DON’T LOOK FOR A FEVER
Swine flu has claimed the most lives in Maharashtra, which accounts for 532 of India’s 1,586 H1N1 deaths. Experts blame the high number of deaths on delayed diagnosis and resultant complications. Atypical symptoms are a major cause for delays in diagnosis.
“Temperature is no longer a key indicator; sudden breathlessness is often the clue to H1N1,” says Dr Neeraj Tulara, consultant in internal medicine and infectious disease at Mumbai’s Hiranandani hospital.
Among his patients was 61-year-old homemaker Padma Jain, who developed a fever of 99 degrees Celsius followed by an upset stomach and vomiting. Her fever persisted for several days, but temperature didn’t go up, which led to the family delay going to a physician for several days.
By the time she reached hospital, her condition had deteriorated and she needed to be hospitalised for 20 days, 11 of which she spent in the ICU.