Recently, there is an outbreak of a new disease in the southern parts of India. This disease is tomato flu. It is expected in children under 5 years and its cases are increasing day by day. But the cause of tomato flu isn’t a tomato. It is caused by viruses.
What is tomato flu and is it related to tomatoes?
The first case of tomato flu in India was reported on 6th May 2022 from Kerala. It is an infectious disease that is spread by the virus Coxsackie A 16 virus. Its name comes from the main symptoms of the disease which is the appearance of blisters throughout several body parts that grow gradually to the size of a tomato. Because of this, it is known as tomato fever or tomato flu. As mentioned earlier it affects mainly children and causes many symptoms including dehydration. This disease is rare in adults because of a healthy immune system that helps adults to fight against viruses.
What are the symptoms of tomato flu?
Symptoms of tomato fever are similar to dengue and chikungunya to some extent. Its incubation period is about 5-7 days. Children suffering from tomato flu may experience the following:
- High-grade fever
- Body pain
- Painful and swollen joints
- Rashes and irritation
- Large red-colored, spherical tomato-like blisters on several body parts
Apart from these, symptoms like nausea and vomiting, running nose or sneezing, frequent coughing, abdominal pain, decoloration, fatigue, and tiredness are also seen.
How can you prevent your children from having tomato flu?
Tomato flu is an infectious disease. For preventing it you can keep these things in mind:
- Maintain the hygiene of your children.
- Educate children not to put a finger or thumb in their mouth or nose.
- Try to maintain social distance from suspected ones.
- Avoid hugging.
Diagnosis of tomato flu
According to health experts, serological and molecular tests are done for the diagnosis of dengue, chikungunya, herpes, etc. After that when tomato flu is confirmed then symptomatic treatment is done.
Uttar Pradesh advisory on tomato flu
The advisory which was shared with all Chief medical officers states that- “ The best thing for prevention is maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation of surroundings. Parents should tell their children not to hug or touch other children having fever and rash symptoms.”
The advisory focused on-
- The maintenance and importance of hygiene.
- Proper sanitation is a must for every individual and patient.
- Parents should teach their underage children to avoid physical contact with other children and objects.
How is tomato flu different from the corona?
- The incubation period of tomato flu is 5-10 days while for the corona is 2-14 days.
- COVID -19 is more contagious than tomato flu.
- It targets children under the age of 5 years. On the other hand, corona infects people of all age groups.
What’s the treatment for tomato flu?
Tomato flu is a self-limiting disease and its exact treatment is still under process and still, and research is being conducted. Doctors are providing symptomatic therapy for this disease.
If someone is suffering from tomato flu then, it is better to seek for doctor’s advice. Do not try to take medicines on your own.
What to do if your child is suffering from tomato flu?
If there are symptoms of the disease, then these measures should be taken:
- Firstly, isolate the child. Keep his clothing, towel, utensils separated as it’s a contagious disease and can spread to others.
- Tell your child, not to scratch blisters
- Give juice, glucose, milk, etc. to prevent and treat dehydration.
- Include nutrition in the diet.
- Maintain hygiene
- Always use warm water for bathing.
- Educate children about the symptoms of the disease.
Which states of India are affected?
1st case was reported from Kerala but now has spread to Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha.
In the bottom line, tomato flu is not a life-threatening disease. No death till now has been recorded. It can be prevented and cured by being alert and taking precautionary measures.