The optimal body temperature in a healthy individual is approximately 37 ºC (or 98.6 ºF). When this temperature increases by a degree, it is said to be fever. Everyone of us has been affected with fever at some point of time in our lives. It is a common ailment and the person said to be a victim of fever is said to record a temperature of about 100.4 ºF on the thermometer.
Having low-grade fever may be an indication that the body is fighting against foreign bodies and pathogens to prevent the occurrence of infections. Depending on the causative factor, the fever may last for a couple of days. However, if the fever lasts for more than a week and there is also a sudden rise or fall in the body temperature, then this fever is referred to as persistent low-grade fever.
Persistent Low-Grade Fever - Causes
There can be several reasons why persistent low-grade fever may affect an individual. Under normal circumstances, only the body temperature may increase. But if the fever is accompanied by other issues like lower back pain, headaches, nausea induced vomiting etc., then it may be serious in nature.
- Infants and children are usually more susceptible to fever because their immunity system has not been developed completely. Even a slight bacterial or viral infection, if left untreated, can cause fever in children and infants.
- Viral infections like chickenpox, dengue, chikungunya and flu etc. can also cause fever in infants, children and adults. What may begin as a mild fever may progress into high grade fever, which may take a longer time to get cured. Mononucleosis is another viral infection which can affect adults and give rise to low-grade fever.
- Allergies to certain things like dust, pollen, pollution etc. can also be one of the reasons for suffering from continual low-grade fever. Intolerance to lactose, gluten etc. can also be one of the reasons for fever. This is the body's way of reacting to foreign bodies and aims at eliminating it completely.
- In adults, especially in the elderly, fever may be caused due to the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. The other signs of this joint disorder are pain and inflammation in the joints and nearby tissues, inability to move freely and locked joints etc.
- When the liver gets affected due to the presence of viral or bacterial infestation, it can cause the body heat to increase. Hence fever is one of the signs of hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver.
- Myositis, which is an autoimmune disease affects the skeletal muscles and causes inflammation. This condition can lead to progressive weakness and deterioration of the muscles.
- Sudden and unexplained fever that continues to come and go, may be a sign of cancer. Fever accompanied by different symptoms like headache, unintentional weight loss, changes in the skin and unexplained fatigue can be indications that the individual is suffering from cancer.
Treating Persistent Low-Grade Fever
The main aim of administering treatment for low-grade fever is to bring down the temperature back to normal. Drinking plenty of water and fluids is one way of lowering the body temperature and also keep it hydrated. Taking ample rest is also an effective remedy to bring down the fever, as well as strengthen the immune system for fighting against the pathogens in the body. For treating this illness in adults, aspirin or paracetamol may be used. If you are suffering from fever for a very long time, then it is better to visit a health care provider for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Proper hygiene and change in food habits should be followed, to prevent the recurrence of this disorder. Consulting a health care provider to treat persistent low-grade fever in children and adults is always advisable.