Cases of upper respiratory tract infections have doubled across Mumbai over the past week with a drop in temperature and change in weather. Doctors said while patients do not require hospitalisation in this condition, cases of bronchospasm have risen leading to breathlessness.
“We are getting two-three patients everyday in the hospital’s out-patient department with respiratory problems. Not everyone requires hospitalisation but in a situation where there is high fever, usually above 100 degrees, patients seek admission and require intravenous antibiotics,” said Dr Behram Pardiwalla of Wockhardt hospital. He added that with a sudden shift from rain showers to heat, the environment has become conducive for virus to grow.
In Kurla, Dr Shahid Barmare, attached with Kohinoor hospital, said respiratory illnesses are higher in senior citizens and asthma patients.
“Those with history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are prone to infection with even a slight change in weather. We are getting several cases since a week,” he said.
Mumbai witnessed heavy rain showers this week because of Cyclone Vayu passing the Maharashtra coast. The pre-monsoon rain has been followed by high temperatures and humidity. On Saturday, the maximum temperature rose to 34.2 and 32.4 in Santacruz and Colaba, with humidity at 98 per cent in Colaba.
The change in weather has led to a spurt in viral infections. “These patients are getting better in three-four days with treatment, but what is unusual this time are higher instances of bronchospasm,” said Dr Anil Ballani, internal medicine expert. He is seeing at least 10 patients everyday with upper respiratory infection. He added that the infection is travelling from upper respiratory tract to chest causing breathlessness and a condition of bronchospasm. At least 20 per cent of respiratory infection patients are requiring nebuliser to control breathlessness.
With rising temperatures, cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea have also increased. Ballani said there is a 30 per cent rise in gastroenteritis cases in the last few days. The figure is expected to rise with monsoon when risk of water contamination rises.
BMC data shows gastroenteritis cases rose from 633 in April to 730 in May. Dr Sheela Jagtap, BMC epidemiologist, said, “Cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea have risen, but not significantly. We expect water borne illnesses to rise in coming weeks.”