What It Really Means If Your Fever Keeps Coming Back

Fever itself isn't an illness, but rather nature's way to indicate that something is wrong with your body. According to MedlinePlus, body temperatures under 100 degrees Fahrenheit are considered low-grade fevers and are harmless, whereas a high-grade fever that exceeds this point could be a symptom of an infection. A temperature more than 103 degrees Fahrenheit may be a cause for alarm and it's best to go for a quick check-up. Thus, if you think about it, sometimes fever can be a blessing in disguise that helps with an early diagnosis of diseases.

Usually, a fever can last for a few days or up to a week, depending on your health problem, age, lifestyle, or seasonal changes. However, recurring fever refers to repeated occurrences of high temperatures (often more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit) over a period of 6 months, usually a few weeks apart, per the Cleveland Clinic. Although it's more common in toddlers and children, experts believe that persistent high-grade fever in adults may be a sign of cancer.

What causes recurring fever?

Most of us already know that normal fever is caused by lack of sleep, continuous stress, and certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Even pregnancy and menstruation may trigger low-grade fever in some people due to hormonal imbalances and reduced immunity (via MedicalNewsToday).

However, recurring fever could be an indication of serious blood cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma. In most cases, these cancers are known to trigger high temperatures in the initial stages. However, Verywell Health states that around 25% of the people with recurrent fevers have aggressive Hodgkin's lymphoma, spreading internally at a fast pace and carrying the risk of advanced-stage carcinoma.

A few other cancers are also linked to a fever that doesn't go away easily. According to Cancer Research UK, ovarian, renal, and liver cancers cause cyclic fevers that reappear every few weeks. Similarly, during the diagnosis of neurological tumors, brain imaging is particularly recommended for those with advanced symptoms such as headaches and recurring fever.