Over the past 10 days, the city of Pune has been grappling with a sudden surge in respiratory infections, leading medical experts to attribute it to a combination of factors such as changing weather patterns and increased virulence in the atmosphere.
Viral respiratory infections, in particular, have been on the rise, primarily affecting children. The advent of the monsoon season, according to medical professionals in Pune, has contributed to an increase in viral illnesses. Outpatient departments (OPD) have seen a 25% increase in occurrences of respiratory infections and diarrhoea.
Furthermore, indoor admissions for dengue, dengue-like diseases, and flu have increased by almost 10%. Concerningly, some children are getting seizures and fever as a result of dengue and must be hospitalised.
Reason Behind The Surge
“ The monsoon season is mainly accompanied by a sudden rise in humidity and widely variable temperatures. This makes the environment conducive to the growth and spread of numerous airborne viruses”, said Dr Shobha Subramanian-Itolikar, Consultant, General Medicine, Fortis Hospital Mulund Mumbai, adding, these primarily include influenza viruses (mainly H1N1 AND H3N2), Respiratory Syncytial viruses, Adenovirus, and Rhinovirus, to name a few. Further, these viruses can cause various respiratory illnesses like fever, cough, cold, wheezing, and, in some cases, respiratory distress. As a result, there has been a spike in OPD patients and indoor cases affected by these viruses.
Physicians in the city have identified common culprits behind these viral infections, including the common cold, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Monsoon weather creates conditions favourable for their proliferation, with increased humidity and fluctuations in temperature providing an ideal breeding ground for these viruses. Moreover, people often get caught in the rain, leading to damp clothing and an increased likelihood of pathogens entering the respiratory system.
At medical facilities, patients are presenting with flu-like symptoms, indicating at least a 25% rise in such cases compared to the months of May and June this year. Several parents have brought their children to the OPD with similar complaints, suspecting that their kids contracted the infection at school and subsequently transmitted it to family members at home.
According Dr Subramanian to ome risk factors for severe flu or flu-like illness include:
- Extremes of age, like young children and older adults
- Individuals with pre-existing lung diseases like Asthma and COPD
- Individuals with compromised immune systems, like Cancer patients, diabetic individuals, dialysis patients, etc.
- Overcrowding can happen in schools and monsoon picnic spots, also areas where this virus can transmit easily to individuals
- Non-immunised individuals
Awareness Is Imperative
The situation demands urgent attention from public health authorities and citizens alike. To curb the spread of these infections, experts recommend taking necessary precautions during the monsoon season. Measures such as maintaining personal hygiene, avoiding getting wet in the rain, and promptly seeking medical advice when experiencing flu-like symptoms can significantly reduce the risk of infection.
Also read: 10 Super Foods for Healthy Lungs
The local health department in Pune is actively engaged in disseminating public awareness campaigns to educate the community about preventive measures and early detection of viral infections.
Community involvement and vigilance are vital during this time of heightened vulnerability to viral infections. By adhering to preventive measures and promptly seeking medical attention when necessary, individuals can collectively contribute to containing the outbreak and safeguarding public health.
The city of Pune is grappling with a surge in viral respiratory infections, particularly affecting children, due to the onset of the monsoon season and conducive weather conditions. Public health efforts and individual responsibility are crucial in managing the situation and preventing further spread of these infections.