Hyderabad: With the onset of monsoon, fever cases have increased in both children and adults. Most of these fevers are viral in nature, which usually takes around three to five days to recover.

When Mrs S whole family was down with fever, her daughter had a very high-grade fever for 10days. But when tests revealed no other specific disease like dengue, malaria, COVID-19, she grew anxious to know the reason for such prolonged fever. Close monitoring and treatment for viral fever for 10 days decreased her fevers.

This time around the recovery time for seasonal fevers has increased atleast by three to five days. Recovery too is becoming slow, most of them becoming dehydrated, needing hospital admissions and some requiring ICU care too. This has been the same with dengue fevers too. The reasons for this, at this point in time, are only speculative. But it may be due to different strains of influenza (flu virus changes its nature every year) and dengue.

It is also possible that there is an increased mosquito density that needs to be looked upon by the authorities. The role of suppressed immunity after prolonged periods of home isolation during lockdowns may have also contributed to prolonged viral bouts and more importantly causing a slower recovery.

Common symptoms and warning signs

Common symptoms of viral fever include high-grade fever, the feeling of weakness, cold and cough, sore throat and body aches. The dengue fever symptoms are high-grade fever, severe body aches, headache behind the eyes, rashes over the body, and joint pains.

The warning signs for prolonged fevers include persistent high-grade fevers, dehydration, vomiting, abdominal pains, severe weakness (not able to carry out daily activities), difficulty in breathing, bleeding from gums and so on.

With more families getting affected with prolonged viral fevers, not knowing the reason (when all the routine tests for dengue, COVID, malaria and so on turn negative) is making them run from one hospital to another without success.

It is thus important to understand that the diagnosis of viral fevers (other than the ones we normally test) is difficult as there are hundreds of viruses and sometimes testing time takes longer than five days. We hence don't pursue every virus isolation. What is most needed at a time when there is a rapid rise in fever cases leading to more hospital admissions is to identify warning signs and seek help early.

Dr Mahishma K

The author is a consultant paediatrician and an assistant professor of paediatrics.

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