body ache with chest ache

body ache with chest ache

What causes fever and chest pain? When to seek help

Chest pain and a fever can be a cause for concern when they occur separately. However, if they present at the same time, a person should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

In this article, we take a look at several conditions that can cause chest pain and fever at the same time. We also examine when a person should seek help if a fever or chest pain occurs without the other symptom.

Flu
 
Flu can cause both chest pain and fever.

Influenza or flu is a contagious respiratory illness that occurs due to influenza viruses. These viruses infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs, causing mild to severe illness. In rare instances, the flu can lead to severe symptoms and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Symptoms

People who have the flu often experience some or all of the following symptoms:

Treatment

In many instances, a person can treat the flu by:

  • getting plenty of rest
  • drinking lots of fluids
  • taking antiviral drugs

Learn more about caring for someone with the flu here.

 
Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a condition in which the airways, or bronchial tubes, in the lungs, become inflamed. This inflammation can lead to coughing, often with mucus.

Doctors classify bronchitis as either chronic or acute. Chronic bronchitis involves chronic inflammation of the airways, which leads to a persistent cough that can last several months and recur annually.

However, most people with acute bronchitis recover after a few days or weeks. Viral infections usually cause acute bronchitis, although sometimes a bacterial infection can cause it.

Symptoms

Symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • coughing
  • producing mucus
  • wheezing or shortness of breath
  • fever
  • chest pain often described as a burning sensation or tightness

Treatment

According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute (NHLBI), acute bronchitis usually goes away on its own, without treatment. However, treatment can include:

Learn more about home remedies and treatment for bronchitis here.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a common lung infection that can occur due to bacteria, a virus, or fungi. The infection causes inflammation of the alveoli, or the air sacs, in the lungs, causing them to fill with fluid.

Symptoms

Symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • a sharp or stabbing chest pain that worsens when breathing deeply
  • chest tightness
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • coughing up yellow or green mucus
  • shallow breathing
  • nausea and vomiting
  • shortness of breath

Treatment

Treatments for pneumonia include:

  • OTC medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or NSAIDs, including ibuprofen or naproxen
  • home management techniques, including drinking plenty of fluids, using a humidifier, and resting
  • taking antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • severe pneumonia requiring hospitalization may require intravenous fluid treatment, antibiotics, and oxygen therapy

Home remedies will not treat for pneumonia. Find out more here.

 
 
Myocarditis

Myocarditis is a disease that causes inflammation of the heart muscle that often has links to a viral illness or autoimmune disease. It enlarges and weakens the heart, causing it to work harder to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body.

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • fainting
  • heart palpitations
  • chest pain or pressure
  • lightheadedness
  • swelling in the hands, legs, ankles, and feet
  • a sudden loss of consciousness

Treatment

Treatment focuses on supportive care and treatment of the underlying cause. Medications to treat myocarditis include:

Severe cases of myocarditis may lead to significant heart failure. Some people may require the use of a ventilator, or in some extreme situations, a heart transplant.

 
Pericarditis

The heart has a protective fluid-filled sac around it called the pericardium.

Pericarditis involves inflammation of the pericardium. Sometimes, blood or fluid may have leaked into it. According to the American Heart Association, pericarditis often occurs after a viral infection, such as a sore throat or cold.

Symptoms

Symptoms of pericarditis can include:

  • constant sharp, stabbing or aching chest pain
  • fever
  • trouble breathing
  • coughing
  • palpitations
  • weakness

Treatment

Treatments for pericarditis include:

  • anti-inflammatory painkillers
  • colchicine if anti-inflammatory painkillers do not work or a person cannot take them
  • steroids, such as prednisone, if colchicine does not work
  • antibiotics if the pericarditis results from a bacterial infection
  • pericardiocentesis, which involves removing fluid that has leaked into the pericardial sac
Infectious esophagitis

The esophagus is a muscular tube that connects the throat and stomach. Infectious esophagitis occurs when the lining of the esophagus (the tube connecting the throat and stomach) becomes irritated and inflamed due to a fungal, viral, or bacterial infection.

Symptoms

Symptoms of infectious esophagitis include:

  • pain when swallowing
  • trouble swallowing
  • mouth pain
  • chest pain or heartburn
  • nausea or vomiting
  • chills or fever

Treatment

Fungal esophagitis occurs due to the Candida fungus. Doctors often treat this type of esophagitis with antifungal medicines, such as fluconazole.

Viral esophagitis responds to antiviral medicines, such as acyclovir.

Doctors may treat bacterial esophagitis with broad-spectrum antibiotics, which kill many types of bacteria.

 
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When to seek help for yourself

Fever

A fever by itself is not necessarily a cause for concern. Many things can cause a fever, but they usually occur when the body is fighting off an infection.

The primary characteristic of a fever is a body temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. Doctors consider temperatures above 103.1°F (39.5°C) to be a high fever and define a very high fever as any temperature above 105.8°F (41°C).

Adults should contact a doctor immediately if they experience a fever accompanied by:

  • chest pain
  • a severe headache
  • sore throat
  • sensitivity to light
  • mental confusion
  • stiff neck
  • persistent vomiting
  • listlessness or irritability
  • abdominal pain

Chest pain

Possible causes of chest pain vary, ranging from muscle pain to a heart attack.

People should treat any sudden and unexplained chest pain as an emergency.

The CDC state that the main symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • feeling weak, lightheaded, or faint
  • experiencing pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  • experiencing pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders
  • having shortness of breath

If a person suspects a heart attack, call emergency services immediately. Early medical treatment improves the chances of surviving a heart attack.

 
 
When to seek help for a child 

Fever

Parents or caregivers must seek medical attention as soon as possible if a child has a fever alongside any of the following symptoms:

  • a stiff neck
  • unusually cold hands and feet
  • bulging of the fontanelle (the soft spot on a baby’s head)
  • pale, blotchy, blue or grey skin
  • sensitivity to light
  • trouble breathing
  • seizures
  • difficulty swallowing

A fever lasting more than 3 days (72 hours) is also a cause for concern.

Parents and caregivers should take any baby under 3 months of age with a fever to the nearest emergency department.

Chest pain

Seek immediate medical attention if a child has chest pains accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • severe trouble breathing
  • bluish lips or face
  • inability to move or being too weak to stand
  • loss of consciousness or fainting
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