ZocdocAnswersIs a fever cause for an infectious disease consultation?

Question

Is a fever cause for an infectious disease consultation?

My fever hasn't broken in 4 days. Is this some other kind of infectious disease?

Answer

A fever is the body's response to immune system activation. Certainly a fever can be the response to an infectious agent such as a bacteria or virus. The first question I would have for you is what additional symptoms are you having. Usually an infection causes other symptoms than just a fever. For example, if the fever was due to a urinary tract infection, then it should also hurt when you urinate. If you have a gastrointestinal infection, you should have diarrhea or nausea and vomiting. If you have pneumonia, you should also have a cough and trouble breathing. A fever only suggests that another diagnosis may be present. Other causes of fever include inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Because an infectious cause of your fevers is not the only possibility, then I suggest that you first schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (family doctor or internal medicine doctor). He or she can take a detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. Workup of an unknown fever will include blood work, and possibly a CAT scan of your chest and abdomen. If your fever breaks between now and then and does not return, then it was probably an infection. You should still see your doctor, regardless.

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