Symptoms like Covid? It may just be normal seasonal viruses, say Kolkata doctors – Times of India

Kolkata News
KOLKATA: Mild but persistent fever, cough and bodyache — thousands of Kolkatans are exhibiting symptoms very similar to Covid’s, causing a scare and making them rush to doctors. But the vast majority needn’t panic: they are suffering from other viral attacks, consistent with change-of-season infections, not Covid.
And while doctors’ opinion is divided over whether one should rush to get tested, early testing may be the most prudent thing to do, especially if one has co-morbidities.

Even if it is Covid, mild infections would be the norm from now on, felt Raja Dhar, director of pulmonology, CMRI Hospital. “It would be like ordinary influenza, which can be treated without Covid medicines, unless the symptoms are severe, which would be rare now. So, we have been testing patients for viruses other than Covid, and have found many 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.
Arindam Biswas, an internal medicine consultant, agreed, but felt that a Covid test should be done, since a post-Puja spurt in transmission was apprehended. “A bout of fever and cold is more likely to be a seasonal virus now, but a Covid test is still recommended. This will help identify the patient and ensure that he or she stays in isolation. Else, we will see a sharp rise in numbers very soon,” Biswas said.
Covid medicines, he added, were not necessary unless the patient suffered a drop in oxygen saturation. “Those without a co-morbidity should not be alarmed about mild symptoms. Treatment will now be symptomatic. But in case you have exposed yourself to the Puja crowd, get tested if you have fever and cold,” he suggested.
Paracetamol, vitamins and fluids should suffice for those with mild symptoms, said Dhar. “Isolation is necessary unless you have tested negative, since an infected person may pass on the virus to someone with co-morbidities, for whom Covid could turn fatal,” he felt.
There has been a sharp spurt in influenza cases due to temperature fluctuations triggered by intermittent rainy and sunny periods over the past week, said Sauren Panja, intensivist, RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences. “Influenza, para-influenza and adenovirus are active now due to the seasonal change. Symptoms are innocuous: mild fever, cough and bodyache, but since they overlap with that of Covid, patients are often rushing to doctors and hospitals. In most cases, RT-PCR tests are ruling out Covid,” Panja said.
He added that Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), too have been striking children. It causes infection in the lungs and respiratory distress, which is leading to a Covid scare. “Parents are often bringing their children to hospitals, fearing Covid. Ever since Covid cases started sliding, RSV has been frequently detected. Their initial symptoms are similar and you can’t be sure till you get tested for Covid,” said paediatrician Santanu Ray.