The sharp fluctuations in day and night temperatures over the past few days have brought in their wake a spike in allergies, viral infections and respiratory problems for people. The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) health department said that around 30-40 per cent cases of allergy have been reported over the past fortnight. Medical experts are asking Mumbaiites to be on their guard against seasonal infections like the common cold, cough and viral fever. Doctors are saying there is a greater likelihood of an increase in respiratory diseases because of the unpredictable weather.
The outpatient departments (OPD) of the four major civic hospitals -- King Edward Memorial (KEM), Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General, Dr RN Cooper Municipal General and BYL Nair Hospitals -- have reported a 35 per cent rise in allergy cases and a nearly 30-35 per cent rise in viral infection cases.
“In the past few days, the number of patients visiting our OPDs has increased owing to the change in the weather. Most of them are children and senior citizens and many are complaining about allergies and viral fever,” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal, director of the four hospitals.
Doctors said the number of cases of chest allergies has also increased. Those prone to such conditions are being advised against taking walks, since air pollutants pose a hazard. “An alarming increase in air pollution attacks the respiratory system. Moreover, higher levels of carbon monoxide directly affect the cardiovascular system and the entire respiratory tract, particularly among children,” added Dr Bharmal. Doctors are also advising pregnant women to be extra careful.
A senior health official said there had been an increase in the number of patients suffering from viral fever. These patients suffer from high fever, cough, sore throat and bodyache. “As the temperature fluctuates, civic hospitals are seeing a rise in patients suffering from viral infection and stomach ailments,” he said.
Infectious Diseases Expert Dr Om Shrivastav, Jaslok Hospital, said, “If patients have any symptoms of viral fever or respiratory-related problems, they should immediately seek treatment in a hospital, instead of resorting to self-medication.”
“We are getting at least ten patients every day in our outpatient department with respiratory problems. Not everyone requires hospitalisation but in a situation where there is high fever, usually above 100 degrees, patients seek admission and require intravenous antibiotics,” said a doctor from KEM Hospital.
General physicians said the immediate effects are cough, throat infections and pneumonia and in the long term, the results could be disastrous as one could also develop severe lung cancer. “Patients have started coming to the outpatient department with complaints of breathlessness, coughing, sneezing, tightness in the chest, allergy and asthma complications. More than 30-40 patients come in daily, seeking treatment for respiratory ailments,” said a general physician in the city.
The BMC’s executive health officer, Dr Mangala Gomare, said that fever cases were “normal during rains”. “Viruses circulate in humid conditions. Temperature fluctuations are higher this season,” she said.
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