Fever is a harbinger of an internal malady which can vary from a mild maladjustment of the system to a severe catastrophic infection. In this century, there has been an increasing tendency to manage all the fevers with some antibiotics and paracetomol. This type of practice did have some benefits early in the century as we did not have avenues to assess the cause and, high mortality was easily accepted with severe fevers. Are we justified in following the same in this era of transplants and molecular genetics?
Infections are the commonest cause of fevers. The pathogens- bacteria, viruses etc follow a pattern which enables us to diagnose the problem and initiate targeted treatment. Most of the infections have a seasonal preference though some are seen throughout the year. For instance, the typhoid fever, which was traditionally seen in the spring- summer season, is now seen throughout the year. We are now in the rainy season and are vulnerable to certain pathogens.
The commonest presentation in rainy season is fever without any other problem. We call this a�? Undifferentiated fevera�? in medical terminology. This can be caused by malaria, dengue, chikungunya, leptospirosis, typhoid, typhus fevers etc. Most of them are borne from one person to another by means of an intermediary. Mosquito is the commonest interface host.
Mosquitoes grow in stagnated water- rain water, overhead tanks, ac drain collection, open sewage, water around foliage, local reservoirs etc. They breed in them and then spread the infection during a blood meal. Contrary to the popular concept, the huge mosquitoes with painful bites and itches are usually the irritant mosquitoes. Most of them dona��t carry malaria or dengue in them. It is usually the harmless appearing ones which are the most dangerous. Avoid water stagnation in any form in your vicinity. Seal your windows and doors with mosquito nets. Sleep under mosquito nets. Wear full sleeve and ankle length clothes and cover the exposed areas with mosquito repellants. Protect yourself from mosquito bites to prevent these obnoxious fevers.
The next major interface host is the mite. Mites are miniscule beings living in the shrubs. In the post-rainy season, when we sit near greenery or dry our clothes near them, mites just crawl under our clothes and bite. Since it is a painless bite, we seldom notice it. 10- 14 days later the exposed develops high grade fever and often land in the ICU. This disease is called typhus fever and has got a high mortality. Avoid drying clothes over vegetation and sitting next to shrubbery.
Water hygiene is always important. Typhoid, Cholera, Diarrhoeal diseases, Hepatitis, certain viral fevers etc are all water borne. Make sure you filter your water properly or roll boil for 3 minutes. Wash your vegetables and fruits. Wash your hands with soap and water after ablution. Safe water saves lot of trouble.
Another major problem in this season is the fever with coughs and colds. This can vary from a minor viral illness with just a cold to a bad influenza with severe pneumonia requiring hospitalization. In tropical countries these bugs spread by close contact, touching to be specific. Exposed clothes, especially kerchiefs and bed linen ensure that the entire family is affected. This can be prevented just by keeping a distance from the affected.
I have just signaled the initial magma of an erupting volcano. We have had enough epidemics to realize the danger in this congested country. Hence, limit the exposure and prevent the infection. Prevention is always better than cure