Nights have become chilly in the city for the past four days with the minimum temperature hovering below the average. The minimum temperature was around 19 degree Celsius.

The weather had forced many residents to use warm clothing. J.K. Jagan, a resident of Korattur, said “It is difficult for me to ride in the night without a jacket as it gets quite chilly after 9 p.m. My room is cool enough that I sleep without switching on the fan.”

Many residents said they did not go on morning walks in view of the misty weather. Winter days in the city has brought joy to retail vendors of woollen clothes. Jyothi Dayalan, a fancy store owner in Aminjikarai, said earmuffs and sweaters are fast-selling items this season.

Doctors say a non-specific viral epidemic has been found in the city. Children and the elderly are easily affected if they do not protect themselves adequately.

The elderly should wear adequately warm clothes and cover their ears when they go out for morning or evening walks.

Paediatricians said the cold breeze affects the nasal passage and it gets constricted blocking entry of air to the ear, nose and throat. Chest infection and upper respiratory infection are commonly reported during the winter months.

Children suffer from common cold and winter bronchitis and Otitis Media (infection of external ear) are commonly reported ailments during this season,” said Suresh David, head, Paediatrics, ESI Hospital, K.K.Nagar.

“If untreated, it could lead to pneumonia, infection of the middle ear and throat infection like tonsillitis. To avoid this, cover the ear, chest when going out especially in the night. Children should not be allowed to play in water and avoid bath in cold water. When there are signs of infection parents should consult doctor,” he added.

Officials of the Meteorological Department said the chilly weather is felt more in the relatively less populated areas and by travellers.

The minimum temperature dropped by one degree Celsius below average in the past four days. Wind speed has also been less over the last few days.

As the northeast monsoon is yet to withdraw, the minimum temperature has not dropped significantly so far, an official said.

Last year, the minimum temperature dipped to 17.5 degree Celsius during January, the official said. The department forecasts that the minimum temperature on Saturday would also be around 19 degree Celsius.

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