Image Credit: AP

High fever is a major worry these days. Is it COVID-19? It’s the first question that springs to mind. It happened to me as well when I went through a spell of 10-day fever.

In fact, I wrote a blog about my experience. Several people messaged me, and some even called me. Most of them thought I had contracted COVID-19, although I had clearly said that I had tested negative. Well, it could have been a “false negative”. That’s something I haven’t ruled out.

If COVID-19 is merely a long spell of fever, I wouldn’t mind. But the list of symptoms, they say include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, diarrhoea, body pain, fatigue, and worst of all, breathlessness. Mind you, you need not have all of this.

Breathless? Call the ambulance

Breathlessness is what you should worry about. Because, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. “If you are short of breath, call an ambulance and come straight to the emergency department,” a doctor told me.

My advice — if you are running a high fever, you must test yourself for coronavirus. It will most likely be negative if you don’t have any other symptoms. And that will put your mind at ease, and you can focus on recovery.

Even if the result is positive, there’s nothing to worry. The Dubai Healthy Authority and the Ministry of Health and Prevention will guide you through the formalities. If there are no symptoms or only mild symptoms, they will most likely ask you to quarantine at home. And give you guidance on self-isolation.

more from the blog

The majority (80-90%) of COVID-19 cases feel like viral fever or mild flu; it could be asymptomatic too. A small percentage of people could become critically ill and require hospitalisation. It can be fatal only for a fraction of the population who have weak immune systems (mostly caused by heart ailments, chemotherapy, diabetes, etc.). People over 65 years of age too are at high risk.

A positive test is no cause for alarm. But if you do fall within the high risk groups then of course you will require hospitalisation and expert care.

Some friends, who read my blog, sought my advice saying they too had a high fever. My first response was: Please test yourself for coronavirus.

I think testing is essential. If you are positive, you are at risk of spreading it to others. That would be horrific. Because if the person who contracts from you has a compromised immune system, that could be fatal.

So you isolate yourself and take measures to prevent passing the virus to your family members, and others in your neighbourhood. It will also persuade you to take adequate rest. Make sure you hydrate yourself well. And follow the medical advice of a qualified professional.

Testing is easy

I would strongly advise you to test again before you return to work. Especially if your exposure is high. Because if you are a virus carrier, the whole office would have to be quarantined. You really wouldn’t want that to happen.

Testing in not painful. It feels more like an irritation, which is why you see scrunched up faces in pictures and videos. Even if you slide a feather up your nose, you get the same expression. Pain should be least of your worries.

A negative test will set you free. You can recover and continue with your life. Go for a jog in the park, shop for groceries, grab a meal at a restaurant and do anything that’s permitted in your emirate.

Testing facilities are readily available in the UAE. The DHA and Ministry facilities do the test for free, but be prepared to wait in queues even if you have an appointment.

You can also walk into the Emergency Department of private hospitals for a COVID-19 test if you are prepared to pay. Most insurance companies cover it, but you do have to fork out the co-insurance money.

Some hospitals insist on appointments. I saw screening tents in at least one hospital. So testing is a lot easier than in the initial days. More so because test kits are available.

When you can test, why skip it.