What Is Tomato Fever? Amid Monkeypox Scare, Kerala Children May Face Another Risk

Tomato fever, also known as Tomato flu, is a very common kind of fever that usually infects children below five years of age. However, tomato fever does not have anything to do with an edible tomato.

After Covid-19 and monkeypox, Kerala is reporting a rise in tomato fever patients.

Even as Kerala battles a potential outbreak of monkeypox, piling cases of tomato flu have been keeping parents of small children on edge. Cases of the viral flu, which tends to infect children under the age of five, have been spiking in Kerala. As many as 80 cases have been reported from the state's Kollam district since May, pushing up concerns of an outbreak. According to authorities, the spike cases could be the result of schools reopening post Covid-19.

What Is Tomato Fever?

Tomato fever, also known as Tomato flu, is a very common kind of fever where children below five years of age get infected. However, the tomato flu does not have anything to do with the edible tomato. The flu also causes blisters on the child’s body, which are usually red in color, giving it the name ‘tomato flu’.

The origin of the rather mysterious disease, however, remains unclear. Though scientists are certain that tomato flu is caused by a virus, they are yet to ascertain the exact family of the virus to which it belongs. However, despite being highly contagious, tomato fever does not pose any life threatening risks and usually infects children.

What are the symptoms of Tomato flu?

Children usually experience rashes and intense skin irritation along with dehydration. Besides, children also feel tiredness, their color of hands and legs change, they feel joint pain and abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, high fever, and body aches.

How to prevent tomato fever?

Much like all other viral infections, tomato flu can also be contained by avoiding contact with infected persons or contaminated objects. The rules of social distancing used for preventing the spread of Covid-19 and wearing protective gear like face masks can come in handy to prevent catching the viral flu. Regularly washing hands and maintaining hygiene is a prerequisite to a healthy, disease-free life. In addition, school authorities should ensure proper ventilation of the school buildings so that infected air, if it enters the premises, can also pass out without percolating inside.

What to do if children are infected with tomato flu 

Much like chikungunya, tomato flu causes itchy blisters that children are often tempted to scratch. Scratching blisters caused by tomato flu can cause prolonged scarring.

There are some key things that parents can do to help  children deal with the symptoms of the fever:

- Not allowing children to scratch their blisters prevents the disease from spreading further or from causing skin infections.

- Providing children with boiled water to drink and allowing them proper rest.

- Maintaining proper hygiene of children

- Remember to isolate the child since tomato fever, though not life-threatening, is contagious like any other flu.