KOCHI: The mango showers, or pre-monsoon rains, that are in full spate in the state have presented a fresh dilemma to health experts. Medics are in a quandary to identify potential Covid cases from the steady stream of patients arriving at hospitals with symptoms exhibited by patients suffering from a slew of ailments ranging from common cold to dengue and coronavirus infection.
In an effort to systematically identify and segregate suspected Covid cases, major private hospitals in the city have implemented a new treatment protocol. “Fever cases are likely to go up by the end of this month and we have to be prepared. Since the symptoms for both Covid-19 and dengue in the initial stage are similar, we need to be doubly careful. Patients must be carefully screened for signs of breathlessness or breathing difficulty since these two symptoms will be visible in the case of coronavirus infection. Though dengue also show symptoms of fever, sore throat and cough, patients may not necessarily feel breathing difficulty,” said Dr Joseph K, Internal Medicine and Diabetology Department at Lakeshore Hospital.
Dengue virus decreases the platelet count in the patient’s blood. “A comprehensive blood test can correctly identify the disease. Considering the Covid-19 threat, the geographical area from which a patient arrives as well as the patient’s travel history should be given due importance, as these can help in assessing chances of a coronavirus infection,” said Dr Joseph.
Many private hospitals have also set up separate guidelines for treating Covid and non-Covid patients. “Elective surgeries are undertaken only after the swab test results turn negative. We get these RT-PCR tests done from ICMR-accredited labs. As far as new patients are concerned, we maintain a strict vigil. The travel history of every patient is being closely scrutinised. Those arriving from Covid-19 containment zones or having a history of foreign travel will be required to undergo swab tests,” said Dr Sanil Kumar, a urologist at Lisie Hospital.
“The swab test is mandatory for all elective surgeries. We have set up a separate fever clinic. For emergency surgeries, we have set up an Emergency Operation Theatre,” said Dr Tinku Joseph, pulmonologist at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.