Virus alert, which one is it?

CHENNAI: About a month ago, it looked like COVID-19 would make its way out, albeit reluctantly, as the virus changed its mind and moved on. Around the same time, dengue took over and clung like a bloodsucker, pun intended. As if there were a lack of health complications in the state. The AH1N1 flu (flu) paid a visit and decided to stay, like a family member we don’t like but have to deal with. Inappropriate jokes notwithstanding, keeping up with viruses and their myriad problems has become a challenge for even the best multitasker. Here are the differences in the symptoms, treatment process, management, nutritional requirements, and general effects these viruses have on the body in COVID-19, AH1N1 flu, or influenza and dengue.

The similarity in symptoms between COVID-19, influenza and dengue contributes to people’s confusion as it delays treatment and causes deaths, particularly among those in the high-risk category. Here is a cheat sheet from Shweta Tripathi



High-grade fever, cold, and cough for about 2–3 days Fever resolves in 2–3 days in most cases with treatment Body aches, dry cough, and fatigue are likely even after fever has resolved Children, elderly, people with comorbidities, Immune patients -suppressants and those with compromised immune systems need to be especially careful

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for about 3-5 days Many have loss of smell and taste Long COVID-19 – breathing difficulties, fatigue and brain fog – common in patients in the high-risk category shortness of breath and chest pain in the elderly, people with comorbidities and also with immune-compromised conditions


Fever, usually accompanied by chills, nausea, vomiting. Bone and joint pain if the fever persists for more than 3-5 days. A drop below 50,000 platelets requires immediate medical attention.


Minutes of the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Flu: The reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test is performed on nasopharyngeal or nasal swabs at several labs in the state

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Dengue: Blood test to detect viral antigens by ELISA

COVID-19: RT-PCR test via mouth or nose



No test required for influenza Oseltamivir is not required, but should be monitored with analgesics and antiviral drugs for 24-48 hours. Isolation recommended at home


High-grade fever of 102 Fahrenheit or greater People over age 65, pregnant women, babies, and children under age 5, patients with comorbidities do not need testing Must have oseltamivir with other treatments Home isolation recommended


Shortness of breath, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), altered mental status, seizures, decreased urination, worsening of symptoms, comorbidities Needs to be tested for influenza Needs to be hospitalized



Consume plenty of fluids, fruit, delicate coconut water and homemade fruit juices. Buying fruit juices from stores and consuming cold foods should be avoided. Slightly tasty foods are preferred. Avoid dining outside


Easily digestible food and plenty of fluids, including fresh juices, coconut water, and ORS. Eating foods with vitamin C promotes defenses for faster healing and recovery. Green leafy vegetables, cod liver oil, beetroot juice, papaya and pomegranate juice, or black grape juice are recommended to increase platelet count

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Eat a moderate diet of immune-boosting foods and foods that help build muscle


Flu: Children 6 months to 8 years need 2 doses during flu season. For everyone else 1 dose per season Dengue: First and only approved vaccine developed by French company Sanofi Pasteur and available in India – Dengvaxia

COVID-19: The first, second and precautionary booster of Covaxin and Covishield vaccines to be taken. Corbevax is intended for children aged 12 to 14 years. Sputnik V, Moderna vaccines, Johnson & Johnson vaccine and ZyCoV-D are also available in India. Whole grains and a high-protein diet along with healthy fats like dried fruit and products rich in vitamins C and D.

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