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After thousands of years, scientists still don’t fully understand why we develop hangovers and we still don’t have a cure.

A 2020 research review showed that a hangover is the combination of mental and physical symptoms the day after a single period of heavy drinking. Symptoms commonly include:

The same research review above showed that they start when your blood alcohol levels approach zero.

Although a fever isn’t typically a symptom of a hangover, various types of changes in your body occur after drinking that can potentially lead to an increase in body temperature.

Keep reading as we dig deeper into the possible connections between a hangover and fever.

A fever isn’t a typical symptom of a hangover, but it’s plausible that a hangover could cause a fever from a number of factors.

First, many factors are thought to possibly contribute to the development of a hangover, such as:

It’s also plausible that the factors above could lead to the development of a fever with a hangover. But more research is needed to fully understand the link.

Short-term alcohol withdrawal

Some people who drink, and then stop drinking, often experience these symptoms when going through alcohol withdrawal:

  • fever
  • headaches
  • nausea

There’s a large overlap between the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and hangovers. It’s been proposed that a hangover is the manifestation of mild alcohol withdrawal after a single episode of drinking.

Immune system changes

It’s thought that changes to your immune system function are partially responsible for the symptoms of a hangover. A 2018 study found that cytokine levels in your body rise 2 hours after consuming alcohol.

Cytokines are signaling proteins that your immune system uses to help cells communicate with each other.

Cytokines released after drinking alcohol called pro-inflammatory cytokines promote inflammation of your whole body. It’s been proposed that the inflammatory effects of cytokines may influence the severity of your hangover, according to a 2017 research review.

Your body’s fever response is highly related to its inflammation response, according to a 2015 research review. It’s plausible that triggering your body’s inflammation response could also lead to a fever. However, more research is needed to understand alcohol’s effects on body temperature.

Susceptibility to infection

Consuming alcohol impairs your immune function and can make you more susceptible to developing an infection. If you’ve been exposed to a virus or bacteria, your body may be less able to fight it off after a period of heavy drinking.

A 2018 study found that students between 18 to 30 years old who were hangover-sensitive, had lower self-reported immune function, compared to hangover-resistant students.

The results of this study suggest that it’s plausible that people who are more likely to have hangovers might also be more likely to develop viral or bacterial infections. However, more research is needed to fully understand the link between immune function and hangover frequency.

In general, the best ways to treat a fever are to get plenty of rest and to keep your body at a comfortable temperature. Some specific ways you can treat a fever include:

Most of the time, getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated is enough to get rid of your hangover. But it’s a good idea to call a medical professional if your symptoms don’t disappear after 24 hours or if you experience possibly serious symptoms like:

If you have a low-grade fever, a temperature between 99°F and 100°F (37°C and 38°C), usually no particular treatment is necessary. It’s a good idea to call a doctor if you experience a fever above 103°F (39°C).

The only practical way to avoid developing a fever with your hangover is to avoid getting a hangover in the first place. Here are some tips to minimize your chances of experiencing a hangover.

  • Drink in moderation. The only surefire way to avoid a hangover is to avoid drinking alcohol. The next best way is to drink in moderation.
  • Avoid drinks high in congeners. Congeners are toxic chemicals found in some alcoholic drinks that are thought to increase the intensity and frequency of hangovers. Bourbon, whiskey, cognac, and tequila are among the drinks with the highest congener concentration.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and replacing electrolytes can help decrease the effects of a hangover caused by dehydration. Sports drinks, soup broths, and electrolyte powders are a few ways you can replenish electrolytes.
  • Get plenty of rest. Consuming alcohol can decrease your sleep quality. Getting plenty of rest the day after drinking can help you prevent hangover symptoms associated with lack of rest.
  • Avoid infection. Washing your hands frequently, avoiding sharing drinks, and avoiding crowded spaces with improper ventilation are some ways you can minimize your chances of developing an infection that may cause a fever.

Typical symptoms and associated symptoms of a hangover include:

Hangovers typically cause symptoms such as:

  • nausea
  • headaches
  • fatigue

Although it’s not a typical symptom, it’s plausible that a hangover could also be accompanied by a fever. Some reasons you may develop a fever, include:

  • changes to your immune system function
  • short-term alcohol withdrawal
  • increased susceptibility to infection

Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated are usually the best treatments. If your fever is more than 103°F (39°C), it’s a good idea to seek medical attention.