With the Capital besieged with viruses and bacteria, high fever is driving concerned public to the hospitals. Although, the fever could be a symptom of anything — mild seasonal flu, gastrointestinal infection — people are more worried about contracting the swine flu or dengue.
“High fever that develops suddenly is a cause for concern, but only one in 10 cases is dengue. The majority have seasonal infections such as the common flu, gastroenteritis, jaundice or typhoid,” said Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, director, institute of internal medicine, Max Hospitals.
“While fever, fatigue and body ache is usually common for dengue, swine flu and common flu — as they all are viral diseases — one should wait for a day or two for other distinguishing symptoms to develop,” said Dr Krishan Chugh, head of paediatrics department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Viral infections such as swine flu and common flu typically affect the upper-respiratory tract of an infected person.
It results in symptoms such as a cough, running or blocked nose and sore throat, among others, along with high fever.
What distinguishes dengue is moderate to high temperature — over 100 — accompanied with severe head, body and joint ache, pain behind eyes, loss of appetite and nausea.
There are no accompanying symptoms of cough and cold.
“In severe cases (of dengue), tiny red rashes appear on the arms and other body parts after the fever settles down and the person may experience severe nausea and vomiting,” said Dr K.K. Agarwal, chief physician at Moolchand Hospital.
H1N1, on the other hand, is the most difficult one to distinguish, as its symptoms are no different from common flu.
“Get tested for H1N1 if you develop fever after being in contact with someone with H1N1 or develop fever and cough that doesn’t go down for three days,” Dr Agarwal advised.
“Dengue, H1N1 and common flu are all self-limiting diseases, and we only provide symptomatic treatment to those who require it” said Dr Vivek Nangia, head of department of pulmonary and infectious diseases at Fortis Hospital in Vasant Kunj.
“Self-medication should be completely avoided, especially nimuselide and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medicines make the platelet count fall further, increasing the patient’s risk of serious illness and hospitalisation,” he added.