Upper Respiratory Tract Infections Don’t Necessarily Mean Covid — Manipal Alumni Association Malaysia

There are other upper respiratory tract infections of viral origin that should be taken note of, says the Manipal Alumni Association Malaysia. An example is Influenza A and B, which can be just as debilitating as Covid, if not more so at this current time.

Covid-19 is in the news once again following on to the statement that the once dreaded disease is on the rise again in neighbouring Singapore.

What one should understand is that Covid-19 is an endemic disease, and it will circulate in the population until such a time when it will hopefully disappear as mysteriously as it appeared. 

Now that interest on this disease has resurfaced in the media, a degree of anxiety is palpable among some people. There will be an increase in reported cases of Covid-19 as people may be testing themselves once again when experiencing symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). 

Demand for the test kits were at an all-time low as people were hardly testing themselves for the disease. As the adage goes, if you go around looking for red cars, you will suddenly see them all around you, otherwise, these red cars will remain invisible to you.

Naturally, the discussion will revolve around the need to get booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. A word of caution — do not be taken in by anyone offering booster doses for a price. 

There is only one vaccine still available in this country, and it is based on an early variant of the virus. As per my knowledge, there is no availability of a Covid-19 vaccine catering for the latest variants in this country. 

There is once again talk of Covid-19 treatments available. Be wary of treatments being offered that may have possible serious side effects or which may be only effective in taking money out of your wallet.

There are other URTIs of viral origin that should be taken note of. An example is Influenza A and B, which can be just as debilitating as Covid-19, if not more so at this current time. 

Do take note that there are annual vaccines available for the prevention of Influenza A and B.

However, of importance is the need for universal precautions to prevent the spread of any URTIs, and that is to wear a face mask if exhibiting URTI symptoms, to avoid crowded places when ill, practise frequent washing of hands, etc. 

These practices will help in keeping such viruses at bay.

Dr Koh Kar Chai is president of the Manipal Alumni Association Malaysia.

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