Tomato flu-The Hindu-23-08-2022


Health Department personnel carrying out thermal screening amid the tomato flu scare.

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-coloured 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.
Large, red-coloured, and spherical blisters on multiple body parts, Rashes and irritation, Dehydration,High-grade fever, Body pain, Swollen and painful joints, Nausea and vomiting, Patches and discolouration 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 favourable 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 centres.
Prevention of tomato fever:

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.

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.

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