05 October 2010
By Pratibha Masand
While a glass of refreshingly cold water or entering an air–conditioned room may seem like heaven after coming from the scorching heat, doctors believe it is precisely these that are making Mumbaikars sick. The daily variations in temperatures are not helping either.
City doctors claim that due to the hot spell in the past few days, the malaria–causing vectors may have gone down, but viral infections, respiratory tract infections and conjunctivitis are on the rise. "A lot of people are suffering from respiratory tract infections. Most of these patients come with extreme cough and cold and intermittent high fever too," said Dr Sunil Dalvi of Lilavati Hospital.
"Generally, people tend to step into airconditioned offices or stand in front of the fan after coming in from the heat. Most have a drink of cold or iced water, which is like a treat to the virus, which already gets active in the changing weather. All these factors together cause respiratory tract infection, which are only going to increase as the temperature difference increases," said Dr Hemant Thacker, a consultant at many private hospitals.
Besides viral infections, another disease has got the civic authorities worrying. Following 25 confirmed cases of chikungunya in September, health officials are worried that the trend might continue this month too. "Till last week, we were getting chikungunya cases, but only from some areas," said Dr G T Ambe, executive health officer, BMC. "We got cases from Goregaon, Kurla and Andheri (East) till last week," said Dr Daksha Shah, head of the civic epidemiology cell.
Doctors believe October is when chikungunya and dengue cases rise. "Due to the intermittent rains in October, dengue and chikungunya vectors breed faster. We see a spurt in dengue every year in October," added Dr Shah.
Illnesses Plaguing October
- It may be caused by infections resulting in high body temperatures, weakness
- Symptoms include fever, chills, bodyache, cough, cold
- It is an infectious disease carried from person to person by the tiger mosquito (Aedes aegypti)
- Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, severe headache, a falling platelet count that could cause haemorrhage and death
- It is a mosquito–borne viral disease
- Symptoms include fever, joint & muscle pain, nausea, headache, fatigue rashes
- A highly infectious condition, it can be a bacterial, viral or an allergic infection
- It can cause swelling, itching, burning, discharge and redness in the eye and surrounding areas