Low-Grade Fever: Causes| Symptoms| Treatment

If you are feeling itchy, tired, and warm skin and not feeling well, you may have a low-grade fever. However, it sounds quite strange to you, right? So, before going to the treatment options, we will first discuss what low-grade fever is exactly? And what are the causes that play a role in this fever?

Our body is a smart and complex system that constantly works to make you feel good, including maintaining an optimal internal temperature. The internal body temperature is subjected to hormonal levels and brain activity and also adapts itself to the conditions of your environment. The optimum temperature of the body to work properly is 98.6 degrees F that is 37 C. Although in some conditions your body needs to elevate the body temperature above its ideal level, to fight the flu and cold virus. And in those circumstances, you may feel a low-grade fever.

Fevers are however common, and it signals the body to protect itself from certain illnesses. Fevers may occur due to a variety of reasons and on different severity levels. The severity of the temperature depends upon your specific range of fever as low-grade fever, regular fever, and high-grade fever. These terms highlight the importance of the diagnosis of a fever.

What is a low-grade fever?

A slightly elevated temperature than what is considered as an optimal temperature is known as a low-grade fever. As such there are no standards specifically for the range of a low-grade fever. Irrespective of the specific range that may be used for that of low-grade fever, a unifying point for all low-grade fevers is that they show temperature above the ideal temperature, and below the high-grade fever.

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According to some experts, low-grade fever is defined as a temperature that falls between 99.5 degrees F, 37.5 C and 100.3 degrees F, 38.3 C. while as per the U.S. centers for disease control and prevention, a person with a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or above is considered as a low-grade fever.

So, how would you know if you have this kind of fever and how noticeable the signs would be? Let’s discuss it here.

Symptoms

Well, whenever we feel sick and go to a doctor, what does he do? He simply uses a thermometer to check if there is any change in your body’s temperature, right. We also have to do the same, check your temperature with a digital thermometer. However, along with the temperature change, you may feel other signs too.

The low fever grade related signs are listed below:-

  • A flushed face
  • Chills or shivering
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Glassy eyes
  • A warm skin

Depending on the root cause of the fever, the fever may also be associated with other symptoms that are likely to occur with fever-causing viruses like flu and cold, like cough, headaches, and sore throat. Hence, these symptoms may help you in determining the cause and promote the treatment.

Related article: flu v/s covid-19: How is flu different from covid-19

We know how it feels to have a low-grade fever, but still, low-grade fever causes are not clear in everybody’s mind, is that so. So, to get clear with the low-grade fever causes I’m describing it in very easy terms.

Causes

Often infections accompany the fever. Moreover, body temperature can be affected by physical or environmental factors like wearing heavy clothes or the ambient temperature. You can compare it with the fever followed by certain immunizations. side effects of certain medications may also occur in a short-term low-grade fever.

Let’s make it easier to get by these points:-

  • Cold, flu, or any viral infections
  • Bacterial infections like a sore throat or scarlet fever
  • Ear infections
  • Infections in digestive tracts
  • Some long term diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and bronchitis
  • Some childhood diseases like chickenpox, measles, fifth disease, whooping cough, mumps
  • Cellulitis, kind of skin infection
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Sinus infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Medication side effects
  • Cancers like leukemia or lymphoma
  • Immunization reactions

Well, don’t panic about the causes as these are possibilities and not confirmation of your condition. However, a low-grade fever is natural and common, it’s the natural way of fighting with certain mishappenings running inside the body. Most of the causes described here often result in a persistent low-grade fever which is dangerous and needs to be diagnosed soon. So, if you don’t have a low-grade fever for a long time, then don’t worry.

What is persistent low-grade fever?

As the type suggests, a low-grade fever stays for more than 10-14 days. A low-grade fever for a week or more is considered a persistent low-grade fever. So, a persistent fever can be an indication of any underlying medical issue, moderate to severe. Nonetheless, not all types of persistent low-grade fever result in a chronic condition and can be treated over time. It may occur for a long time in fighting off any infection which may be taking a long time, up to a week or more.

Treatment

A low-grade fever treatment is easy and can be treated at home. There may be different recommendations of treatment in different types of fever. In case you are feeling a low-grade fever, you can do several things by yourself to feel comfortable.

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Some of the treatment options are as follows:-

  • Take rest when you feel a little unwell
  • Keep yourself hydrated, drink plenty of water and fluids
  • Place a cold damped cloth on your forehead or the back of your neck while resting

Take over-the-counter medications for fever like acetaminophen, though the symptoms may vary according to the cause of your fever. And many medications for fever treat other symptoms related to cold and flu. Choose the kind of medicine which will treat most of your symptoms.

There are some medications for treating low-grade fever:-

Dayquil and NyQuil:- these are the liquid medications for the treatment of multiple symptoms like sore throat, cough, cold, and flu. They also come in liquid capsule form.

Dayquil and Nyquil severe:- if you have nasal congestion too, then this is for you. Nyquil or Dayquil contains an expectorant that helps in losing the mucus making the coughs fruitful.  

Flu therapy day and night:- drink honey and lemon water and breathe in the Vicks vapors. The cold or flu symptoms including fever can be relieved by comforting and medicated hot drinks with Vicks flu therapy. 

When to see a doctor

There may be the time when you need medical treatment, in which conditions you have to see a doctor are:-

  • If you feel unusual signs like stiff neck, severe headaches, shortness of breath, or any other severe symptom.
  • If your body temperature goes above 104 degrees F 
  • If you recovered from fever and cough, and then suddenly got worse.
  • If your fever is related to severe muscle pain, mental instability, or any other symptoms that you feel weird and discomforting. 

Conclusion 

A low-grade fever often comes as a consequence of a common cold or flu. It’s our body’s natural way to fight off the infection. Though, sometimes a persistent low-grade fever can be caused by any other underlying conditions like autoimmune disease or cancers. But on the other hand, it’s quite normal during a season of cold or flu. You can get rid of it by adapting preventive methods like keeping yourself hydrated and taking flu therapies. You can also take over-the-counter medications like Dayquil and Nyquil to relieve nasal congestion and a sore throat. Low-grade fever may be accompanied by some other illnesses as well. 

Frequently Asked Question

 

What does a low grade fever indicate?

A low-grade fever indicates that the body temperature is slightly elevated than the ideal temperature. It may hike from 98.7 F and 100.4 F or 37.5 C and 38.3 C. Usually, a low-grade fever stays for 24 hours and fades off as soon the cause disappears, like the cold or common cold, etc. a persistent low-grade fever can be an indication of any specific underlying medical condition like autoimmune disease, cancers, or rheumatoid arthritis and many other conditions. Generally, a persistent fever stays for 10-14 days or more.

How do you know if you have a low grade fever?

To know this, you can simply check your body temperature whenever you feel like having a fever. Also, some recognizable symptoms may be associated with your condition like feeling warm skin, headaches, a flushed face, sweating, chills or shivering, and muscle aches. Hence, a low fever grade is quite similar to a normal fever and might have other symptoms like sore throat, cough, or flu.

Is 99.4 a low grade fever?

No, as most health professionals consider a low-grade fever to be 100.4F or higher. Well, a person with a body temperature of 99.6F to 100.3F has a low-grade fever. You will need medical assistance if your temperature goes beyond 100.4 F or above along with mental confusion and shortness of breath. Although, most of the time it’s manageable without going to medical treatment.

What causes a low grade fever in adults?

Respiratory illnesses such as cold, flu, or any other viral infection are the cause of low-grade fever in adults. The causes might vary and could be diagnosed by the other associated symptoms. Well, overall it’s the body’s natural way of elevating the temperature to combat the effect of any infection in the body. Usually cold and flu stays with fever for a few days and then fade away.

Can you feel feverish and not have a fever?

Yes, it may happen sometimes when you feel symptoms similar to fever but the thermometer shows no elevated temperature and ranges from 36 to 37 C. However, this condition is known as internal fever and the person has real fever-like symptoms like chills, malaise, cold sweats, etc. but when you go to a doctor he gets nothing in the thermometer to diagnose the state of fever.

Is 99.1 a low-grade fever?

Body temperature above 100.4 degrees F is known as a fever according to the medical community. And fever differs according to the cause and the range of temperature. Usually, a temperature between 100.4 and 102.2 degrees F is considered a low-grade fever.

Can stress cause a low grade fever?

Yes, stress and emotional exposure to any event may cause a psychogenic fever. From psychogenic fever, it means the fever is caused due to psychological reasons and not due to viral or another type of bacterial infection. A persistent low-grade fever is often the cause of chronic stress and ranges between 99 and 100 degrees F, that is 37 to 38C.

Should you treat a low grade fever?

Well, our body has its own smart and complex mechanism of treating illnesses like fever and others. A low-grade fever is another type of body’s natural defense method to fight off viral or bacterial infections or any other causes of illness like cold, cough, and sore throat. From medications, you will only treat the symptoms, not the root cause of fever.

Thus, disturbing the mechanism may interfere with the body’s natural behavior; it might prolong the sickness. Hence, generally, a fever doesn’t require treatment and treats itself.

It’s better to use a cold damped cloth over your forehead or back of your neck to reduce the fever.

Can anxiety make you feel feverish?

Yes, it’s the same as the stress does to your body, or in other words, it creates psychogenic fever that is caused due to our psychological response and not due to infections. One can feel a slightly elevated temperature when exposed to an emotional event or chronic stress.

Do you feel feverish in early pregnancy?

Yes, feeling warm or hot flushes can be the early symptoms of pregnancy. Though, it’s normal during the onset of pregnancy and is quite normal. If anyone recognizes it as a symptom of pregnancy, she should talk to a doctor. Overall, feeling feverish is one of the common changes during pregnancy.

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