Next time you run a high temperature, don’t brush it off by popping some pills. Doctors say viral fever is on the rise in the city, and with its symptoms similar to H1N1 infection, the diagnosis of the dangerous ailment has become more difficult.
Patients who ignore a fever run the risk of delaying treatment in case of swine flu, for which early medical attention is crucial.
Patients are complaining of fever that is taking longer to subside with primary medications, said many doctors in Mumbai. Some doctors said they are treating an average of five to eight patients daily, with symptoms including elevated body temperatures and body ache. Last week, Mumbai reported 1,911 cases of fever.
“It is difficult to distinguish between H1N1 infection and viral fever. The virus in circulation at the moment is causing very high fever, which takes longer to treat,” said Dr S Shenoy, who runs a day care clinic in Goregaon. Shenoy said 80% of the patients consulting him complained of fever. He treats around 80 to 100 patients every day. One case, he said, was that of a woman whose fever did not subside even after eight days of treatment. Viral fever normally subsides in three or four days with medical attention.
Experts said people should avoid self –medication as any delay in treatment can aggravate the symptoms further. Take the case of a 20-year-old girl who was admitted to Fortis Hospital, Mulund, with H1N1 infection. “She had fever for more than10 days, but she neglected it. She was rushed to the hospital only when she developed breathlessness,” said Dr Pradeep Shah, physician at the hospital who is treating three patients with H1N1 infection currently.
Shah, however, added that though symptoms of H1N1 infection and viral fever are more or less similar, patients with swine flu have higher problems related to the respiratory system. Last week, Mumbai reported 74 cases of swine-flu.
Doctors said the rise in viral infections and H1N1 has been caused by fluctuation in the temperatures and higher humidity, which is conducive for the growth of viruses.