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By Col. (Retd.) Dr. V.K. Popli, Senior Consultant at CareFirst with 40+ years of experience.

Since ancient times, fever has been a significant characteristic of the illness. The central nervous system controls the feverish response through endocrine, immunological, neurological, and behavioural pathways.

In addition to the regulated increase in body temperature, fever is usually accompanied by a wide range of illness-related behaviours, changes in the physiological and metabolic characteristics of the body systems, and modifications to immunological responses.

Therefore, the febrile response continues to play a crucial role in the clinical manifestations and outcomes of many diseases and ailments. Therefore, it is essential to comprehend fever and the febrile response to effectively diagnose, treat, and monitor a variety of illnesses and diseases.

“Down with fever” is a common expression when you or anyone in your family has a raised body temperature. (Above 98.6F or 370C)

For adults, body temperature is measured using an oral thermometer. However, for babies and toddlers, use a rectal thermometer to measure their body temperature.

Low-grade fever (99.60F – 100.30F) is not dangerous for both children and adults, but you should be bothered and seek immediate medical help if:

  • Your body temperature is 1020F or higher
  • Your baby younger than 3 months has a rectal temperature of 100.40F or higher
  • A toddler in the family has a rectal temperature of 1020F or higher
  • Severe headache, cough and runny nose, breathing difficulty, skin rash, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, stiff neck, mental confusion, strange behavior, or seizures accompany fever in you or your child
  • You or the child complains of pain while urinating along with fever
  • Your child has had a high-grade fever for more than 3 days (over 100.40F)

If you think you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, the experienced doctors at CareFirst will be happy to answer any of your questions for health concerns


When someone has a fever, they may also experience

  • Shivering & feeling cold
  • Perspiration
  • Fatigue & Lack of energy
  • Low appetite
  • Exhibit symptoms of dehydration
  • Have heightened sensitivity to pain
  • Have trouble focusing
  • If an infant has a fever, the baby will feel hot to the touch & have flushed and sweaty cheeks

High fever may also be accompanied by irritability, hallucinations, convulsions and confusion.

What are the Common Causes of Fever?

Elevation in body temperature may be a sign of infection in the body. It may be caused by:

  • A viral infection
  • A bacterial infection
  • Inflammation of the lining of your joints (swelling, redness, and pain in a particular joint)
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Injury
  • Side effects of drugs
  • Teething
  • Vaccine side effects

Sometimes, in some people, medicines used to treat high blood pressure or seizures can also cause fever. In children, a low-grade fever (99.5 -100.3 F) can be a reaction to vaccines like DPT and others.

However, before we see a doctor, almost all of us wish to know the cause of fever in ourselves or our family members. So, here’s a peek into the signs and symptoms of common types of fever.

CauseBite of a mosquito carrying dengue virusCoronavirus infectionGetting a viral infection through inhalation, ingestion, or coming in contact with body fluids of others carrying a viral infectionConsuming food and water contaminated by Salmonella typhi bacteriaBite of a mosquito infected with malarial parasite
FeverHigh-grade feverLow-high grade feverLow-high grade feverStarts low and increases dailyHigh fever with shaking chills
HeadacheSometimes with intense pain behind the eyesPresentPresentSevereSevere
Cough and ColdNot present, but nose bleeds can occur in severe dengueCough with a sore throatCough with sore throat, blocked or runny nose, red, watery eyesNot presentCough with chest pain and breathing problems
StomachAbdominal pain with nausea or vomitingUnaffectedUnaffectedStomach pain with diarrhoea or constipationNausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
Fatigue/weaknessExtremeLethargicExtreme fatigueExtremeExtreme
Muscle/joint painPresentNot presentPresentMuscle achesMuscle aches
Other symptomsSkin rash, throwing up blood in vomit or blood in stoolLoss of taste or smell, difficulty in breathing, confusion, and chest painFever with chillsLoss of appetiteAnaemia and jaundice if it worsens
Table: Common Causes & Symptoms of Fever


A fever is easy to measure with a thermometer, but identifying the cause might be challenging. Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to find out the exact cause of the fever.

Doctors often recommend a fever panel to diagnose and manage the fever effectively. Fever Panel test helps in detecting illnesses like malaria, dengue, and typhoid fever and the results are usually available within a few hours to a day.

Carefirst has a wide range of scientifically curated fever packages to select from, which provide a thorough screening to identify fever-related ailments, leading to prompt and targeted treatment.

COVID-19 possible symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing & shortness of breath
  • Fever or chills
  • Sore throat
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • You or the child complains of pain while urinating along with fever
  • Those who experience such symptoms should stay in their homes and avoid social interactions. 
  • If there are other individuals around, the person should always wear a mask.
  • In many instances, the symptoms will subside on their own without medical attention

The experienced medical professionals at CareFirst would be pleased to address any of your queries or health concerns if you think you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms.

Are fever hallucinations dangerous?

Some people might experience strange behaviours, disorientation, and hallucinations along with fever. These hallucinations can involve seeing images or hearing sounds that aren’t actually present in the person’s environment.

Fever hallucinations usually go off in a few minutes and aren’t dangerous. Mild fever hallucinations have been associated with certain cases of COVID.

However, if fever hallucinations don’t go away, it could be due to a bacterial or viral infection in the brain or spinal cord and require immediate medical attention.

Home care for fever

The greatest way to feel better is to treat the symptoms and support your immune system. The secret is figuring out what works best for you, whether it’s calming ginger/tulsi tea or over-the-counter medication.

  1. Take as much rest as possible at home to help your body recover from fever
  2. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration from elevated body temperature. This includes 8-10 glasses of water, warm soups, tea, etc. If you don’t feel like drinking much, take small quantities at frequent intervals.
  3. Taking a bath while you have a fever is questionable by many, while some prefer to take a cold bath. However, a cold bath can cause shivering and further elevate your body temperature. Therefore, it’s recommended to have a bath in lukewarm water, which will also soothe muscle aches or body pain.
  4. You can use over-the-counter medicines like Paracetamol if you have a low-grade fever with no severe symptoms. However, in the case of children, always consult a doctor before giving them any medications.
  5. Eat a balanced diet consisting of vegetables and fruits to provide the right nutrients to your body and recover easily.
  6. Avoid reckless use of antibiotics on a HEARSAY basis. Antibiotics are to be taken only on the advice of a doctor.

When to call your Doctor

As described earlier, you can use over-the-counter medications to combat low-grade fever. However, if you experience any of the following, please call your doctor:

  • Fever doesn’t subside even after taking over-the-counter medications
  • You develop a fever above 1020F
  • you experience shortness of breath or wheezing 
  • Fever is accompanied by cough, severe headache, stiff neck, breathing difficulty, convulsions, or hallucinations
  • If you don’t start to feel better after 3 days of symptoms

Your healthcare provider may perform certain tests like blood examination, chest X-ray, and others to diagnose the underlying cause of fever and prescribe medications accordingly.

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