Seasonal infections may add to Covid crisis

Doctors see spike in number of patients visiting Fever Hospital with suspected dengue, swine flu, malaria

By   |  Published: 15th Aug 2020  12:03 amUpdated: 15th Aug 2020  12:37 am

Hyderabad: The coming weeks could prove to be quite stressful for public healthcare institutions in Hyderabad and general public, as the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak is expected to overlap with seasonal infections, including swine flu, dengue, malaria, gastro and chikungunya.

There are early signs of a spike in the number of patients who are visiting Fever Hospital with seasonal ailments. Doctors said that in the last week or so, there has been a jump in patients at outpatient wings with suspected dengue, swine flu, jaundice and malaria, apart from Covid-19 patients.

As a result, Fever Hospital, which is an exclusive State-run tertiary healthcare facility for seasonal ailments in Hyderabad, is now operating two-separate outpatient facilities i.e., Fever Clinics and exclusive counters for suspected Covid-19 patients.

Anticipating a spike in seasonal ailments, authorities have urged individuals and the community at large to be extra cautious in the months of August and September.

“There is a need for general public to be aware of the symptoms and take help of government hospitals at the earliest. Last year, dengue was quite virulent in Hyderabad and this year, we are anticipating that swine flu could be active in the coming months. The preparations to provide treatment to patients are in place,” said Superintendent, Fever Hospital, Dr K Shankar.

Symptoms

Similar symptoms of swine flu (H1N1) and Covid-19 have the potential to create confusion among general public. While both share many common characteristics, there are also some key differences between the two.

The Covid-19 disease is caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 while swine flu is caused by an influenza virus. Persons with Covid-19, apart from having common flu-like symptoms, also tend to lose their sense of taste and smell, which often does not happen among flu patients. Those with Covid-19 are likely to take longer to develop symptoms rather than those with normal flu, who usually take three to four days to fall sick.

“Running nose is very common in patients with flu but not seen among Covid-19 patients while lost smell and taste are common among Covid patients but not in flu patients. I would personally advise people not to waste time if the fever does not subside after a day and reach the nearest government healthcare facility for testing,” says Dr Shankar.

The senior seasonal ailments expert also urged people not to indulge in self-diagnosis and self-medication, as it has the potential to cause wrong diagnosis and further complicate the matter.


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