Asthma Attacks On The Rise
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25 October 2010
New Delhi, India
As Mercury Dips, Delhi Is Also In The Grip Of Viral Infections
"The nip in the air is making things difficult for asthma and bronchitis patients. The airway becomes narrow due to a drop in temperature. Haze and pollens also aggravate asthma and upper respiratory tract infection," Dr G C Vaishnava, head of the department of internal medicine, Fortis Healthcare.
Medically speaking, this year has been one of the worst year for Delhiites. Starting from water-borne diseases like cholera in the summer to dengue outbreak during monsoon, city hospitals are having a tough time accommodating the rush of patients. "Dengue cases have now started decreasing but cases of viral fever are increasing.
Though the fever can be treated at home, children and elderly should take special precautions. If the fever persists for more than 36 hours, one should consult a doctor," said Dr Anil Bali, senior consultant, internal medicine, Moolchand Medcity.
So far, cases of H1N1 influenza is insignificant in the city but doctors warn against this infection as the virus multiplies faster in cooler environment. "If people develop respiratory distress along with fever, they should immediately go to hospital," said Dr Bali.
Doctors also caution that asthma patients need to take extra precautions as viral infection can aggravate their condition. The weather is conducive for the spread of viral infection. There is a sudden change in weather along with fluctuation in day and night temperature.
"Mild allergy can aggravate breathing problem in asthma patients. Moreover, constant change in temperature and humidity also makes things worse for them. Those who travel a lot should be more careful. The constant shift from cooler environment in their cars to outside temperature can trigger sinus attack," said Dr Mukesh Mehra, head of the department of internal medicine, Max Healthcare.
Another common problem seen during this time of the year is viral conjunctivitis. "Children are more vulnerable to viral conjunctivitis, as they move in closed groups in school. Parents should avoid sending their children to school if their wards show any symptom of viral infection. Infections like H1N1 influenza, viral conjunctivitis, etc spread faster in closed environment," said Dr MP Sharma, head of the department of internal medicine at Rockland Hospital.
Apart from children, doctors say, elderly and immunocompromized people need to take precaution as they have a high risk of contracting secondary infections. "People with diabetes and other lifestyle diseases and the elderly people can contract secondary infection if the viral fever is not treated immediately.
We have come across cases of viral pneumonia, which is a secondary infection, in elderly. Immunocompromized people should see the doctor in the initial stages as adequate steps can be taken to control the problem," said Dr Mehra.