Viral fever: Running a temperature? Is it really JUST fever?

Viral fever is a common ailment. But as the season changes, everyone becomes more cautious of high fever due to outbreak of other viral infections like dengue which have very similar symptoms.

The same happened to Supriya Kaushik and Radhika Sharma who were roommates. Both of them were running high fever and didn’t want to take any chances.

They decided to consult Dr Mayank Uppal, Consultant, General Medicine at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital for a proper diagnosis.

What is viral fever?

Viral fever is an infection that is characterised by high fever, headaches and bodyches. It is quite common and usually isn’t a huge cause of concern.

“In viral fever, the high temperature could be your body’s attempt to ward off the infection from your system. It is extremely common especially in children and aged people as they have weaker immunity” informs Dr Mayank during their consultation.  

“It can be especially difficult to differentiate between viral fever and dengue due to similar symptoms, which is why you would need a clinical diagnosis and if advised, a dengue test.”

What are the causes of viral fever?

Viral fever is caused by a group of viral infections.

“Unlike dengue which is mosquito-borne, viral infection can be airborne, waterborne or it can even be transferred from one person to another” explains Dr Mayank.

What are the symptoms of viral fever?

Symptoms of viral fever include:

  • High fever which rises and falls
  • Loss of appetite
  • Body ache
  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness
  • Chills
  • Cough

Dr Mayank highlights, “Some people may also complain of a burning sensation in the eyes.”

After a medical check up, Supriya and Radhika were both advised a blood test, which they got done 24 hours after the fever.

Anxious, they took their reports to Dr Mayank for a proper analysis.

It turned out that Supriya was just down with viral fever. Radhika, on the other hand, was diagnosed with Dengue.

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How long does viral fever last?

It can last anywhere from 4 days to a week.

Dr Mayank “The high temperature usually abates after 3 days but the weakness after viral fever may persist for a week”

“Keep an eye of how long it takes you to recover. Viral fever’s duration plays a key role in it’s management and in finding out whether there is any severe cause behind it”

“If the temperature doesn’t drop or if you experience severe headaches or notice unusual skin rashes, it could be a severe ailment.”

Read: Dengue rashes: Appearance, Symptoms and Meaning

Viral fever treatment

Supriya was advised medicines, proper hydration and rest to recover from viral fever.

The right medicines should be prescribed for the treatment of viral fever. If the fever is mild, you could avoid medicines after consulting your doctor.

“You should steer clear from antibiotics. It could cause more harm than good in some cases.”

Radhika was prescribed medicines and guided on certain home care tips for dengue.


Supriya’s temperature lowered in a few days and she recovered within a week.

Radhika’s temperature fluctuated for a while before it finally fell and so it took her sometime to gain back her strength.

In a follow-up visit Radhika expressed her happiness, “I’m glad that I didn’t ignore the symptoms as viral fever and got tested for dengue. I feel much better now and will be able to join work soon.”

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This blog post has been written with editorial inputs from Dr Mayank Uppal. He is known for his medical expertise and has a keen interest in hypertension, diabetes and lifestyle diseases.