Flu clinics in private hospitals, that were empty for the past couple of months, are seeing a spike in patients with typical Covid symptoms. Doctors say if the fever persists for more than three days and is accompanied by body pain, people must get a Covid test done. They say it is important to consult a doctor rather than resort to self-medication.
Dr Ramana Rao, a physician, said there has been a 10% rise in fever cases. “This is over the past week. These are not Covid cases, but it’s a warning to be additionally careful. Two out of 30 fever cases I saw tested positive for Covid,” Dr Rao said.
Some doctors say it could be a sign of a second Covid-19 wave. Dr Rao said the scenario was similar in February 2020. “Since most healthcare workers have been vaccinated, hospitals should be able to manage a second wave better,” he said.
Vikram Hospital has reopened its flu clinic which was shut for the past month. “We see 10-12 cases of fever, cold and cough daily,” said Dr Pramod V Satya, consultant, internal medicine, Vikram Hospital. “A change in weather can lead to allergies presenting with cough, cold, but fever suggests an infection. These are typical influenzalike-illnesses (ILI), but the time of taking the Covid test also matters.”
Dr Satya said Covid presents on the 5th or 6th day of infection. “We have seen 10 cases with fever but were Covid negative. In many cases, RT-PCR test is repeated after 48 hours. It was a similar trend last year and this could be the beginning of a second wave.”
He said the severity of Covid-19 infections may have decreased. “Those with symptoms must self-quarantine to prevent spread of the virus,” Dr Satya said.
Dr Ravindra Mehta, chief of pulmonology, Apollo hospitals, concurred. “They look like viral infections, but we’ve never done tests for all viral infections so it’s impossible to say,” he said.
Dr Carolin Elizabeth George, head, community health and research division, Bangalore Baptist hospital said there is a significant rise in both allergic and influenza cases, but not Covid. “However, we should be vigilant,” said Dr George.
The trend is apparent at Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital too. Dr CN Reddy, associate professor, paediatrics, Bowring hospital, said: “There is an increase in patients with cold and cough over the past week. All such cases have been referred to Victoria hospital for Covid-19 testing as well.”