Hold on now...is it Dengue or COVID-19?

You have a fever, and your body aches all over. You think you may have contracted the dreaded COVID-19 but self-assessment tests have turned up negative.

Get yourself checked. You may have dengue fever.

How to tell dengue and COVID-19 apart?

That’s a tough one. Only a proper medical diagnosis can determine which is which, and for the right treatment to be applied.

Both dengue and COVID-19 are caused by viruses, the former spread via mosquito bites and the latter through exposure to infected droplets.

Predicting if it’s dengue or COVID-19 on your own would be extremely hard as you will display similar symptoms like fever and body aches in the early stages.

The common symptoms include

  • body pain

  • chills

  • fever

  • nausea

However, while they share similar symptoms, there is a shot at predicting it right by observing your fever.

Dengue versus COVID-19 Fever

Dengue fever

  • can rise considerably high (up to 40- 41 degrees Celsius).

  • can be accompanied by other symptoms, which may require intensive care to get better.

  • can also be continuous and persistent (2-7 days).

COVID-19 fever

  • is usually low or moderate (up to 38 degrees Celsius). Normal body temperature is between 36.5 and 37.5 degrees Celsius.

  • can come and go, but can normally be managed with medicines like paracetamol.

  • that persists for over 7 days indicates the infection is severe or threatening.

Dengue in Malaysia

Earlier in the month, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had reported that the cumulative number of dengue cases had gone up drastically.

Dengue fever cases have long been a bane in Malaysia. They stood at 130,101 in 2019, 90,304 in 2020 and dipped to roughly 30,000 dengue fever cases last year amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.

The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts a serious outbreak globally in the next two or three years due to the cyclical nature of dengue fever and countries’ lack of focus on enhancing capacity to tackle this “often neglected” disease.

Dengue symptoms

The natural course of the disease is about 3-9 days and can be self-limited in healthy individuals who have been rehydrated sufficiently.

Mild dengue symptoms

  • High fever (40°C)

  • Headache

  • Rash

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Muscle, bone or joint pain

  • Pain behind the eyes

  • Swollen glands

Severe dengue symptoms

Studies show that most people recover within a week but some may develop severe dengue symptoms that can become life-threatening.

Warning symptoms of severe dengue fever usually begin within the first 2 days after your fever goes away. They include

  • Dizziness

  • Reduced consciousness

  • Persistent diarrhea

  • Rapid or difficulty breathing

  • Blood in urine, stools or vomit

  • Extreme stomach pain and persistent vomiting

  • Nose or gums bleeding

  • Skin bruises

  • Fatigue, irritability or restlessness


Severe dengue can lead to complications such as:

  • Haemorrhagic fever

  • Bleeding

  • Reduced blood pressure

  • Difficulty breathing, and death.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Early symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Tiredness

  • Loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Chills

There have been reports of a range of other symptoms existing in varying degrees of severity. In sharp contrast, you may experience no symptoms at all. Get yourself tested by a RTK, Supervised RTK, or PCR swab test.

The warning signs

If you are an elderly person or have pre-existing medical conditions, then you may have a higher risk of contracting severe COVID-19.

The symptoms to look out for include:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent chest pain or pressure

  • Inability to stay awake

  • New confusion

  • Pale, gray or blue-coloured skin, lips or nail beds

COVID-19 complications

Severe COVID-19 infection can lead to complications such as:

  • Severe lung disease

  • Kidney injury

  • Heart problems

  • Blood clots, and death.

If you have the above symptoms, rush to get immediate medical attention.

Speedoc H-Ward® Dengue

Don’t take dengue for granted. Get an immediate dengue blood test and the right way to manage dengue fever at home via Speedoc H-Ward® Dengue 5-day home care programme.

It caters for mild to moderately severe dengue fever cases.

Our doctors are available for telemedicine consultation to give preliminary diagnoses or medical advice based on the symptoms you have.

You can also opt for a doctor to conduct a physical consultation at your home.

Our team of doctors, nurses and medical experts will carry out a complete history taking and physical examination that include blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, glucose, spO2, respiratory rate and Remote Patient Monitoring three times a day for 5 days.

If your rapid test results are positive, a blood test to measure full blood count will be done to monitor, among others, your platelet level every day.

The liver function and C-reactive protein test will be carried out on the second and fourth days to monitor for liver involvement and any worsening inflammation during the dengue infection.

If your platelet counts continue to dip to dangerous levels, doctors will usually arrange a transfer to the hospital to prevent complications.

You will have 24/7 access during your H-Ward® stay where there will be follow-up teleconsultations and direct calls on Speedoc’s nurses and doctors to return to your home to perform strict assessment and monitor blood test parameters. If your condition is more severe, you will require IV drips for hydration, more frequent medical team reviews, blood tests to monitor and manage your condition closely.

To find out more about Speedoc H-Ward® Dengue programme and its benefits, email us at contact.my@speedoc.com, call us at +60 11 4166 1178 or download the Speedoc mobile app.