Monthly plan to access Budget

Journalism of Courage
Advertisement

Respiratory illness prolongs amid ‘poor’ air quality in winter; many report of recurrence

Doctors recommend vaccinating against pneumonia and influenza, wearing masks especially when the air quality is poor, and avoiding crowded indoors for those with compromised immunity, either because of age or comorbidities.

mumbai air qualityDoctors said Mumbai’s air quality, which has been hovering between “poor” and “very poor” over the last few days, is impacting the health of the citizens. (Express photo by Pradip Das)
Listen to this article Your browser does not support the audio element.

The onset of winter combined with poor air quality has led to a rise in chronic respiratory illnesses with patients flocking to hospitals OPDs with recurrent cold and cough with many taking nearly over two weeks for recovery.

Over the last two to three weeks, there has been an almost two-fold rise in the footfall of patients with complaints of cold-fever and other symptoms of viral infections. “Yes, we have seen an increased footfall of patients, mainly kids or patients who have a history of bronchial asthma, lung complications, or COPD. These patients tend to have increased cough and cold, and short-duration fever when there is a change in weather,” said Dr Kirti Sabnis, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital.

Evening smog in Mumbai. (Express photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Doctors said Mumbai’s air quality, which has been hovering between “poor” and “very poor” over the last few days, is further impacting the health of the citizens.

On Tuesday morning, for the second consecutive day, the air quality remained between “poor” and “very poor” with the city’s AQI recorded at 297.

Subscriber Only Stories

Dr Radhika Banka, Consultant, Pulmonary Medicine, Hinduja Hospital, Khar cited drastic change in weather and ambient temperatures, deterioration of air quality and increasingly unhealthy lifestyle causing a decrease in natural immunity as the main reasons behind more patients with respiratory symptoms being witnessed this season.

“Of these, poor air quality in particular is playing a major role as increased construction following Covid-19 and fossil fuel combustion is contributing significantly to indoor and outdoor air pollution,” she said.
Dr Lancelot Pinto, epidemiologist and pulmonologist from Hinduja hospital, said viral infections can often cause a post-viral cough and cold that can be long-standing and prolonged. “This is often because of an increased irritability and sensitivity of the air passages in the lungs, rendering them more susceptible to irritants in the air, and to secondary bacterial infections,” he said.

Doctors said there could be many reasons behind prolonged illness, where it takes over two weeks for recovery, among patients although the overall percentage of such cases is not alarming. Said Dr Sabnis: “The most common reason is underlying allergic conditions which are exacerbated during the dry season of winter. The second common indication is that the patient had a bacterial infection and did not complete the prescribed antibiotics course. They can have resistant bacterial infections and have a long cold and cough but, in such cases, they generally also have fever along with it.” Dr Sabnis said the patients need to be tested further for any other new infections associated with the fever.

Advertisement

Lately, there have also been instances of patients falling sick again after recovering. In children, this could just be a reflection of multiple social encounters, with exposure to different viruses, doctors said. Dr Banka said, “We are noticing recurrent colds and coughs in patients following Covid-19 infection, which may be due to altered immunity; reassuringly, this phenomenon tends to settle down within a few months post-infection as the immunity builds up.”

According to Dr Pinto, the recurrent cases can be either prolonged symptoms of the same episode or a secondary bacterial infection, which is known to occur after a viral infection. “The poor air quality could also be contributing significantly to the problem,” he said.

Doctors recommend vaccinating against pneumonia and influenza, wearing masks especially when the air quality is poor, and avoiding crowded indoors for those with compromised immunity, either because of age or comorbidities.

First published on: 06-12-2022 at 20:45 IST
Next Story

Can look into manner of note ban decision, cannot hold hands since it’s economic policy: SC

Tags:
Home
ePaper
Next Story
close
X