HYDERABAD: In the midst of Covid and the rising number of dengue cases, a fever is rampant in the city these days. Assessing symptoms and finding treatment in a timely manner are critical, but can be difficult. But the basic treatment for all fevers remains the same – acetaminophen, adequate hydration, diet, and rest.
Covid-19, dengue, chikungunya, peeling, malaria, and leptospirosis are contagious fevers that start out with similar symptoms. The typical symptoms are high body temperature, severe headache, lower back pain, pain behind the eyeballs, diarrhea and vomiting. Early detection is a must to plan treatment.
Dengue can be easily and accurately detected by the NS1 test after day 1 and the IgM test (Elisa) after day 5. Rapid tests are also an option, but may not be reliable. Covid, on the other hand, can be identified by RT-PCR from day 2 and a CT scan of the chest at least five days after the onset of symptoms.
For malaria, a rapid malaria antigen test or a microscopic examination of the blood smear may be done by a microbiologist. In addition to diagnosing the disease, the key factor in all fevers is monitoring for possible organ damage. Liver and kidney function tests, as well as serial CBP to monitor platelet counts, are a must.
Low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia) are common in all viral fevers, but they are more common and can be a dangerous complication in dengue. The normal platelet count is between 1.5 and 4 lakh. The platelets usually drop after three days of high fever. You cannot notice this in the early phase, as it is noticeable after five days. The critical phase of illness is from day 5 to day 7, when the fever subsides and blood platelets drop faster.
Look out for these warning signs – dizziness, blood in your stool or vomit, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, persistent high fever for more than three days, and lethargy or extreme weakness.
(- Dr. Jagadeesh Kumar V, Deputy Director and Senior Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, AIG Hospitals)