You should test for COVID-19 if you have a fever

Iraq Covid Test

Image Credit: AFP

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.

My advice has always been: If you have a fever, test 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 mild symptoms, they will most likely ask you to quarantine at home. And give tips on self-isolation.

Remember that majority of COVID-19 cases feels like viral fever and some cases like mild flu. The condition of a small percentage of people tends to be critical enough to require hospitalisation. It can be deadly only for a fraction of the population who have weak immune systems (mostly caused by heart ailments, chemotherapy, therapy for auto-immune diseases, etc.). So a positive test is no cause for alarm.

After I went through a spell of 10-day fever, 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.

But if COVID-19 is merely a long spell of fever, I wouldn’t mind. For the list of symptoms, I had read, include fever, chills, sore throat, loss of smell and taste, diarrhoea, body pain, fatigue, and worst of all, breathlessness. But then you need not have all of this. Yet, you could have COVID-19.

Breathless? Call the ambulance

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

Some friends, colleagues and former colleagues applauded me for writing my experience and 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. It will also persuade you to take adequate rest and hydrate yourself well. And seek medical advice from a qualified professional.

A negative test will set you free. You can 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.

I would test myself before I return to work. Because if I’m a virus carrier, the whole office would have to be quarantined. I wouldn’t want that to happen.

My advice to all of you would be do a test before you resume work. Particularly, if your exposure is high.

Testing is easy

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

You can 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 getting 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.

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