The water you drink, the air you breathe

By Melvin Mathew

The increase in the number of cases of waterborne and respiratory illnesses puts the city’s doctors on alert. They say that with more mobility and a drop in temperature, the city is reporting higher numbers of cases of asthma, allergies, jaundice and diarrhea.

However, health experts say there is no need to panic. As the city cools, it also creates an environment for microorganisms to thrive. Many hospitals are seeing a 20-30% increase in cases of respiratory allergies and asthma. “Compared to June, we are seeing a 30-40% increase in cases. Cold air can increase the rate of evaporation of surface fluid in our airways, causing bronchospasm, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, etc. said Dr Divya Shree, consultant pulmonologist at Manipal Hospital.

Besides climate change, this could be attributed to an increase in pollution as people return to offices. Compared to last year, people are also interacting more with each other, which increases the risk of infections, said Dr Pavan YadavSenior Consultant – Interventional Pulmonology and Lung Transplantation, Aster RV Hospital.

Fortis Hospital also recorded an increase. “Apart from asthma, there is an increase in viral infections. After Covid, we are seeing an increase in the number of people complaining of wheezing,” explained Dr. Vivek Anand Padegal, Director – Pulmonology, Fortis Hospitals.

About 15-20 patients come with asthma and allergies alone. We also see a few cases of pneumonia requiring intensive care care or ventilator care, said Dr Sachin KumarSenior Consultant, Respirology and Intensive care medicineSakra Global Hospital.

Doctors advise wearing a mask and exercising indoors until the weather changes. People are also asked to be up to date on their pneumococcal vaccines, especially those with previous comorbidities and the elderly.

“Due to the mixing of sewage with groundwater, during the monsoon period, we see an increase in cases. While the cases of jaundice are minimal, mainly its diarrhoea,” said Dr. Raj Vigna Venugopalan, HOD and Consultant, Medical Gastroenterology, Manipal Hospital.

“For 10 to 15 days, we have seen at least 2 to 3 cases of diarrhea. Most patients are treated easily, few need day care,” said Dr SN AravindaConsultant – Internal Medicine, Aster RV Hospital.

“We are also seeing an increase in the number of people consuming over-the-counter diarrhea medications causing abdominal pain,” said Dr. B.S. RavindraDirector – Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Fortis Hospitals.

Doctors advise washing groceries thoroughly before eating and avoiding street food. They also say people should not take over-the-counter medications and only consume ORS and probiotics for relief.

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