It’s possible to feel feverish but not be running an actual temperature. Underlying medical conditions, hormone fluctuations, and lifestyle may all contribute to these feelings.
Feeling feverish or hot may be one of the first signs of having a fever. But sometimes you may feel like you have a fever when you do not.
While an occasional feverish feeling isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, ongoing, or chronic, feelings of having a fever without an elevated body temperature could signify an undiagnosed medical condition.
Here’s what you need to know about feeling feverish without having a fever, and what you can do to treat it. It’s also important to know when you should see a medical professional for further evaluation.
What is considered a fever?
A fever is considered a body temperature that’s higher than your personal normal. The average body temperature or “normal” temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some people may run slightly colder or hotter.
Running a fever is most commonly an indication that your body’s trying to fight an infection. While uncomfortable, a fever is an important mechanism for your body to fight off viruses and bacteria. Fever
Feeling feverish without having a high body temperature can also feel uncomfortable, but it can indicate a variety of different issues that do not include infections.
Certain underlying medical conditions may cause feelings of feverishness without actually causing a fever. Here are a few potential causes to consider:
Feeling anxious may induce feverishness. While similar to a
Other symptoms of anxiety may include:
- muscle tension
- excessive worrying
- increased heart rate or heart palpitations
Having either type 1 or type 2 diabetes can occasionally make you feel hotter than normal. You may especially notice these effects during more hot and humid months.
- the way higher temperatures change your insulin
- a higher vulnerability to dehydration, which can make you feel more thirsty
- changes in your sweat glands, which can make it more difficult for your body to cool itself in hotter temperatures
An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) may lead to heat sensitivity due to an influx of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. Flushing and excessive sweating are also possible.
Other common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- increased heart rate
- skipped menstrual cycles
- unintentional weight loss
- increased bowel movements
- muscle weakness
- thinning or brittle hair
Multiple sclerosis (MS) may also cause heat sensitivity in some people. At first, you may notice blurry vision along with feverishness. However, heat sensitivity can also lead to more nerve damage and subsequent neurological symptoms.
The most common symptoms of MS include:
- muscle spasms
- problems with movement and balance
- vision changes
- feelings of tingling and numbness
- bowel and bladder problems
- mental health issues
- problems with thinking and learning
- sexual dysfunction
- speech difficulties
- problems with swallowing
- excessive fatigue
Environmental and lifestyle causes
Your environmental and lifestyle habits may also play a role in making you feel feverish. Possibilities include:
- excessive caffeine or alcohol intake
- eating spicy foods
- consuming hot beverages and foods
- inaccurate temperature readings
Exercise can also make you feel feverish, particularly if you work out in hot temperatures. An inability for your body to cool down in hot, humid conditions can increase your risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion may cause:
Heat stroke, on the other hand, increases your body temperature to 103 degrees Fahrenheit or more within 15 minutes. This is a medical emergency that may result in the following symptoms:
If you or a loved one is presenting symptoms of a heat stroke, call emergency services.
Other causes of feeling feverish may be hormonal in nature, especially in women. Hot flashes in both perimenopause and menopause can make you feel hot and flushed, while also causing night sweats.
Pregnancy may also make you feel more feverish than normal, as well as your menstrual cycles.
Certain medications can also increase your risk for heat intolerance, such as:
- cancer drugs, including chemotherapy
- drugs for high blood pressure
- heart disease medicines
- thyroid hormone replacements
- anti-nausea drugs
Treatments and home remedies
If you are feverish but aren’t displaying an abnormal body temperature, you can help make yourself feel cooler with the following strategies:
- avoid going outside during the middle of the day when temperatures are the hottest
- make sure the temperature indoors is cool, and run fans when you can
- drink plenty of fluids
- wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing
- dress in layers
- avoid alcohol and caffeine—these are both dehydrating, but may also worsen underlying medical conditions such as anxiety
- limit spicy and hot foods
However, if you have a medical condition that’s causing you to feel feverish, you will need to treat the underlying cause. Examples include:
- anti-anxiety medications and behavioral therapy for anxiety
- checking your blood glucose and adjusting insulin as needed for diabetes
- adjusting your thyroid medication
- seeing your doctor for any new or worsening neurological symptoms
When to seek care
Talk with your doctor if you’re feeling chronically feverish despite making lifestyle changes. They may run diagnostic tests, such as bloodwork, to help rule out any possible causes. If you’re currently taking any medications, they may adjust the type of drug, and they may also adjust the dose.
The bottom line
It’s possible to feel feverish but not have a fever, and there are many possible causes. Certain underlying medical conditions may increase your intolerance to heat, while some medications you take can also be to blame. Other causes may be temporary, such as exercising in the heat.
If you continue to feel feverish despite lifestyle adjustments, talk with a health professional for next steps.