An antibiotic is the first drug a person reaches out for to deal with that viral fever. We check with doctors if it’s really needed or should the fever just be allowed to run its course
There just has to be a change in weather and out come the sniffles, runny nose, fever and body pains. Commonly diagnosed as viral fever, doctors report a rise in the cases with the change in weather — especially now that the rains have begun in all earnest. In fact, according to most experts of the total fever cases they see, 20 to 30 per cent are due to virus infections in the last week or so.
“Any fever caused by virus is classified as viral fever. Symptoms normally include, body pains, runny nose, cough, diarrhoea, nausea etc. However, it is usually confirmed after conducting a blood test 48 hours after the fever has started. Viral fever is typically contagious, specially by droplet transmission or by contact too,” says Dr Pramati Reddy, consultant physician at Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills.
The most common viral fever is the seasonal flu that people suffer from with changes in weather. Children are more susceptible to viral fever, although adults can also suffer from it. Children younger than the age of two are most at risk of developing complications from viral fever. Complications can include pneumonia which can be very serious. Hence it is important to treat it at the earliest.
The virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by physical contact through hands infected with the virus for example.So covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough and washing your hands is advised.
When viral infections are very common, such as during seasonal changes, they can be carried through air ventilation systems.
Viral fever usually has an incubation period before it manifests itself. While viral fever usually runs its course, what most people commonly do is pop antibiotics.
“An antibiotic has nothing to do with curing a viral fever. All a person needs it for is to curb bacterial infections. We often have patients who walk in after a few days of the fever saying they’ve been self-medicating with antibiotics. We usually prescribe an antiviral medication like Tamiflu to reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms. So there is no need for any antibiotics in viral fever,” says Dr Pramati.
So the next time you have a viral fever, avoid self-medicating and popping unnecessary antibiotics.