Yo-yo weather causes spurt in common cold, ailments

Mumbai: It’s not just New Delhi that is having a breathing trouble. In Mumbai, the fluctuating air quality and temperatures have resulted in an increase in the number of cases of respiratory illnesses and viral infections.

Doctors claim that there has been a 20-30 per cent rise in the number of patients visiting the outpatient departments (OPDs) for cold, cough, viral fever and other respiratory problems in the last few weeks.

“Hospitals have seen a 25 per cent rise in patients seeking treatment for cough, cold and respiratory issues,” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean, BYL Nair Hospital.

The most common ailments are cold, cough, viral fever and now, doctors say, there is a likely to be an increase in respiratory ailments because of this yo-yo weather. Winter is yet to set in, the weather bureau has clarified and the dryness in the air has is because of windy conditions.

“Excessive air pollution is associated with respiratory diseases like bronchitis and asthma. In such weather, cases of bronchitis are likely to increase in the city, primarily due to temperature fluctuations,” said a doctor from BYL Nair Hospital.

Doctors from the Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy (JJ) Hospital said, air pollutants are causing breathing disorders. They claim to have examined at least 200-350 patients who are suffering from breathing disorders on account of the haze.

“Patients with asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) are finding it difficult to breathe. Poor air quality is causing a rise in these cases,” said a general physician.

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 lung cancer.

“Patients have started coming to the outpatient department (OPD) with complaints of breathlessness, coughing, sneezing, tightness in the chest, allergy and asthma complications.

More than 30-40 patients come in daily with such complaints,” said general physician Dr Akhilesh Sharma. The increase in allergens, along with smog and pollutants, can predispose children to viral and bacterial infections and cause breathing difficulties.

“An alarming increase in air pollution attacks the respiratory system. Moreover, higher levels of carbon monoxide directly hit the cardiovascular system and the entire respiratory tract, particularly among children,” he added.

Dr Om Shrivastav, infectious diseases expert, Jaslok hospital said, “If patients show any symptoms of viral fever or respiratory-related problems, they should immediately seek treatment in a hospital instead of resorting to self-medication.”

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