‘Seasonal diseases may lower immunity, raise COVID risk’

Using masks and maintaining physical distance a must, say doctors as cold weather gradually sets in

The parents of a one-year-old baby were a bundle of nerves when their baby had fever recently. They were not willing to listen to the doctor who told them that it was viral fever and it would subside with a few doses of paracetamol. Their concern is understandable, given the pandemic situation.

“The parents were insisting on the COVID-19 test done. I told them that it could pose a greater risk to the baby. I convinced them that paracetamol was enough to cure the baby and the fever subsided,” says Dr. P. Venugopal, Head of the Department of Pediatrics, King George Hospital.

Viral infections are common during this time of the year.

The use of masks and improvement of sanitation has led to a decline in common cough and cold, so far, this year. During the last few days, cases of dengue are on the rise, he says.

“In a rare case, a COVID-19 positive child, who was cured after treatment, developed fever again. We were worried over the relapse. Tests revealed that his platelet count had fallen, and we gave dengue treatment,” Dr. Venugopal said.

‘Immunity is vital’

The immunity of a person goes down, when they suffer from any viral infection. It makes them susceptible to COVID-19, says Dr. B. Ramachandra Rao, an Associate Professor in the Government ENT Hospital.

“It is very important to use masks, maintain physical distance at public places and personal hygiene through proper cleaning of hands with soap frequently,” he says.

Those having asthma and allergic rhinitis should take extra care as these problems aggravate during the winter. Wearing mask will provide protection from the dust and prevent respiratory allergies. The viruses increase the chances of getting an infection, says Dr. Ramachandra Rao.

“The symptoms of seasonal diseases and like cough and cold, flu and COVID-19 are mostly similar. However, in COVID-19 positive patients, the sense of smell and taste changes and they may face difficulty in breathing,” adds Dr. Ramachandra Rao.

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