Summer diseases in kids on rise as mercury soars

City hospitals report increase in fever, diarrhoea cases

With the summer setting in, some city hospitals reported an increase in fever and diarrhoea-related cases among children. The majority of these patients are below the age of five, doctors said. 

“Children become more susceptible to infection with the rise in temperature. We have observed a rise in cases of cold and cough, fever and diarrhoea in the paediatric unit in the past one week. Children below the age of five constitute the major chunk of such patients,” said Dr Anuja of Ram Manohar Lohiya (RML) Hospital.

Of 22 cases recorded in the RML OPD on Monday afternoon, 18 children had high fever. On Sunday, over 35 cases of fever and 18 cases of diarrhoea were recorded. This was being seen as a steady increase in such cases since last week. 

“Diarrhoea and other infection-related diseases are also mostly accompanied by fever,” added Anuja. 

The other two problems that children are complaining of are ‘fever with rash’ and ‘vomiting’. Lok Nayak Hospital has recorded a 20-25 per cent increase in infection-related cases in the past two weeks.

“The spurt in infection-related cases such as fever, diarrhoea, fever with rashes has been observed in the past 14 days. While the number of such patients in the OPD has increased, the admission rate of children with high infection rates has also gone up with the city’s temperature rising. Last Saturday, we saw an unusual number of such cases,” said Dr A P Dubey, head of paediatric unit of Lok Nayak Hospital.

On an average, 300-350 children come for check-up in the hospital’s OPD and 25-30 children are admitted in the paediatric ward. “The immunity level among children below the age of five is usually lower. But school-going children also fall prey to infection as they are outdoors for a longer time,” said Dubey.

Careless food habits and low level of hygiene were cited as the most common reasons for children contracting infection. 

“Unhygienic drinking water, food kept in the open and cut fruits should be avoided. Children often fall sick after drinking sugarcane juice, which is not always made in the most hygienic way. Bad food habits lead to children falling ill,” said Dubey.

Early detection 

Once the ‘danger signs’ are observed, parents should immediately take their children for check-up. Decrease in food intake, less urine output and lethargy are the common symptoms of high infection rate among children below five years of age. “If detected early, the need to admit children to a hospital does not arise. However, if the level of infection is too high, the case becomes complicated,” said Anuja.

Preventive measures

Maintaining a high level of hygiene is a must during summer. 
“As the summer intensifies, parents must ensure that children carry water bottles when they are outdoors. Besides contracting infection, they can also be victims of heat stroke. Simple tips such as washing hands before eating meals, carrying umbrella, wearing covered clothes should be taken seriously to be healthy,” said Dubey.

While fluid intake should be increased, children should also eat adequately. “An energy-rich diet may help children cope with the heat. Adequate amount of fruits, sooji and halwa should be included as part of the diet,” said Anuja.

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