Valley hospitals witness rise in seasonal flu cases
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Valley hospitals witness rise in seasonal flu cases

Post by M Peerzada on Sunday, February 11, 2024

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Srinagar, Feb 10: Both urban and rural hospitals in Kashmir are reporting an increase in seasonal flu cases including children, amid the current winter season with doctors suggesting precautionary measures.
As temperatures drop the region often sees a surge in respiratory illnesses, including the flu. The combination of cold weather and close indoor proximity can facilitate the spread of viral infections, making individuals more susceptible to contracting the flu virus.
Doctors said healthcare facilities across Kashmir are witnessing a rise in patients presenting flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
“This influx of cases places additional strain on already burdened healthcare resources, with hospitals working diligently to accommodate the surge in demand for medical attention,” said a doctor at SMHS hospital.
Healthcare providers are emphasizing the importance of staying home when sick to prevent further transmission of the virus and suggested efforts to mitigate the spread of flu within the community.
Doctors said that respiratory tract infections (RTI) also go up in the winter months and high-risk patients and people with comorbidities should take the flu vaccines.
A senior pulmonologist said when winters come temperature dips further and the atmospheric humidity also decreases which affects the immune system.
“Those people who are immune compromised like children and elderly people or patients are susceptible to chest infections and need to take extra care and consult their doctors,” he said.
He said those people who are immune compromised should not unnecessarily move out early morning and evening during the winter time and avoid aggravating the symptoms.
“Although in the indoors they should maintain proper temperature but they also have to take care of ventilation in the room which is equally important for them,” he said.
Dr M Saleem Khan, professor and HOD community medicine GMC Srinagar said weather changes bring flues and it will die down with the change in weather.
“Once the weather gets moist it will change. All viruses are seasonal like H1N1 flu and these happen every year. We cannot avoid it, we have to adapt to it. In severe cases the flues require hospitalization,” he said.
Dr Suhail Naik, Assistant Professor New Children Hospital, Srinagar said that the circulation of respiratory viruses is usually high during the winter and spring months and is the reason for increased frequency of respiratory tract infections during said month of the year.
He said these viral respiratory infections peak with the opening of schools after winter vacations and are not health concern till their frequency, morbidity remains in expected range. Seasonal flu is a viral infection of the respiratory tract caused by an influenza B virus.
“Symptoms can include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, or cough and chest congestion. Every year there is a period of time where there are outbreaks of the flu, what we call as seasonal flu,” Dr Naik said.
He advised people to take rest, take a lot of fluids, soups to kids and need-based paracetamol.
“There are few patients who are at higher risk of developing complications due the flu. They are young children less than one year, pregnant women, older adults aged more than 65, and people with long-term illnesses like diabetes, chronic kidney failure, cancers or with impaired immune systems that make it hard to fight infection,” Dr Naik said.
“The infection usually lasts for about five to seven days. The fever goes away at the end of three days, but the cough can persist for up to three weeks,” he said.

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