Can a hangover cause a fever?

Ah, the dreaded hangover. Hands up if you’ve ever woken up after a heavy night of drinking with your head pounding and stomach churning, feeling like you want to curl up into fetal position for the rest of eternity. We’ve all been there, but have you ever experienced a fever as part of your hangover symptoms?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at whether or not it’s possible for a hangover to cause a fever and what other factors could be at play.

What is a Hangover?

First things first – let’s define what exactly we mean by “hangover.” We all know it as that unpleasant combination of physical and mental symptoms that can hit us after over-indulging in alcohol. But what actually causes those symptoms?

When we drink alcohol, our body produces acetic acid as it metabolizes the ethanol in our drinks. This substance can irritate our stomach lining and increase inflammation throughout our bodies – leading to some common hangover side effects like headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.

It’s also worth noting that different types of alcoholic beverages can have slightly different effects on our bodies due to their varying ingredients (such as tannins in red wine) or sugar content (think sugary cocktails vs straight liquor).

Symptoms of Hangovers

So what are some common signs that you’re experiencing an epic hangover? Here are just a few:

  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue/drowsiness
  • Dizziness/vertigo
  • Dehydration
  • Sensitivity to light/noise

And yes…fever can be one symptom too! Let’s explore that further.

Wait! Is It Really A Fever In The First Place?

Before jumping straight into whether or not fevers can occur during hangovers; however,it is essential to establish what actually constitutes a fever in the first place.

In medical terms, a true fever is defined as having a body temperature above 100.4°F (38°C). Anything below that threshold would be considered just an elevated temperature – not quite enough to meet the standard for a legitimate fever.

So, if you’re feeling flushed and warm after drinking heavily, but your temp hovers around 99 degrees Fahrenheit or so: You may have an elevated temperature rather than actually experiencing a hangover-induced fever.

Nonetheless, drinkers often use the phrase “hangover fever” colloquially.

Can Hangovers Really Cause Fevers?

The answer is…it’s complicated! While it’s not uncommon for people to describe some of their hangover symptoms as feeling “flu-like,” because headaches aren’t the only shared trait between alcohol consumption and actual viruses such as colds and flu–the relationship between fevers and hangovers isn’t always straightforward.

Here are some possible reasons why you might think you’re having a “hangover-fever”:


As we all know drinks urination; dehydration caused by consuming alcoholic beverages can occur rapidly due to its diuretic nature—which means that excessive, frequent urination promotes water loss from our bodies.

When our bodies lose cellular electrolytes without replenishment while shedding excess water-gets dehydrated via sweating processes—the elimination system which harmonizes with thermoregulation cools down releasing trapped heat lost during evaporation(i.e., sweating), causing us to feel warmer than usual. However, this increased sensation of warmth doesn’t necessarily indicate illness (except you exceed normal limit)—which explains why many party-goers assume they have developed an intense case of hangover-induced flu when really they’re dealing with nothing more serious than acute dehydration

Therefore it’s essential at those moments of ‘trapped heat’ release processes i.e feeling warm, you rehydrate yourself properly!


Remember the acetic acid we talked about earlier? Well, that substance can also cause inflammation throughout our body – leading to symptoms like feverishness and muscle aches. This type of reaction often referred to as alcohol intolerance, it typically results in flushing caused by the temporary enlargement of blood vessels–which dilates small capillary blood vessels at or close to the surface of our skins.

If this swelling becomes persistent or accompanied by other troubling symptoms; however such as rashes or difficulty breathing—then seek medical advice right away.

Immune System Suppression

Alcohol has long been known for its ability to interfere with various bodily functions including immune system suppression– Increased vulnerability to common diseases/infections is possible. But how does this relate specifically related hangover-fever?

Well—it means that your body may not be able to effectively fight off any germs that are present in your system after binge drinking/overconsumption which leads its most likely occurrence after withdrawal phase from alcoholic consumption—but even then it’s just an elevated temperature NOT a fever. The spike in body heat during hangovers occurs once dehydration sets in.

Treatments for Hangover Fever-like Symptoms

So what should you do if you’re experiencing some febrile tenderness due to excessive alcoholic beverages? Here are some steps worth considering:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water/Gatorade/Pedialyte etc…to replenish any fluids lost through over-consumption.
  • Try OTC pain relievers like aspirin/ibuprofen if noting else works
  • Take vertical breaks once/or several times between sleep/rest: There’s no shame here! Letting your body rest (literally) helps create time and room for recovery processes
    such as rehydration/fluid balance equilibrium/digestion
  • Ease back on Alcohol consumption

These are just a few basic measures that could assist in easing the severity of your hangover symptoms: but all-in-all PREVENTION is better than remedy!

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