Fever is one of the most common symptoms found in majority of infections, whether bacterial or viral. While most fevers are self limiting and do not last more than 4-5 days, certain types of fevers like Dengue, malaria, typhoid etc can be grave and even life threatening if ignored. So how do we know what’s our fever type?
The primary criterion is the duration. Common flu rarely lasts over a week. So any fever persisting over 5 days should raise suspicion.
Most of us don’t pay attention to low grade fevers and may even indiscriminately take crocin, PCM, etc not realizing the seriousness of the condition. On the contrary, persistent low grade fever is a common feature of Dengue, Malaria, Typhoid and meningitis. All these diseases are curable but lack of awareness often results in serious complications and hospitalization.
Most of these conditions present with flu-like symptoms like low grade fever, weakness, loss of appetite and nausea, making people neglect it in the early stages. However, every fever has something unique and knowing their indications help seek timely medical attention.
Malarial fevers follow a peculiar periodicity in its pattern. Fevers coming and going at a specific time everyday or every second day suggests immediate medical attention and blood tests for detection of malarial antigen or malarial parasites in blood.
Dengue and chikunguniya have excruciating pain in joints with/without swelling along with bleeding gums and rashes on the skin.
Typhoid fevers on the other hand have marked vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Specific blood tests can be used to confirm diagnosis, like WIDAL (typhoid), Dengue NS1 antigen test, etc. Additional tests like platelet count indicates the severity of illness.
All these fevers can be treated with routine medication and adequate rest provided diagnosed early. Hence any of the above red flags should be taken seriously and brought to the notice of a doctor. Timely intervention minimizes risks and significantly lowers chances of hospitalization.