Expert warns against use of antibiotics to treat viral fever
Dimapur, Oct. 23 (EMN): Even as viral fever and respiratory tract infection among children are increasing amid weather change, leaving many parents worried, Dr. Apong Longchar, a paediatrician at Nikos Hospital and Research Centre Dimapur, has warned against use of antibiotics to treat such infections.
Speaking to Eastern Mirror, the doctor said that antibiotics are not meant to treat viral fever or flu and its misuse can cause health implications in future.
“There are lots of patients who start taking medicine, including antibiotics, at home without consulting doctors. One should understand that the outbreak of viral fever that is affecting the children now is viral infection and antibiotic is used against bacteria, so the antibiotic does not work against virus,” he said.
“So, one should not start antibiotics without the consultation of the doctors and the random use of antibiotics will cause antibiotic resistance in near future,” he added.
Severity of viral fever this year
The doctor said that it is common for children and adults as well to catch viral fever when season changes but the number of cases is increasing and more severe this year.
The reason for this, he said, could be because children have been staying indoors for almost a year and not exposed to infection; so their immune system could have waned a bit.
“Previously, usually children’s health would be down for a maximum period of five to six days, but now, we see children down with the viral fever for a period of five to 10 days. It is a common cold and viral flu and this is caused by a virus and there are about 200 plus viruses which can cause such viral flu-like signs and symptoms. The common virus is called rhinovirus, which causes common cold and the flu, is caused by influenza virus,” he informed.
The main concern for people with viral fever is similar symptoms with coronavirus, like fever, cold, cough, headache, body ache, weakness and lethargy, and loss of appetite, he said.
‘Some children may recover soon and some may take time. which can be quiet confusing as the symptom is similar to corona virus. It is also clinically hard to differentiate but the good thing about viral fever in children is that it improves without much complication by four to five days. Covid and flu can be confirmed by testing but no test is required for common cold,’ said the paediatrician.
Prevention and treatment
As viral fever spreads through airborne transmission, the doctor said that one should wear mask, follow hand hygiene and avoid crowds to prevent from getting infected.
‘The viral fever is self-limiting and a child gets better by five to six days but there is no specific antiviral medicine to stop the virus. A child should be hydrated by giving plenty of fluids to maintain hydration,’ he advised.
‘Paracetamol in right dose can control the fever but if it continues, do consult a doctor before using other medicines. Proper rest and comfort should be provided to the child and can use saline nasal drops for nasal congestion,’ he added.
‘Look for danger signs like difficulty in breathing, grunting, nasal flaring, chest restrictions, fast breathing and excessive lethargy and weakness, altered sense or seizure and oxygen saturation below 95%. Influenza virus and coronavirus are different and flu vaccine does not directly prevent Covid-19. One can consult a paediatrician to take flu vaccine which can be good enough for recovery,’ he continued.
What food to take
Dr. Longchar dismissed the myth that taking non-veg aggravates fever. He said that when a child is going through loss of appetite, one should not restrict them of any normal food including fruits, as it contains antioxidant which boosts the immune system.
‘Giving meat, fish and egg does not make the fever worst, so children should be fed with what they want and chicken soup is good for flu,’ he said, adding that there is no need to panic even if a child eats less for two-three days.