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Q. Can a viral infection increase the ESR level?

Answered by Dr. Parth R Goswami.


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Hello doctor,

I am 30 years old male. My recent blood report shows high ESR level (48 mm/hr). I am having a cough, fever, and a headache since eight days. The doctor told me that I have a viral infection, and has given me antibiotics and a cough syrup. Please guide.


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Dr. Parth R Goswami
M.B.B.S., M.D
Hematology, Pathology

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

  1. Physical examination.
  2. Auscultation.
  3. CBC (complete blood count).
  4. Throat swab for culture or ASO (antistreptolysin O) titer.
  5. If auscultation is suspicious, then chest x-ray.
  • Usually, an upper respiratory tract infection is viral in nature, and if there is no improvement, then antibiotic course needs to be given. If possible, antibiotic is given as per the culture report.
  • I suggest you try doing the following. Consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and start taking the medicines after their consent.
  1. Try taking tablet Amoxicillin and Clavulanic acid combination, for five days.
  2. Take lots of water. Warm water helps in soothing the throat.
  3. Daily take one teaspoon of turmeric powder with milk, if possible add a teaspoon of honey as well.
  4. Try steam inhalation three times daily.
  5. Chewable Vitamin C lozenges.
  6. Avoid excess spicy foods.
  • Please provide more details for further discussions, like did you have sudden weight loss? Do you have vomiting, chest pain, dyspnea, difficulty in swallowing, and neck rigidity? Do you smoke?
  • ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) gets elevated in any inflammation, so when your symptoms are relieved, you will see an improvement in ESR.

Consult your physician, with keeping all this in mind.

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