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Cases of common cold rise in Madurai, doctors blame wet weather

January 23, 2023 11:59 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:14 am IST - MADURAI

A view of Government Rajaji Hospital building.

A view of Government Rajaji Hospital building. | Photo Credit: File picture

With winter comes cold, cough and fever, doctors opine that the seasonal influenza is aggravated by the inclement weather.

M. Natarajan, Head, Department of General Medicine at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) said that around 75 patients are treated for flu like illnesses at the outpatient department while three to five patients are admitted for fever on a daily basis.

The flu, caused by the influenza virus, spreads due to the wet weather, from person to person in closed and crowded areas, especially in air-conditioned spaces, said N. Dhinakaran, Head of the ENT department at the GRH.

“The occurrence of such illnesses would rise until the end of February and will recede once summer kicks in. Such trends peak every year, hence we term it as seasonal influenza which tends to be more severe in infecting people than the perennial influenza,” he added.

The symptoms include sore throat, fever, runny or stuffy nose, body ache, headache, diarrhoea, cough and in severe cases, even allergic bronchitis, asthma and wheezing.

Meanwhile, S. Balashankar, Head, Department of Paediatrics, at the GRH said there are 100 patients being treated for respiratory infection. “There has been a 25% jump in the last two months. At least three to four serious cases of pneumonia are being treated everyday,” he noted.

The doctors said that if the fever does not come down within three days, cough becomes severe and prolongs for more than 10 days, one must approach doctors for treatment. As for children, if they find it difficult to breathe, if found with chest in-drawing, have problems in intaking food or water, fatigued and found dull and inactive, they must be taken to doctors.

Dr. Balashankar said parents must avoid giving cough syrups to children less than a year and to stick to giving the right dosage only after consultation with a doctor.

S. Elamparithi, Associate Professor, Department of Respiratory Medicine at GRH noted that 5% to 10% of people fall under the risk category which includes children below the age of five and people above the age of 60, those with pre-existing lung diseases and those with other complications related to heart, kidney etc.

Precautions

Common precautions to take include, refraining from attending large events, keeping children away from school, changing fresh pillow covers and bedspreads. Otherwise, the precautions followed while COVID-19 virus was spreading applies here as well , doctors said.

Dr. Elamparithi noted that people who fall into the risk category must make it a point to take the flu vaccine ideally before the winter months kick in – by October – to wade through the cold months without much worry. “Awareness on the flu shot is more in the western countries as of now. The immunity gained through the flu shot will last for a year,” he added.

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