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Temperatures fluctuate as winter sets in; Mumbaiites respond with cough and cold

Doctors in the city said they have seen a 50% rise in viral infections compared to last month

mumbai Updated: Nov 28, 2017 16:05 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
viral infections,winter temperatures,cough
Health experts said severe cases of viral infections may lead to secondary bacterial infections in people who have low immunity. (PHOTO FOR REPRESENTATION ONLY)

With winter setting in and temperatures fluctuating, there is a rise in viral infections, said doctors.

According to the city weather bureau, the minimum temperature in the city has stayed between 18 and 20 degree Celsius.

Doctors said the changing temperatures are ideal for viruses to thrive.

“The number of virus particles increase whenever there is a difference in temperature. Plus, there is higher particulate matter in the air, which increases the chances of upper respiratory infections,” said Dr Anita Mathew Davis, infectious disease specialist at the civic-run Lokmaniya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion.

Patients have been lining up at clinics, seeking treatment for cold and cough, said doctors.

Dr Gaurang Kapadia, family physician from Malad, said he has seen at least a 50% rise in cases of cough, cold and fever as a result of viral infection, compared to last month.

“There has been a rise in seasonal illnesses. We have asked parents not to send their children to school if they have a viral infection, as these can spread easily,” he said.

Health experts said severe cases of viral infections may lead to secondary bacterial infections in people who have low immunity.

“Simple measures, such as saltwater gargling and steam inhalation, go a long way in helping the person deal with the infection. However, some cases of bacterial infection may require antibiotic support,” said Dr Shalin Soni, president, association of allopathic family physicians.

Doctors added that people who are predisposed to respiratory problems, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, have complained of intensified symptoms.

“The number of patients reporting worsened symptoms such as a runny nose, wheezing and continuous bouts of sneezing, has increased by 30% in the last two weeks,” said Dr Prashant Chhajed, director, lung care and sleep centre, Santa Cruz.“

As of now, we are treating most on an out-patient basis with inhalers and oral medicines,” he added.

Public health experts have advised patients against self-medication, asking them to get vaccinated instead.

“The elderly, patients with diabetes, and those with heart diseases, will especially benefit from flu shots. Patients who have a history of asthma should also take pneumonia vaccines,” Dr Mathews said.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 12:02 IST