Viral Fever vs Bacterial Fever- What is the Difference?

Fever occurs when the temperature of a human body goes beyond the standard range of 98–100° Fahrenheit (36–37° Centigrade). It is one of the common medical symptoms. Other medical terminologies of fever are controlled hyperthermia and pyrexia. As the temperature rises, the individual might feel cold until the temperatures return to normal and stop going up.

Human’s standard temperatures might differ and are affected by aspects like sleeping, eating, exercise, and what time of the day. The human body temperatures tend to be high at around 6 pm, and low at 3 am.

Fever or high body temperatures is one of the means the immune system tries to fight infection. In most cases, an increase in body temperatures assist the person to resolve an infection. Nevertheless, sometimes it might go up too high, and this can lead to severe complications.

Doctors claim that provided the fever is mild; you don’t have to bring it down. Since the fever is not serious, it is likely assisting to neutralize the virus or bacteria that cause infection. Treatments to bring the body temperatures back to normal are known as antipyretics.

When the body temperature hits or goes beyond 100.4° Fahrenheit (38° Centigrade), it is not a mild fever and must be checked frequently. Let’s look at the differences between viral and bacterial fever that are caused by a viral and bacterial infection, respectively.

Viral and bacterial injections have numerous things in common. For instance, they are both caused by microbes, viruses, and bacteria, respectively.  They are transmitted by things like:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Contact with an infected individual, especially via sex and kissing
  • Contact with polluted food, water, or surfaces
  • Infected things like livestock, insects, and pets.
  • Additionally, microbes can be caused by:
  • Chronic infection that lasts for weeks, months, or even a lifetime
  • Acute infections that are short-lived
  • Latent infections that might not cause any signs at first might reactivate over months to years.
  • Most importantly, viral and bacterial infections can lead to mild, modest, and serious illness.
Viral Fever vs Bacterial Fever
Viral Fever vs Bacterial Fever

What do you need to Know about Viral Fever?

The majority of individuals have a normal temperature of 37°C. Any figure above this will be considered as fever. In most cases, fevers are a symptom that the body is battling some form of viral or bacterial infection. Viral fever can be any fever caused by underlying viral diseases.

A viral infection will cause discomfort in the human body, and they include flu and the common cold. A low-grade viral fever is a sign of most viral infections. However, certain pathological infections like dengue fever might lead to high temperatures.

Signs and symptoms of viral fever

This type of fever has a temperature range of 37°C to above 39°C (103°F). However, this will depend on the causal infection. If you are infected with viral fever, you may experience these general signs:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Dehydration
  • Feeling weak
  • Muscle pain and aches

In most cases, these signs will stay for a couple of days at maximum.

Difference Between a Virus and BacteriaDifference Between a Virus and Bacteria

What are the Causes of Viral Fever?

Viral fevers are caused by virus infection. A virus is a tiny infectious agent. Once they infect, they multiply in the cell of a human body. As mentioned early, the rise in temperature can be the body’s means to fight off viruses. Most viruses tend to be sensitive to changes in temperatures, and for this reason, a sudden rise in body temperature will make you less cordial to viruses.

There are numerous means that you get a viral infection, and this includes:


Once an individual with the viral infection coughs or sneezes close to you, you will inhale the droplets that contain the virus. Common instances of viral contaminations from inhalation are the common cold and flu.


Drinks food can be contaminated with the virus. If you consume them, you will catch the infection. Some of the examples from ingestion comprise enteroviruses and norovirus.


Some animals and insects can serve as carriers of the virus. Once bitten by any of them, you will get the infection. Instances of viral infection caused by bites comprise rabies and dengue fever.

Bodily liquids

Exchange of bodily liquids with an infected person and transmit the disease to you. Examples of this form of viral infection comprise HIV and hepatitis B.

How to Diagnose Viral Fever

Both bacterial and viral infections have the same symptoms. When diagnosing a virus infection, the doctor will begin by considering it as a bacterial infection. He or she will perform this by looking at the signs and examine the medical reports and also taking some samples to examine for the infection.

For instance, if you have an aching throat, the doctors will swab the esophagus to check for bacteria that might cause strep throat. If the test turns out negative, it means you have a virus infection.

Alternatively, they will take samples or bloodily fluid or blood to examine for certain indicators that may show a virus infection, as the number of white blood cells.

Treatment of Viral Fever

In many circumstances, viral fevers do not need a special cure. Unlike infections caused by bacteria, viral infections do not react to antibiotics. Thus, the treatment of viral fevers focuses on offering relief from the symptoms.

Here are some of the common treatment tactics of viral fever.

  • Consuming on-the-counter temperature reducers la like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lessen the temperatures
  • Getting enough rest
  • Take antiviral drugs like Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate)
  • Sit in a tepid bath to reduce the body temperature

When Should You Consult a Healthcare Professional?

In most cases, viral fever is not a life-threatening disease. However, if you have body temperatures of 39°C and even high, the best thing to be is to contact a healthcare specialist. You also need to contact a physician if you have a child with rectal temperatures of 38°C and above.

If you have a viral infection, check on the following signs that indicate the necessity for a medical cure.

  • Serious headache
  • breathing  problems
  • Pain in the chest
  • Stomach pains
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or convulsion

Viral fever is a fever that is caused by a virus infection like dengue fever or flu. Even though the majority of viral fevers will go away within a couple of days, some tend to be serious and need medical attention. Call your doctor immediately when your body temperatures begin reading 39°C and above. Otherwise, make sure your body is hydrated and get enough sleep.

Bacterial Fevers

Bacteria can infect any part of the human body leading to a wide variety of symptoms. In many cases, the predominant signs are localized in the site of infection. For this reason, the signs of a bacterial infection differ based on the infected area of the body.

Signs and Symptoms

When an individual has a bacterial fever, its symptoms are connected to what is called sickness behavior. Some of the signs include:

  • Uncontrolled shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Feeling abnormal colds
  • Lethargy
  • Sleepiness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Problems in concentrating
  • Increased sensitivity to pain

How is Bacteria Fever Treated?

Bacteria fever can be reduced by drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin that are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They are accessible to buy online or over the counter.

Nevertheless, a mild bacteria fever might be assisting your body to fight the bacteria that causes the infection. In this case, it might not be ideal for reducing fever. When the fever is brought by a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.

On the other hand, if the fever is caused by cold, NSAIDs will help to get rid of uncomfortable signs. Antibiotics do not have any impact on viruses, and for this reason, your doctor can prescribe them for viral infection.

Any person with bacteria fever is required to take plenty of water to thwart dehydration. Note that dehydration can worsen any disease.

Causes of Bacterial Fever

There are many things that can cause fever:

  • a various infection like pneumonia, flu, strep throat, or chickenpox
  • Certain medications
  • Heatstroke due to exposure to extreme temperatures or lengthy strenuous workouts
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Dehydration
  • Amphetamine abuse
  • Sunburn or exposing the skin to sunlight
  • Silicosis, lung illness caused by prolonged exposure to silica dust
  • Abuse of amphetamine

Types of Fevers

Fevers are categorized depending on how long they will last, how high the fever is, and if they come and go.


Fever can be:

  • Lowest grade ranging from 38.1°C –39°C
  • Modest grade ranging from 39.1°C –40°C
  • High grade ranging from 40.1°C -41.1 centigrade
  • Hyperpyrexia over 41.1 centigrade

The Duration the Fever Lasts in the Body

  • If the fever stays less than one week, it is acute
  • If the fever stays in the body for 14 days, it is sub-acute
  • Perseveres for more than 14 days, it is persistent or chronic
  • Fever that stays for weeks with no clear explanation is known as Fever of Undetermined Origin (FUO).

Fever In kids

Kids experiencing extreme temperatures might have febrile seizures, also called a febrile convulsion or febrile fit. The majority of cases are not severe and caused by the infection of the ear, cold gastroenteritis, or the respiratory virus. Less commonly, a febrile seizure might be instigated by something severe like meningitis, kidney infection, or pneumonia.

Febrile seizure tends to affect kids aged between ½ years to 6 years, and it tends to affect boys than girls. They happen when temperatures rise too fast.

Febrile seizures occur in two major types:

Simple febrile seizure: this type of fever stays in 15 minutes and will not happen again in 24 hours.

Typically, it involves the entire body (generalized tonic-chronic seizure). Some of the common symptoms of this kind of seizure include, the body becoming rigid, and the legs and arms begin to spasm. The victim will lose cognizance even when the eyes will still remain open.

There might be asymmetrical breathing, and the kid may defecate, urinate, or even both. Additionally, there could be vomiting.

Complex febrile seizure: This type of seizure tends to last longer and comes back frequently. It does not affect the entire body but a specific part of the human body.

In many cases, a kid suffering from seizures must be administered by a professional. Temperatures might be controlled using paracetamol or with sponging. If need be, the doctor might prescribe an anticonvulsant like clonazepam or sodium valproate.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of bacteria fever is simple. The victim’s temperature is measured; higher reading indicates that they have a fever. It is essential to take the patient’s temperature when relaxing since physical activities can raise the temperatures.

An individual is considered to have bacteria fever if:

  • Temperature reading in the mouth goes above 37.7° Centigrade
  • Temperature reading in the anus is above 37.5–38.3°
  • The temperature reading in the armpit or in the ear is above 37.2°

Since fever is just a symptom and not a disease, once the healthcare giver has established there is an increase in body temperatures, some diagnostic tests must be carried out. Based on what various symptoms and signs exist, the diagnostic test might comprise urine tests, X-rays, blood tests, and some imaging scans.

Bacteria fever can be cured with oral or topical antibiotics. Consult your healthcare professional in case you suspect you may have a fever. Additionally, seek emergency medical attention in case you experience signs that might indicate a bacterial infection of the nervous system or bloodstream that might be causing fever.

Prevention Mechanism of Fevers

Make sure you maintain high levels of hygiene. In most cases, fevers are caused by a viral or bacterial infection. For this reason, decent hygiene practices will assist you to lessen the menace of getting the infection. This comprises washing the hands thoroughly before taking the meals, after the meal, and after using the toilet.

An individual with fever brought by infection must have minimal contact with other individuals. This plays a vital role in preventing the contagion from spreading. Anyone taking care of the patient washes his or her hands with detergent and warm water.

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