What Is Low-Grade Fever In Adults And Kids- Causes And Treatments You Need To Know
What is a low-grade fever and how do we deal with it? These questions are quite common in our minds if we acquire a low-grade fever. Fever in simple words can be understood as elevation in temperature in one’s body.
The normal temperature of our body is 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature rises highly above these temperatures, we are tested for fever.
This is the condition for fever we acquire sometimes, what is low-grade fever then? “Low-grade” means that the temperature of one’s body is elevated slightly as the name suggests. The expected temperature rise in “low-grade” fever is between 37.5 degrees Celsius to 38.3 degrees Celsius. This temperature rise only lasts for more than 24 hours or 1 day.
A fever can occur due to many reasons and causes, and all the fevers are different ranging from mind to chronic. Low-grade fevers are just mild fevers and you do not have to worry much about them. Stressing out is not at all suggested for mild fevers.
Most often when the temperature rises slightly, it might be a response to an infection like normal flu or cold. Low-grade fever could either last for 1-2 days or 10 to 14 days making it a persistent low-grade fever. There are less common causes too that can cause low-grade fever and can only be diagnosed by a doctor or healthcare expert.
What To Do When Your Have Low-Grade Fever?
Having just a low-grade fever is not a troublesome reason to see a doctor instantly. There are still some situations that need medical help and attention. If mild fever or low-grade fever has lasted for more than a few days, you need to see a doctor for medical advice. A low-grade fever is different for kids, infants, and adults. Let’s see these differences carefully.
What is a low-grade fever in adults? For adults, low-grade fever is not usually a thing to be concerned much about. Unless the temperature rises above 39.4-degree celsius you need not worry about calling a doctor. If the temperature has raised above this temp, you may seek advice.
If the fever is less than 103 degrees Fahrenheit or 39.4 degrees celsius, but still it has been consistent for more than 3 days, you should seek medical attention because this might be a cause of greater concern.
There are certain symptoms are signs associated with low-grade fever that you need to know. These include:
- Strange rashes on the body that worsens rapidly
- Persistent vomiting
- Pain while urinating
- Stiffness in neck
- Swelling of throat
- Secure heartache along with low-grade fever
- Weakness in muscles of the body
- Breathing difficulties
If these symptoms are occurring along with low-grade fever, you should immediately call to see a doctor.
What is a low-grade fever in infants and how can it be treated? For infants having an age of 3 months or less, even a slightly higher temperature than the usual maybe a can be a cause of serious infection prevailing in their body. This needs immediate medical attention too.
If the baby seems to be uncomfortable due to cough, cold, or diarrhea or appears irritated and lethargic, you should call your pediatrician and check for possible causes and reasons associated with it.
If you do not see any symptoms or causes given above, but the fever still lasts for more than 3 days, you should see a pediatrician. The doctors will prescribe the medications as per needs.
What is a low-grade fever in children? We have discussed low-grade in infants and adults, if your child has a rise in body temperature slightly but is still making direct eye contact with you, playing, and drinking fluids, then it is not something you should be concerned about.
The same rule applies here too if the fever is lasting for more than 3 days, you should see a doctor seek advice and attention.
There are few symptoms that might occur along with low-grade fever. These symptoms include:
- The child seems uncomfortable and irritable.
- The child makes poor eye-contact with you.
- They tend to vomit repeatedly.
- The child has severe diarrhea.
- The child acquires fever after sitting in a hot car.
What Are The Causes Of Low-Grade Fever
You are now familiar with what is a low-grade fever. You might be figuring out what are the various causes that lead to such fever conditions. There are viral infections like the common cold that causes low-grade fever or mild fever in us. This is the most common reason or cause resulting n fever, other than this there are few very less common cases of low-grade fever too, let’s see what are they one by one.
When there is a viral infection your body itself changes the temperature in order to fight and kill the virus. Common cold or flu is caused by infections of the virus. Colds particularly are known to cause a low-grade fever. If you want to determine what is a low-grade fever, you need to know about the common cold and viral infections.
Some symptoms of fever or cold are:
- Runny nose or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Lack of appetite
Two other respiratory infections that can result in causing low-grade fever are bronchitis and viral pneumonia. These diseases bronchitis and pneumonia comes with a cough problem too that lasts for few weeks along with chills, fever, and a sore throat.
When it occurs in children, it is quite common to experience issues of back-to-back viral infections. This usually seems like the fever is not leaving the child or lasting more longer than should be.
Treatments for treating viral infections include taking rest and enough fluids till your body makes up for the fluid loss and treats the infection or heals from the infections caused by the viral.
Acetaminophen can be taken orally for treatment as a medication if the fever is very mild or low-grade and the symptoms are really bothersome. This will help reduce the fever.
You might have thought what is a low-grade fever and is it harmful to your body? These questions are pretty common when thinking about fever, but you should know that fevers are highly important in helping our body fight certain harmful infections that can be lethal later on. Sometimes it is best to wait then taking so many medications at a time and stop the formation of antibodies that can fight viruses.
If the infections become more serious, you may be asked by your doctor to take some antibiotics or antiviral drugs that can help you out in treating the infection that comes with a low-grade fever.
Urinary Tract Infections Or UTIs
Persistent low-grade fever that lasts for too long can be due to a hidden infection in the urinary tract. You can assume it to a signal and visit the doctor for both children and adults. Mostly the UTIs are caused due to bacterial infections.
Some other symptoms and signs include burning sensation and pain while one is urinating and dark or bloody urine in case of an infection.
A doctor will ask you for a urine sample so that it can be examined under a microscope to test if there is an infection in the urinary tract. This treatment will involve courses of certain antibiotics.
Low-grade fevers can occur about 7 or 10 days after you have started a new medication. This is known as a drug fever. Some common drugs associated or linked to the low-grade fever that can help you understand better what is a low-grade fever and how it can be treated include:
- Beta-lactam antibiotics like penicillins and cephalosporins.
If your fever is still persistent due to some medications you have taken, the doctors might prescribe other medication or adjust and fix the dosages of medications you are taking at this point.
If the fever was persistent due to medications, it is likely to stop once the medications are over or stopped.
Teething In Infants
Teething or the process by which the milk teeth grows is between the age of 4 and 7 months. Due to the growth of milk teeth or teething, it is seen that in some infants irritability, low-grade fever, and crying are seen due to little pain. This is completely natural.
You can easily check the low-grade fever using a thermometer, if the temperature of the body has risen higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, it is most likely not due to teething. This makes it necessary to see a doctor and ay a visit once for ensuring the baby is safe.
Another reason that you should study and know for learning what is a low-grade fever and its causes is stress. A constant chronic emotional stress can also cause a low-grade fever. This fever has another name or term known as psychogenic fever. This is seen most commonly in young women and people that have certain conditions often exacerbated by anxiety and stress like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
There are few fever-reducing drugs or medications like acetaminophen that does not usually work for such type of fevers. The doctors might prescribe you some anti-anxiety drugs that could help in treating this fever.
Tuberculosis or TB is a highly infectious type of disease caused by a bacteria known as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. This disease is most commonly observed in developing countries, but thousands of new cases are seen every year in the United States too even after being a developed country.
This bacteria causing TB can remain inactive in the body for many years and do not show any signs or symptoms of being inside but once the immune system becomes weak, there are high chances that this bacteria will become active again.
Some symptoms that show that TB causing bacteria is active inside your body include:
- Pain while coughing.
- Unexplained fatigue
- Sweating in night
- Coughing up sputum or blood.
TB is known to cause low-grade fever during the night. This is the result of sweating at night. To check if the bacteria of TB is present inside your body or not the doctors might perform certain tests. One such test is PPD or Purified Protein Derivative skin test. In order to cure the infection completely, people who are tested positive for TB have to take medications prescribed by the doctors for 6 to 9 months.
What is a low-grade fever and how does it occur? We have learned quite well, a rise in body temperature is termed fever. This rise in temperature can also occur due to chronic autoimmune diseases in some people. The diseases include rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
In a study, it was found that people having multiple sclerosis complained more of fatigue and also had low-grade fever indicating the co-occurrence of two.
A low-grade fever also has common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This is believed to be caused when the joints get inflamed.
For diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, you may require to take many tests and diagnosis tools. If you have taken any tests earlier and seen that you are diagnosed with any bacterial or viral infection, you may have signs of low-grade fever along with it.
If you have been diagnosed with any one of the two diseases mentioned above, the doctor might advise you to drink ample fluids, remove extra layering of clothes you wear, and take acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs until you get rid of low-grade fever completely.
Inflammation of the thyroid gland is called subacute thyroiditis. This condition can also cause a low-grade fever. Thyroiditis may be due to any radiation, infection, trauma, medications, and autoimmune conditions.
Some other symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Tenderness near the thyroid gland
- Pain in the neck often radiating up to the ear.
Your doctors will examine your neck and take blood tests to examine this disease by measuring the levels of thyroid hormones in your body.
Certain cancer like leukemias and lymphomas particularly can result in unexplained and persistent low-grade fevers. Fever is not a specific symptom of having cancer and you have to keep in mind that diagnosis of cancer is rare. Having a persistent fever does not usually indicate that you have cancer of such bigger diseases, it is just a signal that you should go through a complete check-up to identify prevailing diseases in your body.
Some other common symptoms are:
- Chronic fatigue
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Bone and joint pains.
Depending upon the type of cancer, its stage, and type you will be recommended a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, or any other treatments by your doctor.
How To Treat Low-Grade Fever
After learning what is a low-grade fever, its causes, and symptoms, it is important to know different treatments to treat it.
Normal fevers that are very mild will usually vanish within few days on their own. OTC (over-the-counter) medications can be taken in order to lower the effect of fever and its symptoms. It is better that you ride your fever with ample rest and fluids sometimes.
If you have decided to go on an OTC medication, you can either choose acetaminophen medication or nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs like naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen.
For infants having age under 3 months, you should consult a doctor before putting them on any medications as it can risky, and determining the dosage at home is quite difficult.
You already know what is a low-grade fever and how it is in children, adults, and infants. For children, ibuprofen and acetaminophen do well for reducing signs of fever but do not give aspirin to your child if their age is under 12 years. Although they might recover from the fever or show recovery signs, it can cause a serious disorder known as Reye’s syndrome.
If your child is very young, consult your doctor before giving them naproxen too. In the case of teenagers or adults, aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetamenophin are generally safer to use as per the instructions mentioned on their labels.
You have understood what is a low-grade fever and the treatments associated with it. Mostly low-grade fever or mild fevers are not very dangerous and nothing to be worried about. However, it is always better to take precautions by calling and seeking advice from doctors.
The fever is accompanied by various troublesome signs or symptoms that include chest pain, vomiting, swelling in the throat, stiff neck, etc that may irritate your child and cause pain.
If your child is less than 3 months of age, it is strongly recommended that you see a doctor and make an appointment. Even if the symptoms are not very prominent but the fever lasts for more than 3 days, you should see a doctor because low-grade fever might be a sign of a greater health hazard.
Rectal temperatures are the most accurate in children, keep checking the temperature to know if the fever has reduced or intensified.
This was everything summed up about what is a low-grade fever, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.