Tomato flu – Everything you need to know

Just when it looks like the COVID-19 scenario is settling down and we might be getting some rest from irritating viruses, another viral disease, “Tomato Flu” has crept into Kerala!

Tomato flu, also known as tomato fever, is a viral illness that causes blisters that look like tomatoes. Tomato flu mainly affects children under the age of five, who have an undiagnosed fever.

Amid concerns about this infection, there are some lingering questions about the nature of this disease, its causes, symptoms, treatment, and more. Read on to get answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the tomato flu.

What is Tomato Flu?

Tomato flu is a viral illness that causes blisters/rashes on various parts of the body, skin irritation and dehydration in children, usually under the age of five. In general, the form of blisters is red and when they get quite big they look like tomatoes and that is why it is called tomato fever or tomato flu.

However, it remains uncertain whether the causative agent of tomato fever is related to dengue fever or chikungunya (a viral fever).

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of the disease are:

  1. Large blisters, the size of tomatoes that are red in color
  2. Result
  3. Skin irritation
  4. high fever
  5. dehydration
  6. pain in the body
  7. Swelling of the joints.

Some other symptoms are:

  1. Discoloration of hands, knees and buttocks
  2. nausea
  3. vomit
  4. Abdominal cramps
  5. fatigue
  6. Cough
  7. to sneeze
  8. running nose

What Causes Tomato Flu?

The causes of the disease are still unknown. Health officials are still investigating the cause of the tomato flu. According to the latest reports, only parts of Kollam have seen tomato flu in India, but health officials have warned it could spread to other regions if swift action is not taken in time.

Is tomato flu contagious?

Like other cases of flu, tomato flu is also contagious. Infected children should be kept in isolation as this flu can spread quickly from one person to another.

Is there cause for concern?

While it is undoubtedly contagious, health officials have reassured, suggesting it is not deadly and can be treated. However, it is advisable to avoid close contact with the infected child.

What to do if your child becomes infected?

  1. Contact the doctor straight away
  2. Maintain good hygiene
  3. Do not let your child scratch the blisters
  4. Keep your child hydrated by drinking boiled water
  5. Use warm water to wash the child.
  6. Avoid close contact with the infected person
  7. Clothing, utensils, and other items used by the infected child should be disinfected to prevent the flu from spreading.

How Can Tomato Flu Be Treated?

Currently, there is no specific treatment for tomato flu. Therefore, this disease can only be treated symptomatically.

How to prevent the spread of tomato flu?

To reduce the risk of tomato flu, avoid close contact with the infected person.

Does tomato flu have anything to do with COVID-19?

While some symptoms are similar to COVID-19, tomato flu has nothing to do with COVID-19. Such symptoms are generally seen in other types of viral infections as well. So there is no need to panic as authorities have been asked to remain alert.

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