Bengaluru: The hot summer giving way to the monsoon has taken its toll on people’s health, as always, with city hospitals reporting a spike in upper respiratory tract infections(URIs) over the last couple of months.
Vikram Hospital has been seeing some three patients walking in with URI in the OPD every day, according to Dr Kudur N, Manjunath, consultant, internal medicine, at the hospital.
Dr Ambanna Gowda, consultant, internal medicine, and diabetologist, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, says some 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the OPD cases are URIs and the number is only rising.
“The upper respiratory tract includes the sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx, and larynx, which serve as gateways to the trachea, bronchi, and pulmonary alveolar spaces. Rhinitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, epiglottitis, laryngitis, and tracheitis are specific manifestations of URIs,” he explains.
“A runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, and sputum production are the hallmark symptoms of URIs. Symptoms are caused by inflammation of the mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract,” says Dr S M Prasad, assistant professor, Dr BR Ambedkar Medical College and chairman of the Bangalore Adolescent Health Academy.
Dr Anoop Amarnath, chairman, geriatric medicine, Manipal Hospitals, says that respiratory tract infections are becoming more common and can range from a very simple infection to pneumonia.
“Also in the old age group, hypothermia can be an issue," he adds. Noting that asthma and bronchitis could complicate things further, he warns that if not treated on time, URI can turn serious.
“We are seeing many URI infections and almost all of them are viral in origin. If not treated in time they could develop into bronchitis and pneumonia. They may also develop into lower respiratory infection with severe bronchitis and asthma type of symptoms. These occasionally result in respiratory failure and become emergency cases as they behave like H1N1. In such cases, we become very strict with the treatment protocol,”he explains. “Most of the time the URI gets treated but a cough is persistent and could last for up to one or two months. In such cases we have to administer a short course of steroids along with the treatment,” adds Dr Kudur....