Fever and headache


According to the medical definition, fever is an increase in body temperature to over 38 ° Celsius. Fever is an adjustment of the set point of the body core temperature: Whenever the brain wants to increase the temperature, this information is transmitted from the brainstem to the nervous system of the entire body. Headache often occurs as a concomitant symptom of fever. Headaches do not hurt the brain itself, but the so-called meninges. This is located around the brain, and in addition to the nerve water, blood and lymph vessels also contains sensitive nerve cells, whereby the meninges can "perceive" pain stimuli. Such painful stimuli can then be triggered by the inflammatory secreted messenger substances or by the fever caused by lack of fluid. Even fever caused by drugs or medications can often be associated with headaches.

Causes of fever and headache

Both fever and headache are very nonspecific symptoms (so-called "general symptoms"), that is, they can occur in a variety of different clinical pictures. Reasons for the simultaneous occurrence of both symptoms are usually an inflammatory process in the body, triggered for example by a bacterial or viral infection.

This is mainly due to the fact that in the inflammatory reaction - as mentioned above - corresponding messenger substances are secreted, which among other things in the brain provide for vasodilation. As a result, the brain substance swells slightly, and the meninges are stretched and thereby irritated. If the headache occurs after a long-lasting fever episode, usually a simple fluid deficiency is the cause.

If there is a specific suspicion of infection, attention should be paid more attention to other complaints that give an indication of the origin or localization of the infection, such as abdominal pain or diarrhea (gastrointestinal infection), painful urination (urinary tract infection), cold symptoms or Signs of meningitis. Meningitis (meningitis) can be manifested by neck stiffness and the inability of the person to lift one leg or pull a knee to the chest while lying supine. In addition to an infection, simultaneous fever and headaches can also be caused by chemical substances such as drugs or medications. Here it is advisable to look for clues to the nature and amount of the substance to allow appropriate and appropriate treatment.

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A cold or a flu infection is a common cause of fever and headache, but by no means the only one. First of all, a cold can just start, so that the typical symptoms are not yet noticeable. It may also trigger other fevers and headaches that are not located in the cervical, nasal, or respiratory tract. It is important to exclude promptly a meningitis, as it can cause untreated long-term neurological damage. In addition, infections of the gastrointestinal or urinary tract can cause corresponding discomfort. If no signs of infection are found, an acute overdose of a drug or drug should be considered. Finally, disorders of the hormone balance can trigger fever and headache.

Accompanying symptoms

Both fever and headache, as mentioned, are common symptoms that may indicate many illnesses and causes. Accordingly, they can be associated with a variety of different symptoms.

Above all, here are the typical symptoms of an infection called, for example, cold or flu symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, mucidity of the respiratory tract, fatigue and body aches. But infections in other organ systems such as the gastrointestinal tract or urinary tract can cause fever and headache and then cause the corresponding symptoms. Caution should be exercised when back pain is added to the spine and strengthened when one leg is raised supine or one knee is pulled toward the chest. This is usually an indication of inflammation of the meninges and should be clarified as soon as possible.


As with diarrhea, vomiting associated with fever and headache may indicate gastrointestinal tract infection. Also, the body loses much fluid through vomiting, and the resulting deficiency can in turn cause headaches. Fever is another reaction of the body to the existing infection. It should be clarified what the infection might be. In addition, if blood traces appear in the vomit, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.

Even with increased intracranial pressure, nausea, dizziness and thus vomiting can occur. Especially with vomiting without prior food intake or onset of the symptom delayed onset of the onset of the fever, a doctor should be consulted as this may be an infection of the brain or the meninges.


Diarrhea as a concomitant symptom of fever and headache usually indicates an infection that is localized in the gastrointestinal tract. By definition, one speaks of diarrhea or diarrhea when more than three times a day a fluid defecation is emptied. Diarrhea, like fever, is a reaction to an inflammatory process because the infectious agent should be flushed out of the body. However, a lot of fluid is flushed out of the body, which can cause dehydration (dehydration). Since this in turn can lead to headache, it is recommended to drink particularly high amounts of water in case of diarrhea in order to compensate for this emerging deficiency as early as possible.

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Of course, the treatment of fever and headache should be tailored to the cause.

Regardless of the cause, or if it can not be determined accurately, some general therapy steps are recommended to alleviate the symptoms. As a first and probably simplest measure it is advisable to drink a lot of water, juice spritzers or unsweetened tea. This compensates for the lack of fluid that usually occurs during fever episodes and, at the same time, eliminates a cause of the headache. Also, certain home remedies can help in relieving fever and headaches. Should the fever and the headache persist, medical treatment may also be considered in consultation with the doctor. This will then be done with analgesic (analgesic) and antipyretic agents. However, it should always be borne in mind when considering exclusively symptom-related treatment that fever is also part of a defensive reaction of the body and consequently there is a cause to be treated.

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home remedies

As a simple, inexpensive and readily available method for the treatment of fever and headache, there are various home remedies that can both target symptom relief and, if infectious, fight the cause.

Probably the best-known home remedy for reducing fever is the calf wrap: For this purpose, some cloths are dipped in warm water of about 30-35 ° C and then wrapped in a tight to the layers around the calves. The body temperature can be lowered quite reliably within one hour by about 1 ° C. For example, natural pain relieving substances such as willow bark extract are suitable for headaches. The pungency of peppermint oil or ginger extract, applied to the temples and rubbed, provide relief.

However, the most important and probably simplest home remedy for headache and fever is rest and sleep, as well as drinking plenty of water and looking for a vitamin intake with fresh vegetables or fruits.

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In homeopathy, one must always look at the entire available illness in connection with the entire personality of the person concerned in order to find the right remedy from the resulting "drug picture". Therefore, no general drug recommendation can be made at this point.

Nevertheless, two homeopathic remedies are to be addressed which are frequently used in headache as well as fever. Bryonia can be the appropriate remedy if the affected person suffers from a flu infection, a cold with fever and headache. Appropriate symptoms from the drug picture to Bryonia are a strong need for rest, preference for cold over warmth, dry lips, skin and mucous membranes and strong thirst. Likewise, gastrointestinal complaints, such as infection in this area, fall under the indication of Bryonia.

The second remedy is often the use of Nux vomica. This remedy can help, especially if the discomfort is caused by the gastrointestinal tract or at least accompanied by severe symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract. This can be, for example, heartburn, constipation or nausea. Also, the improvement of the symptoms of heat is a sign that can help Nux vomica.

When do you have to go to the doctor?

One of the symptoms of alarm that may require a visit to a doctor is the severity and severity of the fever or headache.

If the fever rises above 40.5 ° C, one speaks in the medical field of extreme fever or hyperpyrexia. Such very high temperatures should be clarified professionally. For headaches, attention should be paid to pain intensity, course and localization: If the pain continues to increase over several days, this is an ongoing process and should be clarified by a doctor.

Even if the headache is associated with neck and limb stiffness, professional help should be sought, as it may be evidence of meningitis. If suspected, one should test the freedom of movement of the neck and also try if one can lead a knee in the supine position towards the chest, without causing pain in the spine.

Special features of children

Fever is in children - just like adults - first of all a defense reaction to an infection or in the much rarer case of poisoning. Even the basic measures can be copied from feverish adults. Many of these measures are also recommended for headaches, such as drinking plenty of water or sugar-free tea and keeping bed rest. To reduce fever, calf rolls, antipyretic suppositories or paracetamol can be used.

It should be kept in mind that the fever as a protective measure certainly makes sense and therefore should not be lowered immediately. Also, in case of paracetamol, the daily maximum dose must urgently be taken into account. However, a fever that lasts longer than one day or rises above 39 ° C should be visited by a pediatrician. Medical attention should also be sought when severe diarrhea or vomiting is added. Also, a rash should be perceived as an alarm symptom, as it may indicate an infectious childhood disease. In preparation for this, it is already possible to use the methods mentioned above to lower the fever on its own and, with the help of regular measurements, to create a temperature profile.

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When the fever and headache disappear together with the symptoms that may accompany it depends largely on their cause. An infection should at least disappear after a few days, if not completely disappear. If the trigger is a long-term hormone disorder, it can not be expected that recovery will be imminent - in most cases a specialist has to be consulted in order to find the responsible dysregulation of the hormone balance and to treat it appropriately.

Basically, you should go to the doctor at the latest if the symptoms persist continuously for more than three days, get worse or more intense or evidence of meningitis


While the diagnosis of fever is made by a simple temperature measurement with a corresponding fever thermometer, the headache as a sensation perceived by the person concerned is diagnosed only by a conversation or their statement.

According to medical definition, fever starts from a temperature of 38 ° C, sometimes also 38.5 ° C is given as the limit. Underlying temperatures above 37 ° C are referred to as "subfebrile", ie under the fever. Because fever and headache together may indicate a number of possible ailments. Therefore, if these symptoms persist for several days, they should be followed by some diagnostics. Particular attention should be paid to a possible infection or inflammatory response - such can usually be detected by blood and urine tests.

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