The symptoms of a mild fever are the same as other types of common colds. You will likely have a low grade fever for several days. You may also have headache, runny nose, sore throat and cough.
This type of fever should not be confused with a fever that is caused by an infection. Most types of infections cause chills, body aches, and other signs that can accompany a high fever.
Get the right prescription. Aches and pains that run throughout your body are often a sign that something is wrong. You may also have a fever and muscle aches.
What causes a fever with?
Fever is an increase in temperature. Most people feel more comfortable with a lower temperature, but a higher temperature is better for fighting infection.
When we don’t get the right amount of sleep, or when the body is not producing enough healthy white blood cells, the body can become unwell and produce a fever.
Your body will produce up to 10% of its own healthy white blood cells during a fever. These healthy cells will fight the infection and help to prevent it from spreading.
Sometimes the body can become unwell without a fever, especially if the fever is caused by a viral infection.
Fever is the body’s way of fighting infection. However, if you do not have a fever, it could be the result of a more serious problem.
How long does a low grade fever last?
A low grade fever lasts until you get better at the cause of the fever. This will usually take a few days.
A high or a very high fever lasts for longer. If you are feeling unwell, this may be a sign of an infection that needs to be treated.
What is the best way to prevent a fever?
To prevent a fever, you must:
- Get the right amount of sleep, 8 hours a day
- Keep a healthy weight
- Eat a balanced diet
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Drink plenty of water
- Keep your skin, mouth and throat clean
- Stay away from those who are sick
If you feel unwell, you should stay at home. Talk to your doctor for advice on how to prevent the spread of infection.
When should I see a doctor?
Always see a doctor if you feel unwell, especially if you have any of the following symptoms:
- A persistent pain
- A headache
- A stiff neck
- Fever or chills
- Fever higher than 38°C (102°F)
- Unusual tiredness
- A cough that does not go away
- A sore throat
If you are in any doubt about the cause of your fever, get advice from your doctor or pharmacist.
When should I seek emergency care?
Some conditions, such as malaria, can be fatal. Seek medical advice if you have any of the symptoms above and your temperature is high.
If you are feeling unwell with a fever that is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Confusion or feeling not right (dizziness or light-headedness)
- Inability to keep your eyes open
- Pain in the back of the neck or chest
- Severe headache
If you are feeling unwell with a fever that is accompanied by any of the symptoms above, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
How common is a low grade fever?
Low grade fevers are very common. They affect up to 75% of the population. Usually, the cause is a virus, but in some cases, it can be a bacterial infection (sepsis).
How do I know if my low grade fever is viral?
Usually, you will feel unwell with a low grade fever. Some of the symptoms are:
- Aches and pains throughout your body
- A runny nose
- A sore stomach
- Feeling tired
- A rash
- Muscle ache
If you do not have a fever, it could be a non-infectious condition. A viral infection is one of the most common causes of a low grade fever. The symptoms are often similar to common colds and other types of colds, but these are usually not serious.
You can also have a viral infection and not have a fever.
How do I know if my low grade fever is bacterial?
If you are feeling unwell with a low grade fever and you have a rash, a sore stomach, a cough, or a sore nose, then it could be a bacterial infection.
Bacterial infections can be very serious and often need to be treated in hospital.
If you have any of the symptoms above and your temperature is higher than 38°C (102°F) you should go to the emergency department.
How long does a high grade fever last?
High grade fevers are usually more serious than low grade fevers. Most people will have a high grade fever one to two days after the start of an infection.
High grade fevers usually last for several days. If you have a high grade fever:
- You should see your doctor immediately.
- You should avoid anything that could make you feel worse.
- Stay away from people who are unwell.
If you have a high grade fever and you take medicines such as aspirin, it will slow down how quickly the fever goes down.
If you have a high grade fever and you have any of the symptoms above, call your doctor.
How do I know if my high grade fever is viral?
Usually, you will feel unwell with a high grade fever. Some of the symptoms are:
- Aching all over
- A sore or scratchy throat
- Body aches
- A fever that is higher than 38°C (102°F)
- Unusual headaches
- Stomach pain
- Swollen glands
- Aching joints
If you do not have a fever, it could be a non-infectious condition. A viral infection is one of the most common causes of a high grade fever.
The bottom line
A low grade fever is a common symptom of the common cold. It is not a type of fever.
Low grade fevers are usually not treated with antibiotics and may not require a
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