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How to spot the difference between dengue fever and Covid-19

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Guidance on telling the difference between dengue fever and Covid-19 was offered by the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health on Monday.

Dengue fever symptoms include high fever for two to seven days, a skin rash, red face, headache, aches and pains, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and stomach ache. Other less common signs of the mosquito-borne disease are black stools or blood in the stools, or red spots under the skin. Any difficulty in breathing or pneumonia is not usually accompanied by coughing or runny nose.

Covid-19 symptoms include low or high fever, aches and pains, sore throat, dry cough or phlegm, runny nose, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pneumonia in severe cases, vomiting, and diarrhoea in some cases – but no red spots under the skin.

Somsak Akksilp, director-general of the Department of Health, warned that hot weather, storms and standing water were now offering a breeding ground for dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

The resulting rise in dengue infections has coincided with a surge in daily Covid-19 cases, making it difficult to tell the difference between the two diseases and provide appropriate care – especially for young children at danger of severe symptoms.

Moreover, children under five have not received Covid-19 vaccine.

Health officials have urged parents of children with symptoms who test negative via ATKs to beware of dengue fever.

Institute director Adisai Pattatang explained dengue fever is caused by four virus variants – DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4 – and carried by yellow fever mosquitoes.

Covid-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 which via droplets or aerosol vapour coming into contact with the eye, nose or mouth.

Both diseases can share the same symptoms of fever, vomiting, or diarrhoea, but it was important to identify cases of dengue as these can lead to organ failure and death.

To do this, people can use ATK tests and their history of close contacts to rule out Covid-19 infection and get emergency hospital treatment for dengue.

Patients who suffer symptoms for two to three days but have no cough or runny nose should visit a hospital for a blood test and diagnosis.

Adisai said no antiviral drugs exist for dengue but the fever can be treated with paracetamol – though not with aspirin or ibuprofen. Patients who lose their appetite could drink milk, juices or mineral water.

Meanwhile people with mild Covid-19 can treat themselves at home though severe cases need hospital treatment.


How to spot the difference between dengue fever and Covid-19

Published : March 29, 2022