Recently, a new viral disease called tomato flu detested in some parts of Kerala. All the infected cases are children under five years of age. The exact cause of this infection is still unknown. Let’s dig a little into the symptoms and preventions of the tomato flu.

What is tomato flu?

Tomato flu is an unexplainable viral disease spreading in the Kerala state. The name tomato flu comes from the main symptom of this disease, the tomato-shaped blisters on several body parts. The blisters start as red-colored small blisters, and when they enlarge resemble tomatoes shaped, therefore known as tomato fever or tomato flu. The infected children also have skin irritation and severe dehydration issues.

Symptoms of tomato fever

The symptoms of tomato flu are similar to chikungunya or dengue infection. The chief identified symptoms of this infectious disease are the following:

  • Large, red-colored, and spherical blisters on multiple body parts
  • Rashes and irritation
  • Dehydration
  • High-grade fever
  • Body pain
  • Swollen and painful joints

Some additional symptoms are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Patches and discoloration on various body areas, including hands, buttocks, and knees
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Frequent coughing
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Constant feeling of tiredness and fatigue

Cause of tomato fever

The exact cause of the infection is still undisclosed. The researchers are still investigating the causative organism responsible for tomato flu. As it is a transmissible disease, the healthcare providers advise taking precautionary measures to avoid infection.

Is tomato flu a contagious infection?

Yes. Tomato flu is a contagious disease that spreads through direct contact. It is common in school-going children due to lack of hygiene maintenance and often putting hands in their mouths. The infectious agents can remain in a child’s body for many weeks after the infection subside, making them favorable carriers.

Adults can also transmit the virus while handling children without showing any signs and symptoms of the disease.

Treatment of tomato fever

Tomato flu is a self-limiting infectious disease as the signs and symptoms resolve after a few days. It is a rare disease and has recent emergence, so no disease-specific medications are available. The doctors provide symptomatic care according to the child’s needs. The doctors prescribe antipyretic and pain-relievers to subside symptoms.

The Kerala government started many initiatives to treat the children at all Anganwadi and medical centers.

Prevention of tomato fever

The best way to curb the disease is to stop the spread of infection. As we all know, prevention is the best treatment in a sudden unknown disease outbreak. We should avoid close contact to prevent disease transmission. Following are some preventive measures we should keep in mind:

  • Avoid immediate contact with the infected person
  • Educate your child about the signs and symptoms and its side effects
  • Tell your child not to hug or touch children having fever or rash symptoms
  • You should encourage your children about hygiene maintenance and stopping thumb or finger sucking habits
  • Encourage the child to use a handkerchief in case of running nose or coughing to avoid the spread of the disease
  • Don’t scratch or rub the blister and wash every time you touch these blister
  • Try to keep hydrated your child by motivating them to drink plenty of water, milk, or juice, whatever they prefer
  • If your child develops symptoms of tomato fever, immediately isolate them from other children to inhibit disease progression.
  • All utensils, clothes, and other utility items should be separated and sanitized regularly.
  • Always use warm water to clean skin or for bathing the child
  • Take a nutrition-rich, balanced diet to boost immunity
  • It is essential to get enough rest and sleep to promote healing

When to see healthcare professionals?

Tomato flu is a self-curable disease. Immediately consult a healthcare provider if you notice any above signs and symptoms in your child. If you suspect getting an infection, isolate your child from other family members and talk to your doctor.

Tomato flu is a rapidly-spreading infectious disease but is not a lethal and life-threatening condition. The proper preventive measures and symptomatic treatment are beneficial. Some of the symptoms require immediate attention, such as severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration, as they have detrimental effects on your child’s body. So don’t panic if your child encounters this infectious disease and deal with it cautiously.

Narayana Health

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