What are the common symptoms of the present wave of infection?

Most of the individuals have a fever that lasts for 4 to 5 days. This is associated with body aches, throat pain, and cough. The cough is usually dry with no sputum, to begin with. There could be some pain in the throat while swallowing. What is the primary line of management? One should not panic as most of these fevers are self-limiting. Even with primary care, they would be cured in 4 days. However, if the fever is above 103 degrees or is associated with skin rashes or joint swelling, or yellow or red sputum then this calls for medical attention. If the individuals have breathlessness or oxygen saturation of less than 95% then this also calls for early medical attention.

How to handle them at home?

High-grade fever should be handled with a great degree of diligence. Please sponge them with tap water or they can be under the shower at room temperature. Do not allow the temperature to exceed 101 degrees in children below 5 years as this may precipitate febrile convulsions. Paracetamol can be given to all irrespective of age unless they are allergic to Paracetamol. Avoid Aspirin in young children as this may cause liver damage. Aspirin should be avoided in individuals with severe acidity or prior ulcers in the stomach. Drugs like Ibuprofen Diclofenac or Nimesulide are not indicated for fever management. Simple gargles are enough for cough. Avoid food from outside sources or spicy and oily food.

How do prevent the spread of these viral infections?

Washing hands frequently viral infection. This may as well be typhoid or urinary tract infection. Fever with persistent cough or sputum with chest pain may be due to underlying pneumonia. Fever with severe headache and body ache may be due to underlying dengue fever or Chikungunya infection. In the second week of fever, there could be associated joint swelling and pain in Chikungunya. Fever associated with vomiting, loose stools, breathlessness, and skin rashes calls for immediate attention.

What are the common causes of fevers in the present season?

Respiratory virus infections causing fever, cold, and cough are the commonest. Besides this common flu or swine flu, Every household or a class in a school or an office has many individuals with fever, cold, and cough. This is creating a lot of hardships for the patients and their families alike. Most of these infections are self-limiting. using a face mask and keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from affected individuals is important. If you are a student or working in a crowded place, it is best to abstain from work for 2 days so as to prevent its spread to others and avail of the rest for a speedy recovery.

What are the danger signals in case of viral infections?

If the fever continues to be above 102 degrees continuously for more than 3 days or is associated with rigors, the diagnosis may not be Coronavirus infections, viruses causing loose stools and vomiting are common in this season. Other infections that are not seasonal namely typhoid, viral hepatitis, herpes, dengue, tuberculosis, HIV, and autoimmune disorders are also considered by physicians. What are the investigations usually carded out by doctors? It basically depends upon an individual case. If fever continues above 102 for more than 2 to 3 days necessary investigations are done. This always includes a routine blood count and urine analysis. Besides this depending on each individual, tests for swine flu, RTPCR for coronavirus, and tests for dengue, malaria, and typhoid are carried out. Xray chest is done if chest pain, breathe. lessness and yellow sputum or low oxygen saturation on pulse oximeter are detected.

Which population group is more likely to have dangerous outcomes and need special care?

Infants and young children, very elderly above 70 years are at more risk. Fever in diabetics, kidneys, and liver failure, those on steroids and immunosuppressants need special care. Those having a kidney or liver transplant and those with autoimmune disorders need immediate attention and early investigations. Individuals becoming drowsy, breathless, and with persistent vomiting and loose stools need hospitalization.

How do prevent seasonal fevers?

Though simple to understand, it is difficult to follow! Proper vaccination against Coronavirus including the booster dose, and annual vaccination against influenza is important. Vaccination against pneumonia and following the vaccination protocol from the Pediatrician is necessary. Using a face mask, repeated hand washing with water and soap, avoiding crowded places, and isolation in selected cases like coronavirus and influenza cases help to prevent its spread. Try to avoid food and snacks from unhygienic sources.

Categories : Health

Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.

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