Body temperature very unstable with fever and chest infection

Hi all. I'm a little concerned right now as I picked up a virus/infection last Thursday morning, which has developed rather unexpectedly and quite aggressively for 9 days.

My body temperature has been as high as 38/39+, occasionally dropping to 36/37+, with an extremely tight chest cough. I cannot face much food (some fruit, herb tea with a little honey and Dioralyte and (I've vomited and had brief diarrhoea‎ twice), a persistent tight headache around the eyes and persistent disturbing hallucinations/borderline dreams, which I've been vocalising in my half-sleep.

Aspirin in the only drug to have any real effect on the fever. I saw an emergency doctor and started antibiotics on Thursday evening. In all my life I have never suffered an illness this severe and I am becoming concerned.

I'm CLL watch and wait, but I imagine this will send my lymphocyte count into a spike. My neutrophils haven't been too bad so far, and in the time I've been diagnosed (since 2012) any illnesses I've had went pretty quickly.

I'm asking the community for advice, and to find out of anyone else has suffered a similar illness with an unstable body temperature.

13 Replies

  • Hi Deveritt,

    When you say you started antibiotics Thurs evening, do you mean yesterday or last Thursday? If it was last week, see a doctor with haste because they're clearly not doing the trick for you. It's also a pity paracetamol isn't helping because it could help bring your temperature down but aspirin will help.

    I'm presently recovering from severe pneumonia and sepsis and as a result am probably hyper vigilant but high temps like this especially if they are accompanied by a high pulse (over 90) can be a sign of sepsis developing. I had many of your symptoms as well as an unrelenting cough and breathlessness.

    Please consult your doctor again and have your chest checked and a chest X Ray done. You may need IV antibiotics. He must feel it's bacterial to have given you antibiotics. 

    The bad dreams and hallucinations worry me because I had them as the fever spiked. I also had diahorrea.

    Don't be concerned about your lymphocyte level. My WBC predictably leapt but my ALC stayed largely unchanged. I was dx in 2012 also.

    Ring the doctor immediately!

    Let us know how it goes and best wishes.


  • Thanks Newdawn and Bubnjay1 for your valuable advice. I just returned from my second 'emergency' appointment and got checked over. Good news is that later this morning my temperature seems to have stabilised and is within normal parameters, even though until a moment ago I was shivering although not really that cold (this has been a regular afternoon feature of the illness). I started the first antibiotic in the evening 3 days ago, so expect more effects tomorrow, although the cough is already easing somewhat. But - before I started the course - it was already subsiding periodically only to return a few hours later, so I'm now hoping that won't be the case. The second doctor confirmed that she thinks this is bacterial, and there is no immediate danger of sepsis, although she asked me to seek more help if things don't start to clear over the next 2 days.

    Even with CLL I've never before experienced an illness as debilitating as this, and I usually recover quickly and have never had any real immune issues, so this has been a real shock.

    The strangest aspect of all were the delusions/hallucinations. Sitting up trying to have a warm drink last night - and supposedly awake - I became convinced that my vomiting was being caused by some old computer code that had some rotten organic material trapped inside it (in my delusions, this was actually old Dioralyte) which I'd forgotten. In the morning, I told myself I'd pick up the laptop and simply delete that particular code - of course, in daylight and then only slowly - I realised that this was simply nonsense!

    I had a chest x-ray not too long ago - but if this persists I will ask my regular doctor. Once again, thanks for your advice.

  • Relieved to hear you seem to be 'stabilising! Deveritt but please keep a close eye on this. I was hospitalised and sent home supposedly 'stabilised' only to deteriorate massively over the following 4 days. 

    A past X Ray prior to the onset of this illness isn't necessarily useful.

    I'm sure you'll be fine but please don't be complacent. Watch your temp and pulse particularly and don't hesitate to seek further medical advice if it persists or worsens.

    Best wishes,


  • I LoVE your replies- they are so helpful!

  • Best advice ever from Newdawn, please see your GP asking for an emergency appointment, won't hurt to mention sepsis.

    Good luck.


  • How do you know you have an infection?  How do you know it is viral?  Diagnostic information is critical to treatment.  Get a CT scan and the usual blood cultures and tests and urine tests.  In my case CLL caused virus like symptoms and fluid invaded the space between my lung and its sac, called a pleural effusion, giving me symptoms of pneumonia or other infection.

  • Thanks, all things I must watch out for.  I guess I'll know more later.

    How did the CLL cause virus-like symptoms?

  • Hi Deveritt,

    Just a quick message to hope you're feeling much better now and your symptoms are much improved.


  • I've now been in hospital for a week. Although it's pneumonia I have two atypical blood infections. I'm getting regular bloods and a sputum culture to pin down the cause.

    I'm on 3 antibiotics. One made me so nauseous I couldn't even swallow medication.

    Some improvement in my lungs and breathing, and very little cough now, although oxygen levels are hovering around 90%.

    CT scan is booked. Last chest X-ray showed no worsening.

  • I'm now at home recovering pretty well. The pneumonia was either triggered or followed by swine flu.

    I'm still wheezing after climbing stairs, but the coughing is much reduced. Not had bloods since, so not sure how my lymphocytes will be.

  • Glad you're now home Deveritt. Sounds like you've had a rough time. My pneumonia was triggered by noro-virus it seems but swine flu is dreadful.

    It didn't appear to have a major effect on my lymphocytes at the time but I have my haemo consult end of the month and I'm expecting my immunoglobulin levels to have dropped.

    Hope you're feeling much stronger soon,


  • Glad to have this update and to hear that at last you are on the mend. Take it easy while you recover Deverit.

    Thank you for letting us know how you are coping.

    Best wishes


  • About a year later, I now know I had Swine Flu and Influenza A. The Pneumonia seems to have caused some wheezing that has persisted and I am sensitive to breathing in cold air, but I've been inoculated against that and also had the flu inoculation. Awaiting blood results from before and after. Pretty dreadful fatigue and what feels like pressure in my head occurs in acute periods (a day or two at a time, often triggered by stress, lack of sleep, on one occasion an upper respiratory chest infection, and a common cold) is a regular experience, but some days I'm bouncing around as if there's nothing wrong at all!

    Plan to see the CLL consultant as soon as possible.

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