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Why the Body Experiences Aches and Pains During a Fever

Man Running a High Fever

A fever takes a lot out of a person in a way that most headaches, colds, and cases of flu typically don’t on their own. Body aches and fever often go hand-in-hand because of the way that fevers affect the body. These symptoms are typically described as an aching feeling that affects various parts of the body and makes it very difficult to move around or have the energy to function at a normal level.

The paragraphs that follow provide a description of how fevers affect the body and why fevers are so often accompanied by body aches. Fever sufferers can better address their symptoms of body pain and fever with knowledge about the use of painkillers and other potential treatment strategies.

How Fevers Occur in the Body

In a healthy and well-functioning body, the white blood cells’ job is to get to repair muscle fibers that are damaged through normal use. But when a person’s body has the flu or fever, the white blood cells switch roles to fight the virus that is causing the sickness. Since the white blood cells don’t have any time left over to rebuild muscles as they normally would, the body is left feeling sore and achy.

Meanwhile, while the white blood cells are busy fighting off the infection, they give off cytokines, which is a natural chemical that causes inflammation. While some inflammation can be beneficial to fight illness, too much of it can negatively affect the muscles and joints by making them ache.

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How Painkillers Help with Fevers

Painkillers that contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen are often used to treat high fevers under the direction of a doctor. This is because painkillers are able to reduce fevers and make a person feel better in a relatively short amount of time.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin, affect the substances in the body that cause pain sensations and control body temperature. Ibuprofen, for example, can help reduce levels of hormones that cause pain feelings and inflammation. Meanwhile, acetaminophen is believed to affect pain sensors in the brain as well.

Treatment for Body Pain and Fever

Doctors sometimes recommend not trying to lower one’s body temperature for low-grade fevers but simply letting the fever run its natural course instead. When the symptoms of a fever are short-lived and manageable, this approach can be beneficial to prevent the masking of symptoms or prolonging of the illness.

But when fevers become high or too uncomfortable to bear, there are other treatment strategies available as well. First, it is very important to get lots of rest during a fever to help the body regain energy and strength to fight it off.

In addition to medication, fever body aches can be soothed with taking a lukewarm (but not cold) shower or bath to help the body cool down. Drinking plenty of fluids, mostly water, and eating foods rich in antioxidants will also help restore the body back to natural health. Squash, bell peppers, berries, and tomatoes are all great food options to eat while experiencing body aches and fever.

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