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As weather changes, Bengaluru hospitals witness rise in flu, viral fever cases

Doctors said the shift in temperature, which includes warm conditions during the day and cool weather from late evening to early morning, contributes to infections.

The last two to three months have seen an increase in upper respiratory and lower respiratory tract infection cases, a doctor said.(Representational)
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In the last two months, hospitals in Bengaluru have reported a spurt in flu and viral fever cases, which doctors have attributed to the change in weather pattern.

Dr Siri Kamath, senior consultant physician and Covid task co-in-charge at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital said, “The last two to three months have seen an increase in upper respiratory and lower respiratory tract infection cases. Patients present with fever, cough, sore throat and runny/stuffy nose. Most patients who get admitted however recover with IV hydration, antivirals, antibiotic treatment and supportive therapy.”

“The causative organism in such cases could be a variety of bacteria and viruses, such as influenza, including H1N1 and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). As far as viral fever without features of respiratory tract involvement are concerned, yes, such cases are also seen. Usually, initial tests are sent to rule out typhoid, dengue, malaria, Covid-19 and urinary tract infections as these are the most common. Simultaneously treatment is started for all possible causes of fever compatible with the patient’s clinical features. We have seen approximately 352 cases in the last six months.”

Dr Brunda M S, consultant (internal medicine) at Aster CMI Hospital said, “Since the start of the winter season, we have seen five-six cases per 10 patients with viral fever and flu in our OPD. Fever or feeling feverish, coughing, sore throat, runny nose, muscular or body aches, headaches, exhaustion, vomiting and diarrhoea are among the frequent symptoms (more commonly seen in children). The flu among the elderly is often self-limiting, with fever typically going away in 3–4 days and other symptoms in about seven days. But compared to young, healthy adults or elderly over 65, people with chronic medical illnesses are more likely to experience catastrophic flu complications. This is because as we age, our immune systems weaken. In this age bracket, a lot of individuals require hospitalisation.”

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Explaining the reasons behind the rise in cases, she said, “One of the elements contributing to the outbreak of the viral fever is the shift in temperature, which includes warm circumstances during the day and cool conditions from late evening to early morning. The air is cooler and less humid, which can help some viruses grow and spread more easily, increasing the number of viral infections. During winter, nasal mucus becomes drier and stickier, which might facilitate the spread of viruses. Flu, respiratory syncytial virus infections that cause bronchiolitis, the common cold, strep throat or sore throat and stomach flu are among frequent ailments in winter.”

Dr Parimala V Thirumalesh, senior consultant (neonatology & paediatrics) at Aster CMI Hospital said the number of cases even among children with flu and viral infections have increased. “Recently, the number of cases among children with flu and viral infections has increased by around 50 per cent as compared to the last couple of months. Previously, only 7-8 children out of 30 patients seen in the OPD had a viral infection with a cold, cough, sneezing, fever, and chills, but now more than 15 of them do,” she said.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has altered India’s immunisation landscape. Kids are falling sick very frequently. The majority of the patients we see have similar health concerns, especially recurrent cases who have been to multiple doctors before consulting a specialist. With the reopening of schools and students being without masks, these infections are spreading very quickly. It is always better to consult a specialist instead of self-medicating, which can be harmful for children,” Dr Thirumalesh added.


“Flu is an acute self-limiting viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. During winter, we may see some amount of increase in flu infections. This is what we are seeing now. Approximately we see 15-20 cases of flu infections in a week’s time and the cases are distributed equally across age groups. Since we do not do investigative analysis on people who do not have any major underlying immunocompromised status, telling the type of virus causing these infections is difficult,” said Dr Neha Mishra, consultant (infectious diseases) at Manipal Hospital.

First published on: 06-12-2022 at 19:03 IST
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