Keeping ailments at bay

Seasonal woes

Keeping ailments at bay

The weather has been crazy with fluctuating temperatures — colder temperatures towards early mornings and evenings, and bright sunny noons and afternoons. An increase of viral fever, cold and cough cases along with other body ailments has been observed in the City. Medical professionals talk about increasing health risks and how to combat them.

There are a combination of ailments like the common cold (an upper respiratory tract infection) along with lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia doing the rounds, says Dr Chandil Kumar Gunashekara, general physician at a clinic in Netkallapa Circle. He adds that every day, an average of six out of 10 patients are suffering from fevers with lung and ENT involvement. He says, “The concern is that ailments involving lower respiratory tract infections persist, which will need the patient to be admitted. This often happens when people ignore an upper respiratory tract infection, which worsens later on. The moment one gets a viral infection, immunity goes down and the chances of catching a bacterial infection is higher.”

Chandil says that if one feels weak or has a cold, they should seek a doctor within the first 24 hours. “One must avoid A/C during these times. Also, consuming vitamins supplements and drinking hot water and food takes one a long way.”

Most of the medical practitioners in the City agree that a large number of their practice is influenced by the fluctuating weather of Bengaluru. “More than 50 per cent of the cases seen are fever, cough and cold. People with asthmatic tendency are highly affected. Compared to other places in the country which have definite seasons, the City doesn’t have that, which triggers all these viruses,” says Dr Shalini Joshi, senior consultant, Fortis Hospitals.

She says that most of the ailments during this season are viral and do not require antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary. “I would suggest one to take a tablet like Crocin. Do not go to a pharmacist and start an antibiotic course yourself. If the cough doesn’t get better in three to four days or if you have a high temperature of 102 degrees or more, then visit a doctor.” Personal hygiene is important to stay healthy. “Keep your hands clean. Never cough or sneeze into your palm. Always cough into a piece of cloth or to your elbows. Since you touch your hands all the time and touch things that others touch like tables, telephones, computers etc, the virus spreads. It absolutely necessary to keep one’s hands clean.”

Dressing appropriately in layers is important, she says. “Also request your office administration to turn the A/C vent off near you, or wear proper layers.” Natural multivitamins are also an essential part, she says. “Have a proper diet and consume hot foods like soups etc. Avoid soup powders available in the market and make them at home itself.”

Body aches and knee aches are increasing during this season too. Dr Raghavendra KS, senior specialist with orthopaedics, Aster CMI Hospital, says, “Those who are prone to osteoarthritis, which is wear and tear of the joints and the cartilage, see increased knee pain and shoulder pains during colder times. This happens because the viscus substance or the fluid in the joints called synovial fluid, tends to dry up during this season. This leads to an aggravation of pain in the colder season.”

He adds that since it’s colder, people tend to do lesser activity which can lead to backaches. “I’ve been seeing a lot of cases of post viral arthralgia, because of the increase in viral infections. On an average, in ten patients, four to five cases are acute flare-ups or post-viral arthralgia.The reasons are not so clear and the treatment often becomes challenging, which sometimes involves a rheumatologist.” He says that painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets like Paracetamol often do the trick for such pains. “Sometimes, physiotherapy helps. Keeping the limbs warm and a lot of activity and exercises also help.”

Often people opt for long periods of bed rests, which will not really solve the issue, says Raghavendra. “Too much bed rest doesn’t help as this can weaken the muscles too.”
Other medical professionals like Dr Rajeeva Moger, consultant physician with Apollo Hospitals says that there is not a huge change in the number of cases at the moment. “There’s not a lot of increase in cases but we are reaching there soon. Thankfully the cases in chicken guinea and dengue have dropped drastically. I have been seeing an average of five to six cases of viral fever in the past few days. Personal hygiene and being cautious will one a long way,” he says.

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