When should I get tested if I have a viral fever? What is the fastest way to recover from viral flu?

Not only Covid-19, but also other viral fevers such as seasonal influenza (H1N1) and dengue have been reported in a number of cities. In fact, with overlapping symptoms and sometimes simultaneous events, people wonder what to do when they develop a fever.

Delhi has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases this month, but so have viral infections like Dengue and H1N1. This is also happening in other cities. What are you currently seeing in your clinics?

After a lull, there has been an increase in Covid-19 cases this month. If anyone comes to the consultation with a fever, they are more likely to have Covid-19. Seven out of 10 patients have Covid-19. But we are seeing more and more cases of flu and dengue. We even report malaria cases – maybe three or four cases a week. Then there are always cases of typhus.

Isn’t it difficult to distinguish between different infections?

Influenza and Covid-19 are very difficult to distinguish because both involve the upper respiratory tract in addition to fever. And in most cases we don’t really need to differentiate because the treatment remains the same. There is no specific treatment for either – of course there is Tamiflu for H1N1 which helps people at risk of severe disease, but it has to be given within two or three days of the onset of symptoms – we usually ask the patient to take paracetamol.

In dengue, on the other hand, the fever is usually high, such as 102 or 103 degrees. There is also retro-orbital pain, i.e. pain behind the eyes, headache, back pain and sometimes a red rash. Dengue treatment is also symptomatic.

Malaria again results in high fever and we need to confirm this because there are specific antimalarial drugs available.

Who should be screened for infections?

There are several seasonal fevers; we cannot test everyone for each of them. This is impractical and unnecessary. Moreover, the costs are increasing. COVID-19 tests are cheaper now, with home tests also available, but an H1N1 test can still cost Rs 4,500. Then if you add the dengue antigen test and the typhoid test, it goes up.

Also, most viral fevers clear up on their own and don’t need antibiotics or anything else. People can simply continue to take Paracetamol and stay at home to recover. Cough syrups and home remedies can be taken to help with a sore throat and cough. People can stay in isolation so that whatever the infection is, they don’t spread it to others.

Who should be tested now? The elderly, people with co-morbidities and those with weakened immune systems. This is because they are at risk of developing more severe forms of Covid-19. People should get tested if they have a high fever that persists after two or three days and have shortness of breath or bleeding.

Are you seeing complicated cases of Covid-19 or dengue?

We. In fact, after the January spike in cases, we almost never saw people with COVID-19 pneumonia, hypoxia, or needing oxygen support. We see it again. I have some patients who are not very old, they just have normal diabetes or hypertension, no other serious diseases, but they need oxygen support.

Oxygen saturation can also be monitored if someone with Covid-19 has a pulse oximeter at home. Those with co-morbidities should contact their doctor, but there is no need to panic.

It is important that people remember that Covid-19 is still here and that pandemic-appropriate behavior should not be eliminated. Wearing a mask will also protect against other respiratory infections, such as the flu.

As for dengue, we again saw a decrease in the number of platelets in some patients. At this time, it is better to avoid mosquito bites. People should watch out for stagnant water and mosquito breeding because the environment is favorable now.

What’s your advice since all the infections are happening together and people are self-prescribing antibiotics and painkillers?

Antipyretic drugs are the safest. Just take Paracetamol and relax. There is no need to take any antibiotics as it has no role in any of the diseases. All of them are viral diseases; malaria also has a specific drug and antibiotics have no role. Doctors will also prescribe it. People also use vitamin C and other supplements. What can a five-day dose of vitamin C do? None of this is necessary.

(Why Dr Gogia? He is a renowned internal medicine specialist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, one of the largest tertiary care centers in Delhi. His area of ​​interest has been diabetes and infectious diseases for over 24 years)

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