What is fever with aching limbs?
If fever occurs together with aching limbs, this often indicates an infection. This can be of bacterial, viral or parasitic cause. The symptoms are an expression of the fight between the immune system and the pathogen.
Pain in limbs or muscles is caused by the immune cells producing certain inflammatory mediators (e.g. prostaglandins) which activate the immune system. At the same time, however, these messenger substances also lower the pain threshold, which is why the patient has an increased sensation of pain. Fever is also a reaction of the immune system to accelerate certain defense processes. In addition, there are pathogens that are less able to multiply at an elevated temperature. Fever is therefore a sensible reaction of the body that does not necessarily require the use of antipyretic agents.
Causes of fever with aching limbs
As mentioned above, the combined occurrence of fever and aching limbs is usually a sign of infection. This can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. The most common trigger is probably the viruses that cause a cold or even the classic flu.
They are usually transmitted by droplet infection (e.g. sneezing) and therefore spread quickly when people are together in a confined space, for example in a crowded streetcar. In the case of the real flu, the fever is usually much higher than with a banal cold. Bacterial pathogens are also conceivable.
In contrast to viruses, for which one regularly treats only symptomatically (the symptoms are alleviated but the cause is not eliminated), bacteria can be killed with antibiotics. However, a bacterial infection – just like a viral infection – can also heal on its own. The use of antibiotics should therefore be thoroughly considered by the treating physician.
Parasites are rather rare in our latitudes as triggers for infections, but should not be disregarded. Particular interest is shown in patients who complain of fever with aching limbs and who have recently been abroad or have contact with people who have been abroad. Malaria, for example, can cause flu-like symptoms including fever and muscle pain.
A cold is caused by viruses. As mentioned above, fever and aching limbs can also be caused by bacteria or parasites. Another possible cause of fever and aching limbs can be rheumatic diseases.
This cause is rather rare compared to a cold, but should be considered if the symptoms persist for a longer period of time (more than 3 weeks). Rheumatic diseases express themselves at the beginning on the basis of unspecific general symptoms. These can be: Rheumatism can be better differentiated from the other possible causes as soon as the typical joint complaints set in.
These are usually worse in the morning and improve in the course of the day (morning stiffness). At the beginning they usually occur on one side in the area of the metacarpals. If only one of the two symptoms occurs, i.e. only fever or only aching limbs, there are completely different possibilities.
- Sometimes fever
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
An allergy is often not immediately identifiable as such. The symptoms are very similar to those of a cold. Although an allergy usually does not cause fever or aching limbs, it can cause, for example, pain:
- Sniffing and sneezing
The symptoms do not include fever and aching limbs. In other respects, too, the symptoms bear little resemblance to an infection, apart from the fatigue. Typical symptoms of migraine are:
- Headache on one or both sides
- Nausea and vomiting
- Concentration difficulties
- Visual disorders