Feeling a little feverish almost daily, especially in the evenings? Maybe, it’s time you seek a doctor’s advice. It is common for many of us to feel tired by evening hours and feel mild elevation in body temperature, but it is often seen as a result of tiredness caused due to hard work at the office and home. Be it in the morning or evening, a mild rise in body temperature for more than 3 days in a row is often an indication of an underlying health condition. Also Read: Fever: Types, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
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What Is A Fever?
Fever is characterized as having a body temperature above the normal range 98.6 F (37C). A low-grade fever can generally indicate a lot of different things, however most low-grade fevers are not of serious concern. Generally, a slight increase in body temperature is the body’s normal response to fight an infection like a cold or the flu. Also Read: Flu Or Cold? Here Are The Top 9 Symptoms To Identify Your Illness
A low-grade fever may develop following immunizations, in the course of teething or a symptom of any inflammatory or autoimmune condition and can also develop as a side effect of certain medications. Low-grade fever may not need any treatment if there are no symptoms. However, a continuous elevation of mild temperature is a sign that the body is battling an infection or any other health conditions to support the immune response.
Read through this article to know about the various underlying causes of a low-grade fever.
One of the most common causes of a continuous low-grade fever is respiratory infections like cold or the flu. In such cases body naturally elevates its temperature to combat off the infection causing agents (bacteria or viruses). Cold or the flu are caused by viruses and with cold, fever lasts for a few days. Some of the other symptoms of respiratory infection include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, chills, poor appetite and fatigue.
Bronchitis and pneumonia are other respiratory infections that may cause a low-grade fever, persistent cough that lasts for weeks is also associated with bronchitis and pneumonia.
Most viral infections will settle on its own, however, it is vital to get ample rest and adequate hydration until the body fights off the infection. Seek immediate medical help if the infection is severe.
Generally, teething develops between 6 and 24 months of age and teething mostly causes mild irritability, crying and a low-grade fever which starts before four days and lasts until three days after the teeth erupt. Seek immediate medical attention if the fever is higher than 101F and if it is not associated with teething.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A low-grade fever may sometimes indicate an unknown urinary tract infection in both adults and children. A urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria that multiply anywhere in the urinary tract. Some of the symptoms associated with it include burning sensation while urinating, frequent urge to urinate and dark urine.
The doctor examines urine culture to diagnose the type of bacteria causing a UTI. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat the infection.
Emotional stress is often associated with low-grade fever and it is called psychogenic fever. This type of fever is most common in young adults associated with aggravated stress, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Antidepressants are preferred medication used to treat a psychogenic fever.
Tuberculosis is a contagious disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The TB causing bacteria remains dormant in the body for years without showing any symptoms. Gradually as the immune system is weakened, TB becomes active and symptoms include coughing with blood, malaise, fever and night sweats. A persistent low-grade fever with sweats especially at night is linked with TB.
Treatment mode for TB involves prescription antibiotics that should be taken for at least 6-9 months.
Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland and it is mostly linked with a low-grade fever. It is caused due to an infection, radiation therapy, trauma, autoimmune disorder and medications. Some of the symptoms include muscle ache, fatigue, aches near the thyroid gland and neck pain.
A continuous low-grade fever with no known cause may be a sign of cancer. A low- grade fever may be a symptom of leukaemia or lymphomas. Other symptoms associated with cancer include fatigue, weakness, headaches and body pain, poor appetite, weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes and excessive sweating at night.
Though these symptoms are not characterized to cancer, an individual experiencing any of these symptoms together with persistent low-grade fever should visit a physician for further evaluation.
The usage of certain medications may cause different side effects, which may also include a low-grade fever. If the medication is the cause then fever settles, once the person stops taking the drug or else seeks advice from a doctor.
Many chronic disorders or inflammation may cause a low-grade fever which includes arthritis, lupus, gout, serotonin syndrome and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
A low-grade fever is mild and usually settles on its own. Over-the-counter (OTC) medication can help to lower a fever, however, it is good to let go a low-grade fever with adequate rest and plenty of fluids. Seek immediate medical care if the fever lasts for more than three days and if it is associated with other symptoms such as vomiting, sore throat, stiff neck or rashes.