Viral flu and influenza, like H1N1, H5N1 and H3N2 viruses, are on the rise, leading to severe respiratory infections among patients suffering from any type of flu. (Photo: Pixabay)
Hyderabad: There has been a marked rise in respiratory illnesses due to the onset of dry and cold weather over the past two weeks, since the end of the monsoon, according to doctors, who said that vector-borne diseases have now taken a backseat.
Viral flu and influenza, like H1N1, H5N1 and H3N2 viruses, are on the rise, leading to severe respiratory infections among patients suffering from any type of flu. In addition, post-viral bacterial infections, mainly pneumonia, are also being observed in many patients, they said.
Common symptoms of viral infections observed were fever, cold, cough, body pain, joint pain, weakness and nausea.
Doctors advised people above 60 years of age, immune-suppressed patients, diabetic and heart disease patients, including patients with co-morbidities, to take precautions.
Dilip Gude, senior consultant physician at a leading private hospital, said: "We are seeing a lot of older patients getting hospitalised due to severe bacterial infections in the lungs, which sometimes also requires ICU care. Another factor for concern is that elderly people do not show typical pneumonia symptoms of cold, cough and fever due to which early detection becomes difficult."
Dr M. Raja Rao, Gandhi Hospital superintendent, said that the number of viral infections was similar to that in September, with about 8-10 flu patients admitted for tertiary care.
Besides, the decrease in the temperatures during early mornings and late evenings was also aggravating other respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis and other allergies.
Dr Shiva Raju K., head of the medicine department at a hospital, said, "A drop in temperature and dry weather makes those with a history of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory infections more vulnerable and prone to infections, as allergens and pollutants in the air can trigger the respiratory condition."
Doctors stressed that influenza and pneumococcal vaccines boost immunity against ongoing infections.
"This is the right time to get the flu and pneumococcal vaccines which build immunity against the viral and bacterial infections, respectively. These vaccines are especially a must for the elderly people, which reduce the chances of the infections by up to 80 per cent. It is advisable for everyone above 18 years of age to get the yearly vaccine shots for better immunity," said Dr Gude.