Fever is one of the most common complaints for which children as well as adults have to seek medical attention. Fever is a medical term used for rise in body temperature. The normal body temperature is generally accepted as 98.6 degree Fahrenheit. However, certain studies consider normal between the ranges of 98.6 to 99 degree Fahrenheit. A temperature more than 100.4 degree F is considered that a person has fever. Usually raised body temperature is accompanied with symptoms such as runny nose, headache, diarrhea and other symptoms. However, sometimes the onset of fever is without any accompanying symptoms.The other symptoms may follow after few days of fever. In such cases it becomes difficult for the physician to diagnose the cause in the beginning, because of lack of other symptoms. Let us find out diseases in which fever is the only symptom in the beginning of the disease.
Possible Causes with Fever as the Only Symptom:
There are several conditions that begin with fever as the only symptom. Other symptoms follow one or two days later. Most of the viral and bacterial infection begins with fever as the first symptom. Other symptoms such as diarrhea, cold and cough, headache, etc follow in one or two days.
Meningitis: Meningitis is a brain disease. Human brain is covered with a thin layer called meninges. Its primary function is to protect the brain and the spinal cord. When the meninges get inflamed, the medical term used for the disease is called meningitis. Meningitis can develop due to viral and bacterial infection. In most cases of meningitis, patient first has fever as its first symptom. This may be followed with intolerable headache, vomiting, disturbed sensorium, etc. Meningitis of bacterial origin is serious condition and needs prompt medical attention. Viral meningitis is not serious and over a period of time, the condition gets cured.
Heat Stroke: Heat stroke is caused due to overheating of the body. This usually occurs when the body is exposed to high temperature. This health problem is common in summer season when the mercury rises extremely high. One of the main sign of heatstroke is high body temperature. Temperature of body rises more than 104 degree F. This may be followed with other symptoms such as altered mental behavior, hot and dry skin, rapid breathing, headache, flushed face etc.
Chronic Inflammatory Diseases: Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc can produce unexplained fever.
Roseola: It is a low grade fever usually occurring in children. The underlying cause is viral infection. Fever subsides in one or two days. Mild skin rash follows fever which remains for one or two days and subsides. No treatment is needed.
Bacteremia: It is bacterial infection in blood. Bacteria infiltrate the blood stream to produce bacteremia. It usually occurs when the concentration of bacteria is very high and the immunity is weak. This condition can cause high fever without any obvious other symptoms in the beginning stage.
Vaccinations: Vaccinations are given to children to protect them from certain infections such as mumps, rubella, pertusis etc. Although they are beneficial for health, certain vaccinations produce mild to moderate fever for few days after the child is vaccinated.
How to diagnose a cause for fever without any other symptoms:
Diagnosis of a cause when there is fever without any other accompanying symptoms is challenging task for the physical. In such situation, medical history, clinical examination is extremely useful. For example if there is recent history of vaccination, the doctor is sure that fever is due to vaccination. Certain blood tests also help in diagnosing the condition. For example, complete blood count, ESR, C-reactive protein, blood and urine culture, etc. All these tests are useful when the underlying cause is difficult to know and fever is the only symptom.