The hot and humid weather is taking its toll on Delhiites, and city hospitals are brimming over with cases of gastroenteritis, flu, heatstroke and other summer ailments.
"We are getting more than 15 cases of gastric flu (a viral stomach infection) every week. The kind of weather we are witnessing these days — harsh sun and rains — is ideal for the growth and spread of all kinds of bacteria and viruses," said Dr Ritesh Gupta, senior consultant, Centre for Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj.
Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are also getting more than the usual number of gastric disorder cases this summer, and typhoid tops the list. "This summer has been really crazy. There is an unusual rise in the number of typhoid cases and other gastric diseases," said a senior doctor in the department of gastroenterology, who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media. "Not maintaining proper hygiene while eating or consuming raw or improperly cooked food in this weather can result in infections," the doctor added.
"The sudden drop in temperature is conducive to viral infections, and we see a lot of cases of common cold because of that. Dust floating in the air serves as a trigger for various respiratory illness, especially for children who already suffer from ailments like asthma. Instances of dehydration also increase in this weather. So, children should be made to drink as much water and juices as possible while maintaining good hygiene and quality," said Dr Anupam Sibal, senior consultant, Department of Paediatrics, Apollo Hospital.
Loss of water or dehydration also results in heatstroke. It is not only people who are on roads for hours together who risk suffering a heat stroke, even a short exposure to the sun can lead to dehydration, and in extreme cases a stroke. "One should be careful. If a person is feeling drowsy, confused and disoriented, then he/she may be showing signs of a heat stroke. The blood pressure also starts falling rapidly in case of a heat stroke," said Dr Gupta.
Doctors, however, advise people against self-medication, especially medicines such as Brufen and Combiflam that people take during fever or body ache. "One should stick to plain paracetamol, as most of the other medicines bring down the platelet count (in the blood) and affect kidneys. If symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, visit a doctor," said the AIIMS doctor.