Viral Fever, Dengue, COVID, Flu and More, Same Symptoms Making Diagnosis Difficult

The same symptoms of different problems are affecting diagnosis and treatment. Read a doctor’s point of view here.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Sep 10, 2022Updated at: Sep 12, 2022
Viral Fever, Dengue, COVID, Flu and More, Same Symptoms Making Diagnosis Difficult

This is the season of illnesses. Numerous health concerns are lingering upon us with the nearly same set of symptoms. If you have a fever, there are possibilities like viral fever, dengue fever, malaria, chikungunya, influenza, covid, to be the major ones. With so many issues, it has become difficult for doctors also to diagnose the right problem at the right time. Needless to say, a delay in diagnosis and treatment can be detrimental to a patient’s life. In order to understand the risks and challenges, we reached out to Dr. Ranga Santhosh Kumar, Consultant General Physician & Diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad. Read the article for all the details.

As the seasons change, we begin to see a different set of health issues. For example, during the summers, covid was at its peak and as we approached monsoons, viral fever and flu took over. Now, mosquito-borne illnesses including dengue, and malaria have also joined the lot making things worse for everyone. Doctors are seeing a massive surge in cases of fever but all of them have different causes. 

As per Dr. Kumar, “common fevers presenting now are viral fevers, dengue, covid, swine flu, malaria, gastroenteritis. Most common symptoms include fever arthralgias, myalgias, cough, cold, rash, loose stools, vomiting, headache.”

Same Symptoms of different problems

Here are the characteristics of different illnesses to distinguish them from each other:

  • Characteristic features of dengue fever include fever low backache, myalgias, arthralgias, and rash.
  • Characteristic features of covid- fever, dry cough, cold, and myalgias.
  • Characteristic features of typhoid-fever loose stools, pain abdomen.
  • Characteristic features of malaria -high-grade fever with chills.
  • Characteristic features of swine flu- fever cough cold headache breathing difficulties 
  • Many viral infections present with fever and loose stools.

Many patients present with varied symptoms, depending on the immune status of an individual, their comorbid conditions and also dual infections commonly noticed like covid with dengue, swine flu and covid coexistence. 

These features are helpful in understanding what could be the actual problem causing fever and other issues. Based on the symptoms, the doctor conduct tests to diagnose the actual problem. In a few cases, people are also found to have multiple issues. At present, influenza or flu and dengue fever are most prevalent than others. While covid is still there, the infection is slower thanks to vaccination and herd immunity, people have built. 

Same Symptoms of different problems

Secondly, covid and swine flu have the nearly same set of symptoms and both of them are life-threatening. Dengue can also get critical if the patient develops severe symptoms due to not receiving timely treatment. 

Doctors correlate clinical symptoms with investigation results and make a diagnosis. They may prescribe multiple tests when the symptoms are not enough to form a judgment. Multiple testing is a great way to check for all the possible issues related to the same symptom. 

Treatment changes from individual to individual based on the clinical condition of the patient, and his day of consulting the physician. So utmost caution and adequate medical attention is required. The time is challenging in terms of medical issues but vigilance and immediate action can avert complications. People should not ignore persistent fever for more than 3 days. Besides, if you are experiencing other symptoms along with fever, consult a doctor immediately.

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