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A Brief Look at Tomato Flu - Causes, Symptoms & Precautions

Just as we prepare for the possible emergence of the fourth wave of COVID-19, a new virus known as tomato flu, or tomato fever, has developed in the Indian state of Kerala in children under five. The uncommon viral illness is endemic and is not considered life-threatening; nonetheless, careful management is needed to avoid future breakouts because of the horrible experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On May 6, 2022, the tomato flu was initially found in the Kollam district of Kerala. As of July 26, 2022, local government hospitals have recorded more than 82 children under five with the virus. In addition, Anchal, Aryankavu, and Neduvathur are also impacted in Kerala.

What is Tomato Flu?

Tomato flu, often known as tomato fever, is a viral illness that generates tomato-like blisters. Rashes, skin irritation, and dehydration are symptoms of an infected youngster, and blisters appear all over the body. Tomato Fever is still debated as a viral fever or an aftereffect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children with tomato flu.

The predominant symptoms of tomato flu in children are similar to those of chikungunya, which include high fever, rashes, and severe joint pain. Tomato flu got its name from the appearance of red and painful blisters all over the body that eventually developed to the size of a tomato. 

These blisters mimic those observed in children infected with the monkeypox virus. Rashes form on the skin due to tomato fever, causing skin irritation. Other symptoms include weariness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, dehydration, joint swelling, body pains, and frequent influenza-like symptoms, similar to dengue. 

The non-fatal but infectious condition rapidly made headlines, with news sources claiming a rare, “new” viral virus. However, there is little evidence that tomato flu is a novel virus – or even the flu at all. Instead, preliminary data shows that it is simply another clinical manifestation of a common childhood infection: hand, foot, and mouth disease. 

Since the pandemic began, no information on testing or gene sequencing has surfaced from India. However, a case report on the outcomes of biological testing in two children was published last week in the Paediatric Infectious Disease Journal. According to the case report, a 13-month-old daughter and her 5-year-old sibling were both suspected of having tomato flu.

A week after returning from a month-long trip to Kerala with their family, the youngsters had vesicular rashes on their hands and legs. The child had oral lesions two days after her rash appeared, but the boy’s rash healed. 

Neither child experienced a fever or other flu-like symptoms. Tomato flu, like different kinds of influenza, is highly infectious. As a result, complete isolation of confirmed or suspected cases and other preventative measures are required to avoid spreading the tomato flu virus from Kerala to other areas of India. Isolation should be practised for 5-7 days after symptoms begin to prevent illness transmission to other children or adults. 

The best preventative strategy is to maintain adequate hygiene, sanitise the surrounding requirements and surroundings, and keep the sick kid from sharing toys, clothes, food, or other objects with other non-infected children.

Tomato Flu / Fever Symptoms

The first signs of tomato flu are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, including high fever, rashes, and severe joint pain. Rashes and blisters are similar to those seen with the monkeypox virus that appears across the body, causing skin discomfort. 

Additional symptoms include:

  • Fatigue 
  • Cramps 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Fever 
  • Dehydration 
  • Joint swollenness 
  • An ache in the body

Tomato Flu Treatment

According to the Lancet article, tomato flu is a self-limiting condition with no specific treatment. Because tomato fever symptoms are similar to those of dengue or chikungunya, the treatment method is comparable. Tomato flu therapy involves seclusion, relaxation, plenty of fluids, and a hot water sponge to relieve discomfort and rashes. In addition, paracetamol for fever and body soreness, as well as other symptomatic therapies, are necessary. Make an appointment for Tomato Flu Treatment immediately. There are currently no antiviral medications or vaccinations available to treat or prevent tomato flu. To further understand prospective therapies, more study and studies are required.

Tomato Flu Prevention Methods

Prevention is the best cure in the case of tomato flu. Because more study is required to understand the reasons and develop a therapy, the best method to protect our children from tomato fever is to take preventative precautions. To avoid acquiring this illness, take the following precautions:
  • Avoid making direct touch with the diseased individual.
  • Do not shake hands, play, or hug any youngster who exhibits tomato fever symptoms.
  • Keep them hydrated by drinking plenty of water, milk, juice, and so on.
  • Clean and sanitise your children’s utensils, clothes, toys, and other belongings regularly.
  • Bathe or clean with warm water.
  • Include immunity-boosting and nutrient-dense items in your child’s diet.
  • Instruct your kids to use a handkerchief when sneezing or coughing if they have a runny nose or cough.
  • Avoid scratching or rubbing the blister, and wash your hands after touching it.
Tomato flu is very infectious yet not fatal. In most situations, it is treatable at home with a few drugs. However, before giving your child any medication, you should contact a doctor. If your kid is experiencing severe symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, or dehydration, he or she may require hospitalisation.  If your kid is younger than six months old, has a weaker immune system, or has mouth sores or a sore throat that makes drinking fluids difficult, you should visit a doctor. Doctors here at Parul Hospital can help you understand the disease and help prevent it better. So consult the doctors if you have any concerns now!