Weakened immunity causes longer spell of fever: Experts
Prolonged seasonal fever, lasting over five days, is often due to compromised immunity and climate change, with altered dietary habits, says Indian doctors
The prolonged spell of fever in the present season is a result of weakened immunity, misconceptions about fever as an indicator of various diseases, and an irrational approach to treatment which have generated a 'fear of fever' among the public, say Indian doctors.
Healthcare specialists opine that while fever should not be ignored, it should also not be dreaded.
Professor N.S. Verma, the head of physiology at King George’s Medical University (KGMU), said, “A decade ago, recovering from a fever used to take just hours or a day, but not anymore. Even a simple fever now lingers for over five days and this is largely attributed to compromised immunity and increased susceptibility to viral infections. The primary culprits appear to be climate change and alterations in dietary habits.”
P.K. Gupta, former president of the Indian Medical Association in Lucknow, added, “Climate change has bolstered the survival of mosquitoes, making them resilient and active in every season, causing more human infections. Furthermore, virus mutations have made fevers more cunning, leading to a decrease in platelet counts.”
Doctors have also pointed out that people take medications with anti-platelet effects, causing their platelet counts to remain low. When fever strikes, these counts decrease even further, lowering resistance levels.
Consequently, fevers take longer to subside, and post-fever recovery becomes a protracted process.
Vinod Jain, former dean of paramedical at KGMU, explained the surge in hospital visits during fever outbreaks and said, “The extended queues at hospitals and pathology labs for fever cases can be attributed to increased awareness and improved diagnostic capabilities, which can identify underlying ailments that were previously undetectable.”
Abhishek Shukla, the secretary-general of the Association of International Doctors, emphasised the importance of a measured approach to fever diagnosis: “Fever is an indication that something might be wrong in the body, but deciphering the underlying issue should be left to the experts. Individuals armed with internet knowledge often opt for multiple tests without understanding their necessity.”
Experts advise that initially dealing with fever should involve simple measures like maintaining hydration with ORS.