For more than a year and a half, COVID-19 has dominated the news and been the chief topic of conversation. After the destruction it wreaked during the second wave, it is not surprising that people start panicking the moment their body temperature exceeds the normal. Fever is one of the primary symptoms of COVID-19. Doctors have been telling us to get an RT-PCR test done if we experience fever and other signs of COVID-19.
While it is always better to be safe than sorry and get tested for COVID-19, you need to know that having a fever does not always mean that you have contracted a COVID infection. It could just be a seasonal fever. But fever is also a common symptom associated with many other infections and diseases. You need to be wary of them as well.
Monsoon is that time of the year when multiple diseases strike India. Some of these diseases are harmless while others have the potential to become deadly. Many of the symptoms of these diseases are rather similar to COVID-19. You need to be able to differentiate them so that you can take the right action at the right time.
Let us look at monsoon diseases more closely.
Types of monsoon diseases
In India, there are 3 types of monsoon illnesses:
- Vector-borne diseases such as malaria, chikungunya or dengue.
- Water-borne illnesses like typhoid or cholera.
- Virus-borne diseases like the flu or the common cold.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tell the diseases apart from the symptoms they trigger. Here is how they are similar:
- Other than common cold fever and flu fever, these two diseases also cause breathing trouble, coughing, fever, headache and even loss of taste as both are respiratory illnesses just like COVID-19.
- Dengue, malaria and chikungunya also cause high fever, body aches and exhaustion.
- Typhoid and cholera, just like COVID-19, are associated with fever, fatigue and headache.
How will you know which disease you are down with?
Wondering about the differences between the monsoon diseases and COVID-19? Viral fever vs corona or common cold vs COVID or malaria vs COVID, how can they be differentiated? By understanding the symptoms you are experiencing:
- Flu and cold symptoms vs COVID – Though the flu and common cold are almost identical with COVID 19, their symptoms come suddenly as opposed to COVID-19. They do not cause a fall in blood oxygen saturation. You will possibly experience a wet cough (COVID-19 causes dry cough).
- Cholera, typhoid and corona differences – Typhoid and cholera are accompanied by stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, symptoms that are usually not triggered by COVID-19.
- Malaria, dengue and chikungunya result in severe joint and muscle pain and nausea. They are however not associated with cough, sore throat or loss of taste.
How can you be sure about which disease you have contracted?
The best way to know which illness you are down with is to consult a doctor the moment your symptoms show up. Doctors are more adept at understanding your symptoms and linking them to the diseases that might be causing them. For diagnosis, doctors recommend tests. For example, usually, the MAC-ELISA blood test is recommended for detecting dengue, the Widal test for typhoid and the Culture Method is prescribed for cholera.
It is imperative that you do not waste time once you start experiencing symptoms. Diseases like dengue, typhoid or cholera can be fatal if you are not given the right medication as soon as possible.
How to keep yourself safe from monsoon illnesses?
Prevention is always more preferable to cure. There are a few simple ways you can keep yourself safe from monsoon illnesses:
- Safety measures you adopt to prevent COVID-19 will also protect you from the flu or common cold. So remember to wear masks, sanitize your hands and disinfect anything you bring inside the house.
- Malaria, dengue and chikungunya are spread through mosquito bites. You must rigorously use mosquito repellents and mosquito nets. Make sure water does not stagnate near your home.
- Typhoid and cholera are communicated through contaminated water and food. Make sure you buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid eating out during the monsoon. Rinse your utensils with clean water and sanitize/wash your hands before food consumption. Drink boiled/purified water.
- Keep your house clean and well-ventilated
If you or your loved ones are ill, seek medical help immediately, even if you think the symptoms are minor. With proper medication, nutrition and care, it is possible to bring monsoon illnesses and COVID-19 in control but only if the diagnosis happens at the right time.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.