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When a person gets a fever, the most common question the people around the person ask is whether the fever is contagious. The good news is that whenever a person gets a fever, it is not necessary that he or she is contagious. The fever could be due to an infection caused by a virus or bacterium. And, when the infection is contagious, the resultant fever is not at all contagious. Rather it is the infection that is contagious. A fever is the body's response to the infection as increasing the temperature of the body makes it unappealing for the virus or bacterium.
Taking an example of contagious and non-contagious fever; a scratch can become infected and cause a fever. This kind of fever is not contagious. On the other hand, a viral infection like chickenpox is contagious and one of the symptoms is a fever. However, it is not fever that is contagious, but the virus causing the chickenpox that is contagious.
Usually, a virus can cause fevers. They are infectious pathogens that multiple in a living host and cause many symptoms. The ubiquitous common cold is caused due to virus and the person will end up with a fever, congested nose, sore throat, body ache and cough as a result of the infection. Diseases like the flu, chickenpox, measles, rubella and mumps are all caused by a virus and one of the symptoms of these diseases is fever.
When compared to a viral infection, it is a bacterial infection that can cause a fever more often. The body has many kinds of bacteria, some of which are beneficial for the body, while others are not. When the number of bacteria increases in the body, it causes an infection and this can be at just one site of the body, or it can be across the body. When it comes to a viral infection, the infection runs its course and disappears. On the other hand, a bacterial infection can migrate from one part of the body to another, and will continue to cause the fever and other symptoms till the person is given antibiotics.
Generally, it is advised that when a person has a fever, it should be allowed to go away on its own, especially if the fever is a result of a viral infection. However, if the fever is caused due to a bacterial infection, then the person should be treated with antibiotics. A fever should be brought down when very high with the help of a lukewarm bath. In case the fever does not come down even after the bath, the person should be taken to hospital to ascertain the cause of the fever. Never use rubbing alcohol to bring down a fever as it will cause the body to cool down too fast and result in a shock.
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