that regularly consuming probiotic foods, which contain beneficial live bacteria, could lower fevers in sick children. The children eating probiotics were also less likely become ill. Try eating yogurt that contains live bacteria cultures when you have a fever. To ensure that you purchase a brand with a high concentration of bacteria, look for one that has the “Live & Active Culture” seal of approval from the National Yogurt Association on the label. Pick low- or nonfat yogurt over whole-milk varieties to avoid saturated fat.
10. Have a protein diet for fever
Eating protein when you have a fever can help give your immune system the energy it needs to fight off infection, says dietitian Emily Cruwys. Choose small amounts of soft, bland foods such as scrambled eggs, scrambled silken tofu or poached, unseasoned skinless chicken or turkey. If you can’t stomach solid foods, get your protein boost from a high-protein shake, a smoothie made with low- or nonfat milk, yogurt or tofu, or milk added to hot tea or coffee.
3 Foods That Will Worsen Flu
The foods listed above are the ‘must eat’ when you have flu symptoms. However, you also need to avoid certain foods in your healthy eating plan, the foods to avoid. These are the foods that can either delay your recovery period or foods that can worsen your symptoms.
1.Cut off consumption of high sugar foods. Increased sugar intake suppresses the immune system. It reduces the responsiveness of the neutrophils, components of the white blood cells that are responsible for fighting disease-causing microorganisms including the flu virus. So, it is not a good idea to ingest more sweets when you have flu symptoms.
2. Avoid intake of fatty foods. Fatty foods on the other hand, are more difficult to digest compared to protein sources and carbs foods. Eating them can even worsen your stomach upset.
3. Say ‘No” to spicy foods. Spicy foods must also be avoided. They can irritate your throat and can cause stomach discomfort.
Aside from maintaining healthy eating habits when you have flu symptoms, don’t forget to REST well for faster recovery.