In most cases fever and fatigue are caused by an underlying infection of some sort. Individual conditions which are caused by bacterial or viral infections include influenza, pneumonia, hepatitis, and many sexually transmitted diseases. These are only a few examples of hundreds of potential causes. Occasionally fever and fatigue may be caused by teething in small infants.
As a general rule of thumb, if fever is present in the body, an infection is present somewhere. The type of infection which also causes fatigue and other symptoms is generally a systemic variety rather than one that is localized in one location. The most common type of infections are the common cold and influenza, both of which affect millions of individuals every year around the world.
Many infections cause fever as well as fatigue because the body’s immune system is working hard to fight off the infection. The temperature begins to rise in an attempt to kill bacteria and viruses, thus causing the fever. Patients often feel tired and fatigued because of this extra energy being exerted by the body, which may encourage them to rest and conserve energy. If vomiting and diarrhea are also present, dehydration may also cause fatigue as well as lowered electrolyte levels.
The only way of getting rid of fatigue and fever caused by a viral infection, the most common type, is to give the body’s immune system time to fight off the virus. There are no medications capable of killing viruses. Bacterial infections may respond to antibiotics, although these are usually reserved for more severe cases.
In some instances, fever and fatigue should be taken seriously and a doctor should be notified. This is the case when a fever becomes very high or doesn’t respond to anti-fever medications like acetaminophen or when fatigue is very severe or long lasting. Some infections can become serious and patients may need help to stay hydrated, relieve symptoms, and maintain proper electrolyte levels until the body heals itself.
Fever can be serious in young children since their bodies are not able to regulate temperature as efficiently as those of older children and adults. Anti-fever medications are often needed to lower the fever. Additional steps like cold rags or baths and drinking plenty of fluids should also be taken, especially in young infants. If the fever does not subside or gets higher rather than lower, the child’s doctor should be notified. This is especially true if vomiting or diarrhea are present or the child is showing signs of dehydration.