Symptoms like Covid? They may be normal seasonal viruses, say doctors in Kolkata | Calcutta News

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KOLKATA: Mild but persistent fever, cough and body aches – thousands of Kolkatans have symptoms very similar to Covid, causing fear and forcing them to rush to doctors. But the vast majority don’t need to panic: they suffer from other viral attacks, compatible with season-change infections, not Covid.
And while doctors’ opinions are divided on whether to rush to get tested, testing early may be the safest thing to do, especially if one has co-morbidities.

Even if it is Covid, mild infections would now be the norm, estimated Raja Dhar, director of pulmonology, CMRI hospital. “It would be like a regular flu, which can be treated without Covid drugs, unless the symptoms are severe, which would be rare now. Thus, we tested patients for viruses other than Covid, and found many patients suffering from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A and rhinovirus. These are the normal seasonal viruses, ”he explained, adding that these would now be more common than Covid.
Internal medicine consultant Arindam Biswas agreed, but felt that a Covid test should be performed as a post-Puja transmission surge was apprehended. “A bout of fever and cold is more likely to be a seasonal virus now, but a Covid test is always recommended. This will help identify the patient and ensure they remain isolated. Otherwise, we will see a sharp increase in numbers very soon, ”Biswas said.
Covid drugs, he added, were not needed unless the patient experienced a drop in oxygen saturation. “Those without comorbidities shouldn’t worry about mild symptoms. Treatment will now be symptomatic. But in case you expose yourself to the Puja crowd, get tested if you have a fever and a cold, ”he suggested.
Paracetamol, vitamins and fluids should be sufficient for people with mild symptoms, Dhar said. “Isolation is necessary unless you have tested negative, because an infected person can transmit the virus to someone with co-morbidities, for whom Covid could become fatal,” he said.
There has been a sharp increase in influenza cases due to temperature fluctuations triggered by intermittent rainy and sunny spells over the past week, said Sauren Panja, intensivist, RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences. “The flu, para-influenza and adenovirus are now active due to the change of seasons. The symptoms are mild: mild fever, cough and body aches, but since they overlap that of Covid, patients often rush to doctors and hospitals. In most cases, RT-PCR tests rule out Covid, ”said Panja.
He added that the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) had also struck the children. It causes lung infection and respiratory distress, which leads to a Covid alert. “Parents often bring their children to hospitals, fearing Covid. Since Covid cases began to slide, RSV has been frequently detected. Their initial symptoms are similar and you can’t be sure until you’ve been tested for Covid, ”said pediatrician Santanu Ray.


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