Sharp spike in some diseases keeps docs busy

Sharp spike in some diseases keeps docs busy

The much-awaited rains in the capital have brought in an unwelcome surge in monsoon diseases in the last three weeks.

With the onset of monsoon, waterlogged streets, puddles near households, stagnant water on office premises are common. Doctors have sounded an alert that people should take early precautions to eliminate any breeding source of mosquitoes.

Public health experts say the civic bodies need to launch intensive drives to eliminate mosquito breeding spots from an early stage. The public should also be sensitised on the ill effects of water stagnation.

Hospitals have reported a sharp spike in monsoon-related ailments in the last three-four weeks.

“The pattern is typical to monsoon season. The number of patients coming to OPDs with viral infections has increased over the last three weeks,” says Dr N K Vikram, medicine department, All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“A significant number of patients are coming with high fever. The symptoms are ranging from upper respiratory infections like cold and cough, headache, body ache, rashes and a short history of fever. Though several patients are showing symptoms typical of dengue, the major chunk of them have tested negative for dengue,” he says.

Most patients are being treated in OPDs and do not need admission, he adds. The symptoms are similar for both children and adults.

At Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, the number of viral infection cases has gone up by 100 per cent, says a senior doctor at the hospital’s paediatrics department.

Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital has seen over 20 per cent rise in diarrhoea and food poisoning cases with infection from water contamination being commonly reported.

Viral infections last for at least four to five days and leave patients with severe weakness. Patients should be alert to symptoms like bleeding and severe vomiting so that there is medical intervention at the right time.

“In the initial stage, fever can be handled with paracetamol. Patients should be careful of signs like bleeding, nausea. They should also seek medical help if the fever continues beyond four to five days,” says Dr Vikram.

“Due to season’s change, the hospital has seen a rise in viral infection cases. Most of these cases are being treated at the OPDs,” said Dr Anoop Mohta, director at Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya.

Doctors say the hospitals have not seen the peak of monsoon-related infections yet and that these are likely to rise over the next few weeks. Till now, alarming symptoms have not been seen and most of the patients suffering from fevers have not needed admission, say doctors.

“The other infections on the rise during this season are ear fungal infections which have increased by at least 30 per cent and also cases of pharyngitis,” says Dr Ravinder Chauhan, ENT department, Lady Hardinge Medical College.

Patients are also suffering from diseases like Hepatitis A and typhoid. “The humidity and rain make it easier for the virus to thrive. Therefore, a rise in viral infections is observed,” says Dr Anil Bansal, a physician.

Those who have lower immunity levels are more susceptible to viral infections.  Fungal infections on folds of skin and conjunctivitis are the other two commonly reported monsoon diseases.

Dengue, malaria

The capital has seen over 50 dengue cases and five malaria cases so far this season, according to data released by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC). However, figures from individual hospitals point towards higher numbers.
 Last year, the capital saw the worst dengue outbreak since 1996. Experts point out that there needs to be a thorough coordination between the government’s health department and the civic bodies so that mosquitogenic conditions can be eliminated.

“There is also a need for the government to be well prepared with adequate number of beds and clinics so that patients can be accommodated if the number of dengue cases goes up,” says an administrative official at a Delhi government hospital.

The Delhi government

has announced 300 fever clinics by the beginning of September. Last year, several patients were refused beds with hospitals stretched beyond their capacities. Government hospitals accommodated three to four patients on each bed with the rush of dengue patients.

Precautions

People should be cautious in not letting water stagnate near their households, change water in their air coolers regularly and overhead water tankers. Food sold from stalls in the open should also be avoided during this season. Parents should encourage children to wash hands frequently to avoid contamination, say doctors.

People suffering from fever should take plenty of fluids to keep themselves well hydrated. In case of dengue, the platelet count of patients should be closely monitored to avoid any fatality. Patients should take oral fluids and immediately seek medical help in case of bleeding, vomiting tendencies and severe body ache, say doctors.

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