When the dreaded flu season arrives, many people assume that every ache or sneeze is because of the influenza virus. Symptoms can be misleading, though – especially a fever. Here’s what you need to know about how the flu, or something else, could be causing your fever.
What Is The Flu?
The flu, or influenza, is a virus that attacks the body. It causes a respiratory illness as the virus infects the sinuses, throat, and occasionally the lungs. Usually, the flu isn’t a critical issue, but some people could experience a more significant infection. Pregnant women, very young children, and the elderly are especially susceptible to a worse condition, as are the immunocompromised. In some severe cases, it can lead to death.
What Are Flu Symptoms?
There are many symptoms associated with the flu, but not everyone will experience them all. The most common flu symptoms are fever, body aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat, chills, congestion, runny nose, and headaches.
The Flu and Fever?
A fever is a rise in body temperature, usually connected to an illness. When there is a viral infection, like the flu, the body sends out signals to raise the internal temperature to make it harder for the virus to thrive. A fever also signals a more robust response from the body’s immune system to speed up recovery.
A fever is just one symptom of the flu; not everyone will have one, and not every fever means you have the flu – even during flu season. A flu-induced fever is usually high, at least one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and can lead to that familiar lethargic feeling during an illness.
Fevers and Other Illnesses
As mentioned above, the flu is not the only cause of a fever. There are several illnesses that could lead to one. Because it’s a bodily response to viral or bacterial infection, you could experience fever in conjunction with the common cold, arthritis, or even food poisoning. You might also experience a fever after a long day out in the sun, especially if you got sunburned.
There aren’t many treatments for a fever, but luckily, fevers are usually shortlived. If a fever goes on too long, though, it could become dangerous. A flu-related fever might be lessened by an anti-viral medication from your doctor.
The best approach to having a fever is to take care of yourself – sleep as much as you can, stay hydrated, and keep away from others, so you don’t spread the virus. It is ok to eat while you have a fever unless the illness is a digestive issue.
If you have a fever and aren’t sure the cause, a visit to your local urgent care center for a second opinion could be well worth it. The experts will diagnose the cause of your fever and help you get back on your feet.